TakeThe length of film exposed between each start and stop of the camera.Thus, a shot
that goes on for a long time without an edit is called a “long take.” During filming the
same piece of action may be filmed from the same camera setup several times (e.g.,
trying for different emotions on the part of the actors); each time is called a take.
ShotA take, in part or in its entirety, that is used in the final edited version of the film.
In a finished film we refer to a piece of the film between two edits as a shot. Whereas an
edit can take the story to a different time or a different place, the action within a shot is
spatially and temporally continuous. We can therefore think of a shot as a “piece of
ScaleThe “bigness” of the subject in a given shot, determined by the camera’s distance from it.
Extreme close-up (ECU)
Closer shot than a close-up; a single detail occupies most of
the screen image. e.g., a mouth, a gun. Sometimes called an “insert.”
Close-Up (CU)The camera is close to the subject, so that when the image is projected most of the screen shows a face and its expression, or some relatively small part of a larger whole.
Medium close-up (MCU)Shot whose scale is between MS and CU: a character shown from the chest up.
Medium Shot (MS)A human subject in MS is generally shown from the waist up; background begins to be visible and potentially important.
Medium Long shot (MLS)Human subject is shown from the knees up. Also called an American Shot because Hollywood movies of the Thirties and Forties used it so often for dramatic action.
Long shot (LS)The camera is a considerable distance from the subject(s) being filmed. The whole human figure from head to feet is included in the frame, with the surrounding environment very visible.
Extreme long shot (ELS)The camera is very far away from the subject, giving us a broad perspective. Often used to create an “establishing shot,” setting up a new scene.
Camera AngleThe position of the camera (in terms of height from the ground) in
relation to the subject being filmed.
Low-Angle Shot (LA)The camera is positioned below the subject, and shoots upward at
it. The effect is to make the subject look dominating, powerful, as if a child were looking
up at an adult. An extreme low angle (ELA) would be an extreme variant.
Eye-Level ShotThe camera is located at normal eye level (five to six feet from ground
level) in relation to the subject. Unless otherwise noted in the script, the camera will
automatically be set up at eye level. When analyzing a scene, eye-level shots do not need
to be indicated as such; the reader will assume that this is the position of the camera,
unless otherwise indicated.
High-Angle Shot (HA)The camera is positioned somewhere above the subject and
shoots down at it. An extreme high angle would be an extreme variant. In a bird’s eye
shot the camera is placed directly over the subject.
Dutch or Oblique Angle ShotThe camera is tilted so that on screen, the horizon appears
to be tilted. Often used as a subjective shot to indicate stress, such as when a character is
drunk or drugged.
Medium or medium-long shot of two characters.
Medium or medium-long shot of three characters.
Moving ShotProduced when the camera moves. When the camera remains fixed but
swivels horizontally, it is called a pan; when it swivels vertically, it is a tilt. When the
camera itself travels horizontally, it is a tracking shot. When the camera travels in closer
to a subject or away from a subject, it is called a dolly shot. When the camera travels
vertically, it is a crane or boom shot.
Crane ShotShot taken from a crane or boom (a sort of huge mechanical arm, which
carries the camera and cameraman, and can move in virtually any direction–vertically,
forward-backward, transversely, or in a combination of the above.
Tracking ShotThe camera is mounted on a dolly or truck, and moves horizontally on
wheels or railroad-like tracks to follow the action being filmed or to survey the setting.
Dolly ShotThe camera is mounted on a dolly and moves forward (dolly-in) or away
from (dolly-out) the subject.
Subjective ShotThe camera is positioned at an angle, or has something about its content
(distortion through misfocus or strange color, etc.) to suggest that the shot is seen from
the viewpoint of a particular character in the film, usually a character in an abnormal
frame of mind (e.g., through drunkenness, or fear, or heightened sensitivity).