2.2.1 Movie Making Techniques: The Shot

The term "Shot" actually means shot size, with respect to the human body.

As shown in Fig 1-6, They are mainly categorized as:

1- Extreme Close Up

2- Close Up

3- Medium Shot

4- Medium-Full Shot, or Cowboy Shot

5- Full Shot

6- Long Shot

7- Extreme Long Shot

Sharon Stone Scissors

Fig 1: A Close Up of Sharon Stone in "Scissors"

Sharon Stone King Solomon's Mines

Fig 2: A Medium Shot of Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone in "King Solomon's Mines"

Sharon Stone

Fig 3: A Cowboy Shot of Sharon Stone in "The Quick and the Dead". The Revolver is completely visible

Rachael Taylor

Fig 4: Rachael Taylor poses for this Full Shot.
Who says it's not interesting?

2.2.1.1 The Extreme Close Up

An Extreme Close Up shows only part of the face.

It can be used as such:

A close up on the ear or eye, can usually tell that the subject heard or saw something.

If the close up is made on the mouth, then depending on the subject, it can either denote temptation or disgust.

2.2.1.2 The Close Up

Whenever you turn on your TV, you can sense whether it's a feature movie or another cheap TV series.

It is simple. In a typical TV series you see faces, and faces with a lot of rubbish dialogue.

This is the Close Up; a shot of the face only (Fig 1).

It is easy to light, direct to shoot, and usually requires no set detail. In fact, many times it can be shot in a completely different place and still be combined with the location.

My recommendation about it is this: don't use it!

Except if really needed or for someone like Sharon Stone.

Whenever the close up is used, body language, set detail, clothing, other character's reactions, and lighting are eliminated, making your movie of cheap quality.

Many TV actors here in Lebanon used to ask me why my movies looked cinematic. Well, besides applying good cinematography, I rarely use close ups!

Ironically, these same actors when shot start demanding that they get close ups!

2.2.1.3 The Medium Shot

The medium shot is favorite for dialogue and the shot of the couple.

It may extend to the waist, but can be a bit tighter (Fig 2).

The medium shot shows the arms language and part of the location, and is excellent for dialogues, since the face can also be clearly seen.

In a 1.33:1 frame the medium shot hardly combines more than two characters. This extends to about four for the 2.35:1 widescreen.

2.2.1.4 The Cowboy Shot

This shot extends down till the knees, where a typical revolver would hang, wild west times (Fig 3).

More location and body language can be expressed here.

2.2.1.5 The Full Shot

The next time you watch a movie, check how much you can see the subject feet. They are rare, and sometimes non-existant.

In a full shot, the whole body of the subject is seen, and usually with the rest of characters.

All the dialogue and movement can be done without cutting, making it harder for the crew and actors.

Lighting must also be carefully prepared.

Although, most people may claim that shooting the feet is not interesting, many action scenes, for example, will never be convincing if not shot in a full shot.

There is no playing around in a full shot, but I suggest you take the challenge and fill up the full shot with meaningful background.

2.2.1.6 The Long Shot

The Long shot resembles the distance people are from a stage actor (Fig 5).

Long shots are really tiresome to light, design, and decorate.

Although long shots are mainly used today for establishing shots, these shots can be used effectively during a scene.

They add great quality to your work, if prepared right.

2.2.1.7 The Extreme Long Shot  
Extreme Long shots are tens or hundreds of meters away from the subject, they are mainly used as establishing shots, giving valuable feeling of the location in discussion (Fig 6).

Sharon Stone Scissors

Fig 5: A Long Shot of Sharon Stone in "Scissors"

Year of the Gun

Fig 6: An Extreme Long Shot of Sharon Stone and Andrew McArthy (mid left) in "Year of the Gun"

 
 

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