Vocabulary

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Quiz on Vocabulary Oct.16th&17th

Extreme long shot

This is generally used as a scene setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an EXTERIOR, e.g. the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action e.g. in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot; it's meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.

 

Long Shot

This is generally one that shows the image as approximately "life" size i.e. 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).

 

Medium Shot

Contains a figure from the knees/waist up and is normally used for dialogue scenes, or to show some detail of action. Background detail is minimal, probably because location has been established earlier in the scene - the audience already know where they are and now want to focus on dialogue and character interaction. Another variation in this category is the Over-the-shoulder shot

 

Close-Up

This shows very little background, and concentrates on either a face, or a specific detail. This shot magnifies the object (think of how big it looks on a cinema screen) and shows the importance of things, be it words written on paper, or the expression on someone's face. The close-up takes us into the mind of a character. In reality, we only let people that we really trust get THAT close to our face - mothers, children and lovers, usually - so a close up of a face is a very intimate shot. A filmmaker may use this to make us feel extra comfortable or extremely uncomfortable about a character, and usually uses a zoom lens in order to get the required framing

 

Extreme Close-Up

An extreme version of the close up, generally magnifying beyond what the human eye would experience in reality. An extreme close-up of a face, for instance, would show only the mouth or eyes, with no background detail whatsoever. This is a very artificial shot, and can be used for dramatic effect

 

High Angle

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 (or scary). The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting - they become part of a wider picture.

 

Eye Level

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

 

Low Angle

These increase height (useful for short actors like Tom Cruise) and give a sense of speeded motion. Low angles help give a sense of confusion to a viewer, of powerlessness within the action of a scene. 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 psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen

 

Canted Angle

Sometimes the camera is tilted (i.e. is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability (very popular in horror movies). 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 this.

 

Camera Movement

A director may choose to move action along by telling the story as a series of cuts, going from one shot to another, or they may decide to move the camera with the action. Moving the camera often takes a great deal of time, and makes the action seem slower, as it takes several second for a moving camera shot to be effective, when the same information may be placed on screen in a series of fast cuts. Not only must the style of movement be chosen, but the method of actually moving the camera must be selected too.

 

Camera Angle

The relationship between the camera and the object being photographed (i.e. the ANGLE) gives emotional information to an audience, and guides their judgment about the character or object in shot. The more extreme the angle (i.e. the further away it is from eye left), the more symbolic and heavily-loaded the shot.

 

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.

 

Tilts

A movement which scans a scene vertically, very similar to a pan.

 

Dolly Shots

Sometimes called TRUCKING or TRACKING shots. The camera is placed on a moving vehicle and moves alongside the action, generally following a moving figure or object. Complicated dolly shots will involve a track being laid on set for the camera to follow, hence the name.

 

OVER-THE-SHOULDER-SHOT,

which positions the camera behind one figure, revealing the other figure, and part of the first figure's back, head and shoulder.

 

Hand-held shots

Hand held cameras denote a certain kind of gritty realism, and they can make the audience feel as though they are part of a scene, rather than viewing it from a detached, frozen position.

 

A Crane shot

A crane (or jib), is a large, heavy piece of equipment, but is a useful way of moving a camera - it can move up, down, left, right, swooping in on action or moving diagonally out of it. The camera operator and camera are counter-balanced by a heavy weight, and trust their safety to a skilled crane/jib operator

 

The Aerial Shot

This is often used at the beginning of a film, in order to establish setting and movement. It is taken from directly above.

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