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The Visual Language of Cinema

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by

Andrew Loveridge

on 28 January 2016

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Transcript of The Visual Language of Cinema

High Angle and Low Angle
In a High Angle shot the camera would be positioned above the subject, looking down. This angle is often used to make the subject look small, insignificant or powerless within the context of the scene.

A Low Angle shot is the opposite of a High Angle shot. The camera would be positioned lower than eye level, looking up at the subject. For the audience this creates the suggestion of power, importance or spectacle.
The Visual Language of Cinema

Camera Angles and Shot Types
Aerial Shot
A birds eye view of the environment and/or characters. The camera may be attached to a helicopter, crane or drone to achieve the desired effect. This type of shot is often used for expositional purposes, to show the audience the environment/setting.
Long Shot
(Also known as a Wide shot or Full shot) This is when the camera has been positioned far away from the subject - often equipped with a Wide Angle lens or has been zoomed out - to fully show the audience the subject/enviroment
Close Up Shot
Close up shots are used to show important narrative devices or character emotions to the audience, which could normally be overlooked in a wider shot.
Eye Level Angle
This is perhaps the most commonly used camera angle. It places the camera directly at the characters height therefore suggesting neutral power. The eye-line for a character framed using this angle would usually intersect with the top line of a composition adhering to the rule of thirds.
Slanted Angle/ Dutch Angle
This technque is a cinematic framing convention that positions that camera on a deliberate slant. To the audience this creates an impression of confusion, unsettlement and anxiety. This technique is frequently used in horror films to create a sense of dread.
Watch this scene from Psycho (1960, dir Hitchcock). Look how the camera angle dictates the status of power between the two characters.
Medium (Mid) Shot
The Medium shot is one of the most common shot types. Typically the subject would be framed from the waist up. This shot type enables the viewer to see key actions of the character as well as some of the background
In this scene from Evil Dead 2 (1987, Dir Sam Raimi), the use of Slanted Angles creates a deliberately bizarre and disconcerting sequence.
Films like The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (dir, Peter Jackson 2001-2003) were celebrated for their use of Aerial photography.
Two Shot
Two Shot is often composed with two characters standing side by side. This visually demonstrates to the audience a form of relationship between the two characters.
Over The Shoulder Shot
The Over The Shoulder shot is a framing convention where the subject/object is framed from the perspective of the camera positioned or angled behind another characters' shoulder.

This type of shot is typically used during dialogue scenes ahereing to the 180 degree rule.
Point of View Shot
Point Of View shot shows the audience the exact perspective of a character and, more importantly, what they are seeing from their position within the scene. This technique is to highlight to the audience key information that this character may have and may not have seen
The film Rear Window (1956, dir Hitchcock) utilizes the POV shot to great effect; with many key narrative details conveyed to the audience via the perspective of the protagonist.
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