Types of Camera Shots in a Film

By Trisha Bartle
Your film will be improve with use of multiple camera shots.

Although the exact terminology of camera shots varies, they all use the same principles and underlying techniques. By using different camera shots in your film, you will make the movie more dynamic and fun to watch. Multiple camera shots show a character or object from multiple angles to establish the setting, mood and subject.

Establishing Shot

Also known as an extreme wide shot, the establishing shot shows an extremely wide view of a scene or location. An establishing shot could show a large farming field, a long row of houses or a city skyline. It gives viewers a better idea of where the story is taking place.

Wide Shot

A wide shot shows the entire body of a character or multiple characters. They fit within the frame with not much space above their head or below their feet. A wide shot establishes the setting of the scene so viewers know where the character is in relation to the story.

Mid Shot

Also known as a medium shot, the mid shot shows half of a character usually from the waist up. This shows enough of the surroundings to remind viewers where the scene is taking place. A mid shot is also a good way to show the outfit of a character if it has a bearing on the story.

Bust Shot

The bust shot camera angle shows the character from the chest up. Bust shots are good for giving an impression of the surroundings while also focusing on the emotions displayed on the face of the character.

Close-Up Shot

When a character is displayed on the screen, a close-up shot fills the screen with the actor's face. This is good for showing emotion and making the audience focus solely on that character. Close-up camera shots are also used for showing details in objects that may have a bearing on the story, such as a bloody dagger or a muddy footprint.

Cutaway Shot

Use a cutaway shot to make a scene more interesting. If a scene is taking place on a busy street, a cutaway shot will show random passersby walking down the street to establish where the scene is taking place. The characters of the film won't be shown in a cutaway.

Point-of-View Shot

Point-of-view shots give the viewer the impression that they are seeing a scene from a character's perspective. The shot may include a character's hand or foot jutting outward from the shot to show point-of-view or include a shaky-cam technique to imply movement from the character.

Noddy Shot

Noddy shots are used when there are two characters interacting during a scene. While one character is talking, the noddy shot will show the other character listening intently as the viewer hears the talker off-screen. Alternating back and forth from the talker in a mid shot and the listener in a noddy shot improves the flow of conversation and makes the scene more realistic.

About the Author

Trisha Bartle began her writing career in 2007, with work appearing in publications such as "Adventures for the Average Woman" and DexKnows Weddings. She has also been a professional wedding photographer since 2001. Bartle holds an Associate of Applied Science in programming and game development.