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Transcript of Film Vocabulary
The narrative we see on screen, and usually specifically the world that the characters inhabit. If only the audience can perceive it, it's "nondiagetic"; if the characters can perceive it, it's "diagetic."
everything in the frame of the film, which would include lighting, set, props, and the staging and movement of actors.
The smallest unit of unbroken film.
a series of shots that form a cohesive unit of narrative.
Extreme Long Shot
Full / Long Shot
Camera is placed far away from the focus of the scene. Usually used as an "Establishing Shot," defining the scope of the scene and context. Usually (but not always) the camera is not moving.
The Dark Knight, 2008
A long or full shot is approximately life-sized: you can see the whole body, head to toe. These are also often used as establishing shots.
Dr. Who, 2006
Just the head, or head and shoulders.
Can focus on objects, very specific body parts, etc. If a person, tends to lend to objectification, reducing the person to parts.
The most common type of shot. Can be from waist or knees up (knees up is sometimes called a "medium full" shot).
Touch of Evil, 1958
A medium shot with two characters
Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961
Pirates of the Caribbean III, 2007
Taming of the Shrew, 1967
Over the Shoulder Shot
The camera sits over the shoulder of one of the people in a scene.
Shot / Reverse Shot
A combination of over-the-shoulder shots, usually used to depict conversation.
Harry Potter and Sorcerer's Stone, 2001
Light Sleeper, 1992
Camera is positioned low, looking up; it can be used to make subjects look more powerful or authoritative.
Camera is up high, looking down. Makes the object seem smaller and insignificant.
The Dark Knight Rises, 2012
Kindergarten Cop, 1990
Pan and Tilt
Panning is the horizontal movement of the camera; Tilting is the vertical movement of the camera.
Tracking and Dolly Shots
A steady movement of the camera tracking the movement of an object or characters.
Handheld (Shaky Cam!)
Shallow or Soft Focus
A type of tracking shot, but on a crane. These have the ability to show movement from close-up to a long shot from a high angle or the reverse.
High Noon, 1952
Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2003
The camera is held in the hand, or given the appearance of being hand-held. Used in documentaries, or to replicate documentary technique, or to create disorientation and confusion.
Citizen Kane, 1941
Uses a large depth of field, in which the foreground, middle-ground and background are all in focus.
Only one plane of the image is in focus while the rest is out of focus. Shallow focus is typically used to emphasize one part of the image over another.
Silver Linings Playbook, 2012