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Cmlit 422 terms in film heory (latest)


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  • 1. CMLIT 422 (Feb 12 th ) Terms in Cinema
  • 2. Extreme Long Shot
  • 3. Long shot
    • The most difficult to precisely categorise, but generally one which shows the image as approximately "life" size ie corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema (the figure of a man would appear as six feet tall). This category includes the FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom.
  • 4. Medium Shot
    • Contains a figure from the knees/waist up and is normally used for dialogue scenes, or to show some detail of action.
  • 5. Close up shot
    • This shows very little background, and concentrates on either a face, or a detail of mise en scene.
  • 6. Extreme Close Up
    • As its name suggests, an extreme version of the close up, generally magnifying beyond what the human eye would experience in reality.
  • 7. Bird’s eye view
    • This shows a scene from directly overhead, a very unnatural and strange angle. People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things.
  • 8. High angle shot
    • Not so extreme as a bird's eye view. 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
  • 9. Eye level shot
    • A fairly neutral shot; the camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that eg actors' heads are on a level with the focus.
  • 10. Low angle shot
    • These increase height (useful for short actors like Tom Cruise). Low angles help give a sense of powerlessness within the action of a scene. The added height of the object may make it inspire fear and insecurity in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.
  • 11. Oblique/ Canted Angle
    • Sometimes the camera is tilted (ie is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability (Titanic!!). This technique is used to suggest POINT-OF-View shots (ie when the camera becomes the 'eyes' of one particular character,seeing what they see - a hand held camera is often used for this).
  • 12. Point of View (POV)
    • Shows a view from the subject's perspective. This shot is usually edited in such a way that it is obvious whose POV it is.
  • 13. Over the shoulder shot
    • Looking from behind a person at the subject, cutting off the frame just behind the ear. The person facing the subject should occupy about 1/3 of the frame.
  • 14. Camera Movement: Pans
    • A movement which scans a scene horizontally. The camera is placed on a tripod, which operates as a stationary axis point as the camera is turned, often to follow a moving object which is kept in the middle of the frame.
  • 15. Camera movement: Tilts
    • A movement which scans a scene vertically, otherwise similar to a pan.
  • 16. Tracking shot
    • The camera is placed on a moving vehicle and moves alongside the action, generally following a moving figure or object.
    • The camera might be mounted on a car, a plane, or even a shopping trolley
  • 17. Hand held shots
    • The hand-held camera (despite its name, a heavy, awkward piece of machinery which is attached to its operator by a harness)
    • It gives a jerky, ragged effect, totally at odds with the organized smoothness of a dolly shot, and is favored by filmmakers looking for a gritty realism
  • 18. Mise-en-scene
    • 'Realistic' technique whereby meaning is conveyed through the relationship of things visible within a single shot (rather than, as with montage, the relationship between shots).
  • 19. Montage
    • In its broadest meaning, the process of cutting up film and editing it into the screened sequence. However, it may also be used to mean intellectual montage - the justaposition of short shots to represent action or ideas - or (especially in Hollywood), simply cutting between shots to condense a series of events.
  • 20. Semiotics
    • Semiotics can be defined as the study of signs.
    • What is a sign?
    • Syntagmatic vs. Paradigmatic
    • Psycho:
  • 21. Signifier/Signified
  • 22. Structuralism vs Post-structuralism
    • There is no direct relationship between signified and signified
    • Meaning is destabilized
    • Signifiers point to other signifiers
    • Meaning is constructed along a chain of signification
    • The death of the author