Sh t Types Establishing Shots Establishing shots set up a scene’s location and/ or its participants. • The following shot is the very first frame of The Conversation and it’s an example of how establishing shots can often start in a title sequence. The next establishing shot is from The Godfather part II. It illustrates how an establishing shot can establish both the location and tone of the following scenes. Next is an example of how an establishing shot can be supported by a caption. This is taken from the opening of Alien and the caption helps exposition. Not all establishing shots are long shots. In this case the in car mid-shot that opens Scum creates a sense of tension that increases when we see they’re prison officers chasing a prisoner. This establishing shot from All About Eve happens late in the film and shifts location and time. The bed, clock and lighting suggest morning, the phone centre frame sets up expectation. Extreme Long Shot The extreme long-shot (sometimes called a wide-shot) has a variety of functions. In this scene from Alien it shows the vastness of the ship and makes the characters seem vulnerable. The effect is made greater by the number of claustrophobic mid-shots and close-ups that precede it. Lawrence of Arabia has some of cinema’s most famous extreme long shots. Long Shot Long-Shot A long-shot should show a whole figure or a large section of location. Long-shots often feature movement because static figures in a long-shot can seem confrontational. You’ll see lots of static figure long-shots in horror and sci-fi. The next shot is from a parody of these genres, Weird Science. Film makers will often break up a two-shot by adding another plane. In this shot from All About Eve the mid-shot is supported by another figure in long-shot. Mid-shot The Mid-shot is the most common shot used, especially on television. The Mid-shot will show most of a figure but will show location too so is a popular choice for the two-shot. Mid-shots are a good choice for shot – reverse – shots and scenes involving a dialogue. Take a look at the video extract from Heat. Mid-shots can be side on as well as straight on. This mid-shot from Withnail and I suggests a real sense of unity between the two characters that could be lost if the camera was directly in front of them. Medium close-up The medium close-up can be defined as head and shoulders. Medium close-ups are more intimate than the mid-shot as this shot from Breathless illustrates. In the video extract from Heat you can see the shot-reverse-shots go from midshot to medium close-up as the conversation becomes more intimate and tension builds. Over the shoulder shots are often medium close-ups as is seen in this shot from Peeping Tom. A medium close-up allows the viewer to see a greater depth of emotion on the actor’s face. In this shot from Bus Stop you get an over the shoulder, medium close-up, 4 shot through a reflection. This allows us to see the map and the reaction to it. Close-up The close-up lets us see emotion and reactions on actor’s faces that could be missed. Very often close-ups will be a cutaway from a wider shot. Close-ups can also isolate important elements of mise-enscene. In this cutaway shot from The Conversation the close-up of the three locks show the character’s paranoia. The drama of a close-up can be enhanced by an unusual angle. Extreme Close-up Extreme close-ups are very tight so that only part of an object or person can be seen. The Point of View shot (POV) is a type of cutaway that shows what a character is seeing, it’s often part of a shot – reverse – shot. Sometimes a filter will be used to make a point of view shot more obvious. In this example from Peeping Tom it’s a viewfinder. Composition Bilateral symmetry positions characters or objects equally on either side of the frame. It looks constructed and can be very dramatic. The following shot from Peter Pan shows how strong composition adds drama. Deep Focus Deep focus involves a large depth of field where every plane is in focus. It involves careful control of light and lenses so isn’t that common in film but is becoming more common with digital technology. The following shot from Citizen Kane shows four planes all in focus. Camera Angles A range of effects can be gained by changing angles. In the next shot from Gone with the Wind the male figure is seen as dominant over the female because of the low angle. As she is in the foreground the low angle has most effect on his position in the frame. This high angle shot from the same film makes him seem small and it emphasises the expectation of the central female character’s entrance at the top of the stairs. This low-angle shot from Mad Max gives the character authority and power. Low-angle shots don’t always connote power though. The following shot from Old Boy has a very different effect. Sometimes the frame can be canted, on an angle. This is sometimes referred to as a Dutch Tilt. It’s very common in Film Noir and creates a sense of tension and unease. The following shot is from The Third Man, its director, Orson Welles, pretty much defined Noir visual style in films like Citizen Kane.