A wide shot, otherwise known as a long or a full shot, is a wide-angle view of an object relative to its surroundings. These shots are typically captured by using a wide angle lens or by moving your camera further away from the subject.
Wide shots can be used to give a sense of place and space to a scene. You can use these shots to:
- Establish a location or introduce a new scene or character.
- Capture a shot of a large building so you can see the entire building, as well as the lot it sits on.
- Catch a shot of a person — from head to toe.
A medium shot, also known as a mid shot (MS), is a view that lies somewhere between a wide shot and a close up. This type of shot typically gives a bit more visual detail to the object being filmed. For example, if you were capturing a medium shot of a building, it would show the building slightly cropped, showing the doors and windows.
And if you were using this same shot to capture a person, it’d show the person from about the waist up. This angle is often used when the talent is delivering information on-screen and can be captured using any lens. Typically, though, it’s shot with what’s called a “normal” lens with a focal length of around 35 or 50 millimeters.
A close shot also known as a close up, is a type of shot that tightly frames a person or object. They’re often used to capture the details of a scene, like a character’s emotion, or to highlight a specific part of an object. This angle truly allows you to capture the details using a long lens or a zoom lens, at focal lengths of 85mm or higher.
A medium long shot, also known as a three-quarter shot, frames the whole subject from the knees up. When it comes to focal length, this shot is right in the middle between a long and a medium shot.
A medium close up frames a subject’s head and cuts off around mid-chest. The focus is on the subject and reveals only a little of the surroundings. This type of framing is typically used for interviews in documentaries and news programs where the subject is speaking.
A POV, or first-person shot, is a shot that shows what a character or subject is looking at. It’s usually filmed with a camera rig that has the same field of view as the character would. There are a variety of ways to get this shot, whether that’s with a head- or chest-mounted camera, or any other self mounted camera systems. It’s usually incorporated through editing, capturing a shot of a character looking at something, and then a shot of the character’s reaction.
A tilt shot is a camera technique where the camera stays in a fixed position, usually on a tripod, and rotates up and down on a vertical plane. A tilt shot has a motion similar to someone raising or lowering their head to look up or down.
A pan shot is a camera technique where the camera stays in a fixed position, usually on a tripod, and swivels side to side on a horizontal plane. This type of shot is great for revealing a landscape or character.