When describing camera angles, or creating them yourself, you
have to think about important factors The FRAMING of the
shot, LENGTH of shot, the ANGLE of the shot or if there in
any MOVEMENT involved.
When describing different cinematic shots, different terms are
used to indicate the amount of subject matter contained within a
frame, how far away the camera is from the subject, and the
perspective of the viewer. Each different shot has a different
purpose and effect.
Extreme Long Shot/ Vista Shot
Aerial Shot/ Bird-eye View Shot
Over The Shoulder Shot
Low Angle/ Worm Eye Angle
Oblique/ Tilted Angle
A long shot (sometimes referred to as a full shot or a wide shot)
typically shows the
entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in
some relation to its
surroundings. While the focus is still on the characters, a lot of
background detail still
Extreme Long Shot
Extreme long shot can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is
used as a scene setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an EXTERIOR, e.g. the
a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action e.g. in a
film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, it's meant to
general impression rather than specific information.
Medium Shots contains a figure from the knees/waist up. Background detail is
probably because location has been established earlier in the scene - the audience
know where they are. Medium shots help place a subject in context--and they are
necessary for people who gesture a lot.
Aerial shots are usually done with a crane or with a camera
attached to a special
Helicopter to view large landscapes. This sort of shot would be
restricted to exterior
locations. A good area to do this shot would be a scene that takes
place on a building.
Over The Shoulder Shot
This shot is framed from behind a person who is looking at the
subject. The person facing
the subject should usually occupy about 1/3 of the frame. This
shot helps to establish the
position of each person, and get the feel of looking at one person
from the other's point of
This shows very little background, and concentrates on either a
face, or a specific detail of
mise en scène. Everything else is just a blur in the background.
This shot magnifies the
object and shows the importance of things, be it words written on
paper, or the expression
on someone's face.
While taking a shot from the high angle the camera is elevated
above the action using a crane
to give a general overview. High angles make the object
photographed seem smaller, and less
significant . The object or character often gets swallowed up by
their setting they become
part of a wider picture.
Eye level angle takes a fairly neutral shot; the camera is
positioned as though it is a human
actually observing a scene, so that e.g. actors' heads are on a
level with the focus. The
camera will be placed approximately five to six feet from the
ground, up to the eye level of
These increase height and give a sense of
The background of a low angle shot will
tend to be just sky
or ceiling, the lack of detail about the
setting adding to the
disorientation of the viewer.
The added height of the object may make
it inspire fear
and insecurity in the viewer, who is
dominated by the figure on the screen.
Sometimes the camera is tilted, to suggest imbalance, transition
and instability. This
technique is used to suggest POINT-OF-View shots (i.e. when the
camera becomes the 'eyes’ of
one particular character, seeing what they see. A hand held
camera is often used for taking
an oblique angle shot.