Camera & Film Tips

Filming Tips 

WATCH THIS…

Video 101: Shooting Basics 

Shots Based on Camera Position:


Extreme Long Shot/ Establishing Shot (ELS) – Used to establish the setting of a project. It might be the outside of a building or a landscape and is often the first scene in a project.


Long Shot (LS) – Shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings.


Medium Shot (MS) – A “normal” camera shot filmed from

a medium distance. It usually refers to a human figure from

the waist (or knees) up.


Close Up/Bust Shot (CU) – A shot taken from a close distance.

Often it is a person’s head from the shoulders or neck up. It

could also be a tight shot of an object that fills almost the entire frame.


Extreme Close Up (ECU) – This shot frames only part of an object in

close-up detail. It might frame only a part of a human face (an eye or the mouth)

or a detailed part of an object (the petal of a flower).


High Angle/ Tilt Down – The subject is filmed from above and the camera

points down on the action, often to make the subject small, weak and vulnerable.


Low Angle/Tilt Down – The subject is filmed directly from below and

the camera points up at the action, to make the subject appear larger,

more formidable and menacing.


Over the Shoulder Shot – Framed so that the viewers have the perception

that they are participating in the action by peering over the shoulder of the

subject. Used most often in interviews.


Depth Shot – Creates depth in the scene by adding objects to the foreground,

middle ground, and background. We see different levels of action to create a

3D effect.


Macro Shot – The camera is positioned very close to an object to show

detail. You are not zooming in, but instead placing the camera very close

to an object.


Dutch Angle/Unstable Horizon – The camera angle is skewed so that the horizon

line is not parallel.

Shots Based on Subjects:


One Shot – Shot of a single person, maybe an interviewer or guest. Usually

a medium shot or tighter.


Two Shot – Shot of two people, maybe talking to each other. Usually a medium shot or tighter.

 


Three Shot – A medium shot that contains three people.


Shots Based on Camera Movement:


Pan – A horizontal scan, movement, rotation or turning of the camera in one

direction (to the right or left) around a fixed spot. You are standing still but the

camera is moving to capture an entire panoramic scene.


Zoom In/Out – Using the zoom feature of the camera to make the subject fill

more or less of the frame.


Dolly In/Out – Moving the camera to physically get closer or further from a subject.

You may have the camera mounted on a dolly, or you may be walking towards or

away from the subject.


Dollying Along (Tracking) – The camera is moving along beside the subject. You

may have the camera mounted on a dolly, or you may be walking towards or away

from the subject.


Head On – The action comes directly toward or at the camera.


Tails Away – The action moves directly away from the camera.


Major Rules of Composition

Rule of Thirds

Imagine your screen divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically.

It looks kind of like a tic-tac-toe board.  You should always place important

elements at the intersection of those lines.  It is also much more interesting

to place any horizon lines like skies, buildings or the shore of a lake on one of

the horizontal lines.

WATCH THIS…

Rule of Thirds Video

YouTube Video

 

Headroom

Headroom is the space between the top of the subject’s head and the top of the frame.  Usually, you want to have the subject’s eyes near the top horizontal third line of your shot.

Bad Example: In this shot, the subject’s head is way too close to the top of the frame.

Bad Example: In this shot, the subject’s head is way too close to the bottom of the frame. It gives the impression of a head floating in space.

Good Example: In this shot, the subject’s head correctly positioned along the top horizontal third line.

Lead Space or Nose Room

The amount of space between your subject and the side of the frame as they move or look towards that edge of the frame.  You don’t want the subject to get too close to the side of the frame as they look or walk in that direction…it will give the feeling that they are about to walk into a wall.

Bad Example: In this shot, the subject is way too close to the right edge of the frame.  It feels like he is going to run into the edge.

Good Example: In this shot, the subject has plenty of room to walk towards the right edge of the frame.

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