Video Production

Camera Shots 101: 13 Different Types You Should Know

So, ready to take your video to the next level with just camera angles alone? Then, here are the primary types of camera shots you’ve got to know!

The best pictures speak louder than words – and a great combination of the two brings forward an even spectacular masterpiece.

Whether it’s in the live-action or animation video production world – the bottom line is – your shots matter. While components like sounds and editing do play a major role in a video – so does your camera angles. It makes the clip much thrilling – seeing the different point of views instead of having your eyes stuck to one shot for 10 whole minutes.

So, ready to take your video to the next level with just camera angles alone? Then, here are the primary types of camera shots you’ve got to know!

Long shot

Also known as the Wide shot – this shot shows the size of the subject encased in the frame from a distance from top to bottom.

However, it isn’t done in a way where the subject fills up the entire frame – the shot still has its main focus on the scenery. Still, it shows where the character is and emphasises their purpose in the scene.

Medium shot

It focuses in detail on part of a character. For shooting people – this is typically from the waist up. Viewed as one of the most employed shots in films – it focuses on the subject while still giving a hint of the environment.

A common variation of this shot is the cowboy shot that used to be seen in American Western films, which would capture the character from just below the waist upwards so as to ensure the gun holsters are captured in the shot. It is used to portray characters actions the interaction between characters and objects.

Close up shot

All the dramatic elements, emotions, and reactions of all sorts from the characters goes perfectly into this shot. It keeps the person’s entire face or head in the frame, so the complete focus goes to them.

For instance, this brilliant, hair-raising yet gripping scene from Marriage Story which brought chills down one’s spine.

Charlie Barber’s (Adam Driver) extreme frustration can easily be seen as his face turns a furious red as he blabs out words that resemble knives towards Nicole Barber. (Scarlet Johansson)

Behind the scenes

Extreme close-up (Macro shot)

Focuses on a small area of the subject or a minor detail like the eyes or mouth, that wouldn’t be visible from far away. It’s the perfect shot for showing the construction of particular equipment or to pinpoint someone’s emotions at the right moment – such as one’s tears.

Establishing shot

It’s simply ‘all about the scenery’. This shot focuses on capturing the geographical location – mostly used as the first shot of a scene. It also sets the mood and gives an indication of time.

Point of view shot

This shot shows a representation of what a particular subject is seeing and tries to mimic the characters experience and directly relay it to the audience. It gives an experience of what the subject is looking at and how they saw it.

Examples we may have seen include looking into a scope, passing out and the widespread use of GoPro cameras to capture sporting action. Some marketing videos or commercial even use this type of shot to show one’s personal experience and actions like this tear-jerker from Ikea.

Dolly shot

When the camera is mounted on a track with wheels and is moved towards or away from the subject, this is referred to as a dolly shot.

Moving towards the subject is called Dolly In, while Dolly Out is where the camera is moved away from the subject. It portrays introductions and intimacy between characters by mimicking the viewer moving toward the subject.

Pan shot

While keeping the camera in place, mostly using a tripod, the camera is moved from right to left or left to right changing the direction it is facing. Used to reveal a character, follow a moving character or fit more of a scene into the frame.

Tilt shot

While quite similar to a pan shot, the difference here is the camera moves in a vertical motion. If the upward tilt is slow, it gives the impression of a subject being bigger – while a downwards tilt gives the opposite effect.

Aerial shot

This shot is taken from elevated positions without ground support. Cameras are mounted on drones or helicopters, and shots are taken in motion.

Why not see how your favourite films do it?

Sure, many famous films use them – but it’s also an excellent camera shot for many TV commercials and marketing videos.

Steadycam/Stabiliser shot

When you need to take a shot while moving quickly over an uneven surface and it is not possible to use a dolly shot, the Steadicam comes in handy.

It uses a camera stabiliser system that employs the principle behind gimbals to isolate the camera shot from the erratic movement of the camera’s operator and give a steady shot.

Handheld shot

The operator simply holds the camera in both hands. It is mostly employed by TV News productions and Documentary filmmakers to pull the audience into the scene.

Crane shot

Most modern cinemas and TV show filmmakers use cranes to give a high angle shot mostly portraying the end of a scene. It gives the audience insight into elements that the character may not be aware of. A crane or a jib refers to a boom device that is weighted with a camera on one end and on the other end is the operator.

Though we’ve mostly talked about live-action shots – don’t think that the same doesn’t apply to an animation video for one second. Animation can have different angles too as it’ll make the storyline much compelling and more fun to follow.

Now, go ahead and incorporate a few of these camera angles into your video and create an entertaining piece!

Here at Big 3 Media, we're a Singapore video production company that offers a suite of services to market your business during these challenging times:

If you are looking for content marketing options for your business, drop us an email or message and find out how Big 3 Media can help you!

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