Camera Angles & Shots Every Filmmaker Needs To Know

Camera Angles & Shots Every Filmmaker Needs To Know

Are you a filmmaker just starting out in the filmmaking world and want to learn the basics of camera angles and shots?

There are essential shots that many filmmakers in the industry use on a daily basis for depicting emotion through the camera. Looking for a refresher or some training tools to capture your vision for the screen? 

Here are the camera angles and shots every filmmaker needs to know.

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Camera Angles & Shots Every Filmmaker Needs To Know

Camera Angle

Why should a filmmaker learn these camera angles and shots that every filmmaker needs to know?

The way you position the camera can have a dramatic effect on what the picture tells the audience. The camera angle of a shot can dramatically affect how we perceive certain characters.

Many directors while filming will choose several different angles for shaping the meaning of the film.

Medium Shot

Let’s begin with one of the most basic camera angle shots.

The medium shot is a very similar camera angle to the typical photographs that many of us take. The camera shot is focused on a subject from around the knees or waist to the top of the head.

The camera angle is unfocused on the entire body, so the filmmaker can establish a connection with the main characters on screen. Medium shots are most of the times where a shot starts.

Not the most exciting camera angle shots, but they are very fundamental to the scene.

Close-Up Shot

If you want a camera angle to portray a more intimate look into a character, then the close up is the best for developing a more authentic connection with the audience. 

This camera shot can set the tone with characters emotions and can make the audience connect with the humanity of the characters. 

This is a great camera angle for taking the audience away from the characters outside the world and focus on the story of just the character in front of the lens.

This camera shot is an excellent way to show more of the character‘s environment. This camera angle is usually set up for when a character is in an action sequence or doing a walk-and-talk. A wide shot shows the character in full top to the bottom portrayal.

This is a great camera angle for establishing the scene, and then work the camera angle or shots closer to the characters. Once the scene is getting towards the end of what it intends to do for the story, the wide shot is the perfect bookend to end the scene.

Extreme Long Shot

This is a shot that seems to be fading away these days in regards to filmmaking. The short attention spans of the vernal audience today, can focus on an extreme long shot for longer than a few seconds without a quick edit.

The extreme long shot is a great camera set up to establish the grand scale of the atmosphere to the audience. These shots also convey distance and show the scope of the world you want to create.

Dutch Angle

Dutch angles can help to tell the audience that something not right for the main character.

Typically used to depict the world on its side, Dutch angles can be utilized to show the main character is in danger, or their state of mind isn’t properly grounded.

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Establishing Shot

Establishing shots are another way of setting up the atmosphere of your film without any dialogue.

It’s an excellent way to introduce the audience to where your characters are, what time period it is, what kinds of lives they live, and so much more.

This camera shot can help set up the tone of the film in the best way possible.

Point-of-View Shot

The point-of-view (or POV) camera angle can place the audience in the place of a character and see the story through their eyes.

A great POV shot can add a lot to a film, but if overused they come across as gimmicky and distracting.

The Long Take is a camera shot moves the camera with the character throughout a scene. This shot is usually done with a Steadicam, gimbal, or handheld to show many different characters throughout a particular scene.

Some of my favorite shots in filmmaking history have been done this way, and if done correctly, these camera shots can add so much to the story.

Over The Shoulder Shot

The over the shoulder shot is used to demonstrate a relationship between another character and the main character.

This camera angle is a great way to make the audience feel like they are within the space of the main character and viewing the world as if we were standing with them. 

Low Angle Shot

A low-angle shot, is a shot from a camera angle positioned anywhere below the eye line, looking up.

Sometimes, it is even directly below the subject‘s feet. Psychologically, the effect of the low-angle shot is that it makes the subject look strong and powerful.

Quentin Tarantino is a master at this shot.

High Angle Shot

A high-angle shot is a camera technique where the camera looks down on the subject from a high angle.

High-angle shots can make the subject seem vulnerable or powerless when applied with the correct mood, setting, and effects.

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These Camera Angles & Shots Every Filmmaker Needs To Know are just the basics in regards to filmmaking. But, they are effective tools for your characters in many different moods and surroundings. 

If you are ever stuck on the set and not sure what camera angle or shot you want, just remember these examples and you will get back to making your amazing film.

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