Audience: 12-18, teachers

You will find here a short tutorial about basic film shots, made by two high school students Maciek Segiet and Patryk Hansz for the project Film on Horizon

An if you prefer reading to watching, here are some basic informations about this topic:

A FILM SHOT, shortly speaking, is a way in which one can compose a film frame.

There are several different film shots, each requires a different distance from the camera. That distance is the same as the distance from viewers to objects presented in the film. The use of a particular shot is often decided by a human figure in the frame and its proportions in regard to the surroundings.

We distinguish the following film shots:

  • A TOTAL SHOT - a human figure is small in relation to the background. So-called "totals" are used to present a scenery, nature or a context of the story. In such a shot we see much more of sorroundings than of the protagonist.

  • A LONG SHOT – you can see a whole human figure placed in the particular space. Long shots enable a viewer to acknowledge the space and the character in it. This shot is often used to show the relation between the character and the space.
  • A FULL SHOT – shows the full human figure while disregarding the background. It has a depicting purpose.
  • AN "AMERICAN SHOT" – shows human figure from head to knees. It derives from western films, where characters had to be presented with their arms.
  • A MEDIUM SHOT – frames the character from head to waist, focusing on mimics and mood of the protagonist.
  • A HALF CLOSE-UP – shows only a head and a part of the body. Such a shot enables a viewer to get closer to the character, know him better, read his emotions.
  • A CLOSE-UP – shows only a fragment of the body – e.g. a face. Enables a viewer to enter the private or even the intimate zone of the protagonist.
  • A DETAIL – shows a small fragment of human figure or space (focuses viewer’s attention on the particular object which is important to film’s story).

You probably wonder why we used those weird, old-fashion shots to describe this topic... You will know the answer when you see our tutorial!

And if you want to learn more about making films visit the website Film on Horizon.