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Film Studies: Unit 3 - Shot Composition
Transcript of Film Studies: Unit 3 - Shot Composition
Filmmakers use a wide variety of shots for different cinematic and stylistic purposes.
Typically used for showing larger objects or things that are massive in size and scale.
BIRD'S EYE VIEW
Look down on the world and it's characters. These shots implicitly pass judgment on these "small" things. Similar to
GOD'S POINT OF VIEW.
"TRICK" SHOT / UNEXPECTED ANGLE
An unexpected P.O.V. shot can help convey the image of a surprise discovery in an unlikely place.
LIGHT and SHADOW
Are used in varying degrees to alter the emotional tone of the film.
MORE LIGHT = HAPPY
MORE SHADOW = UNHAPPY
Gives viewers the sense that what we're seeing is "off limits."
POINT OF VIEW SHOT
Places the camera directly "in the eyes" of one of the characters in the film.
GREAT FOR SUSPENSE / TENSION.
This is the most common shot used in film and television. It shows the upper half of one or more characters' bodies in the frame with some of the background.
The most personal and intimate of all shots. Great for focusing on one particular character's emotions and facial expressions.
"Too close for comfort." A very artificial shot, intended to make viewers feel disoriented, or uneasy.
These shots are about "getting close" to someone.
These shots are about pushing things too far.
Wide shots give a great sense of setting and scope.
Gives a good sense of scope and location, and helps viewers figure out "where in the world" this scene or story occurs.
Makes actors appear "larger than life." Often used to convey size and strength of the subjects.
Creates the illusion that two characters are actually looking at one another.
Typical film conversation features two characters and alternating eye-level cameras (one on right, one on left).
SHOT and REVERSE SHOT
This creates a natural feeling of "give and take" to the dialogue.
A recording from start to finish that keeps all of the major characters in view, much like a stage play.
One of the earliest shots in film history.
(often an Establishing Shot)
Typically taken at a far enough distance to give viewers a sense of the world they're about to enter.
What can you tell from this establishing shot?
"TILT" SHOT / "DUTCH ANGLE"
Since the Dutch Angle shot is off-centered and tilted, it tends to confuse the audience (intentionally or not).
Normally, the human eye can only focus EITHER on a nearby object OR on an object that is off in the distance.
But this is not the case in film.
LONG SHOTS = UNSETTLING
FAST SHOTS = DISORIENTING
A camera should only MOVE when movement is essential to the scene.
The way a shot is FRAMED impacts the audience's perspective.
Each new ANGLE conveys a different point of view.
Manipulating other variables can also impact the shot.
Zooming in while dollying out (or vice versa at the same speed. Incredibly disorienting!
Typically, more "gritty" and "realistic" than stationary cams.
A long, "follow shot" typically from behind/beside one character. One long shot in smooth motion to show a scene or character in a forward-moving feat over a longer period of time.
Rotating the camera SIDE-TO-SIDE to capture up to a 360 degree view.
Angling the camera UP AND DOWN to get a top-to-bottom view.
Literally named for sliding a camera ALONG A TRACK to change distance from a subject without zooming.
Quickly brings an audience into the world of the film or pulls them out of it.
Brings particular focus to a particular object or character.
everything that appears in the shot (actors, costumes, sound, props, sets, lighting)
"A film is made four times: when it's written, when it's cast, when it's shot, and when it's edited."
Manipulating the speed of a shot can heighten drama (slow motion) or create a whirlwind effect (when accelerated).
Opening scene of a horror film. A scientist in a lab makes a startling discovery just moments before he's killed by a flesh-eating bacteria.
Break into II moment of an action film. A rugged hero has just assembled his troops, and the group heads out for their mission in an exotic locale.
Midpoint of a romantic comedy. The boy and girl share a quirky, fun date while ice skating, but are interrupted by a serious surprise phone call.
Break into III moment of a historical drama. A major scandal is exposed, and a senator's campaign appears headed for ruin.
Finale of an action film. A femme-fatale hero goes toe-to-toe with her arch enemy while suspended above a flaming pit of lava.
The chase sequence of a thriller/suspense film, where the bad guys try to flee the scene of a crime with a briefcase full of diamonds.
"All is lost" scene in a buddy comedy. The hero is left all by himself, stumbling drunk through a darkened alley in the middle of the night.
"Save the Cat" moment of a dystopian futuristic thriller. The hero sacrifices her own meal so that a small child doesn't have to go without.
"Fun and games" portion of a drama where the hero's amazing ability to predict the outcome of sports games earns him loads and loads of cash.
Framing + Angle + Movement + Extras
Creates the sense of ease, comfort, and grace.
Notice how awkward this scene is without this shot/reverse shot.