Camera Angles/Movement/Shots

Media Studies. What is so difficult about Media? Well, one of the things that may be a tiny problem for you people is remembering the camera angles/shots/movement. Camera angles. Camera Shots. Camera Movement. How important it that? Well, if we don’t start knowing these now, then we’re going to pass through serious consequences in the future and basically cry our heart out through the stages. Essay’s will walk by you, welcoming you into their arms in their torture if you don’t know one of the key camera shots. Now that is a pain. Well this is how I’m trying to work my way through this. I’m taking the easy ride to success! I’m going to base all the knowledge of camera shots on memory and handwritten (well… typed) in sections of this page. Hopefully it will be useful!

Here is an image that may help you remember most of the camera angles/movement by memory:

Camera Angles camera movement

This may look like a baby step to you guys but I think that I have to get through the main until I get to the reasons.


Extreme Long Shot

1) Extreme Long Shot (ELS):
Extreme Long Shot’s are used mainly to set the scene of the movie you are trying to create. It usually shows the outside of a building or even a landscape to give the audience a brief idea of where the scene takes place.

Long Shot

2) Long Shot (LS):
This shot is difficult to use because it determines the actual size of an object you are trying to show. This corresponds with the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema or the TV.
The shot requires a FULL SHOT showing the entire human body with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom, not cropping anything out. The background near human body is still shows but only at the sides.

3) Medium Shot (MS):
A Medium Shot is usually used for dialogue scenes, only showing the human from the waist and upwards. If more than three figures are shown in the scene then this eventually becomes a long shot. People use these shots because they want the audience to concentrate more on the people and very little setting is shown – probably the director has already shown the setting of the scene before this shot and it is no longer needed to be repeated on a wide scale.
The Medium Shot is very similar to the Over-the-shoulder which positions the camera behind a person only showing the back of the head and shoulder.

Medium Shot:                                                     Over-the-shoulder Shot:
Medium Shot Over The Shoulder Shot

Close-Up Shot4) Close-Up Shot (CUS):
A Close-Up Shot is mainly used to concentrate on a face or a particular Mis-en-scene showing very little background. The director may choose to make the background a blur to gain the audience’s attention on what he/she wants to be mainly seen. Close-Up Shots can be focused on objects or a character’s facial expression which takes up the mind of the character.

5) Extreme Close-Up Shot (ECU):Extreme Close Up Shot
The Extreme Close-Up Shot magnifies beyond what the human eye would imagine in reality. An extreme close-up of a face of a human would only show the eyes or the mouth covering up the whole screen with no background included. This shot is usually used to make a dramatic and tense effect.

By the way… If you are going to study camera shots and framing then you’re going to have a huge essay posted on your doorstep so brace yourself if you think this is too easy to remember!


REMEMBER: Camera angles give away a lot of information than you would expect it to be. Depending on how far away the camera shot is or how close it is, it already sends a message automatically to the audience about the character or object. So be careful!

Bird's Eye View1) Bird’s-eye view:
A Bird’s-eye view shows a scene from overhead. Overhead of your character or even to show the setting but the shot doesn’t show anything as clearly as you may think it is. This camera shot makes the audience feel like ‘God’ as God watches over everything that happens over our heads. People would look as tiny as ants and that also makes the audience feel tall and proud.

High Angle Shot2) High Angle:
This angle is similar to the Bird’s-eye view but not as high up. The camera is slanted in the action, hovering over the sides of the heads. This makes whatever you are trying to focus on smaller and insignificant. This action becomes part of a wider scale.

Eye Level

3) Eye Level:
The eye-level shot is placed in level with a character’s face as if the audience is watching in level with the focus.

4) Low AngleLow Angle Shot:
Low angles are mainly used to give an effect of how small you are to the world. Low angles shots give a sense of powerlessness and makes you feel useful in the scene and this type of camera angle would be useful for short actors like Danny Devito or Tom Cruise.

Oblique/Canted Angle

5) Oblique/Canted Angle:
An Oblique/Canted Angle can be sometimes tilted which is used in many popular horror movies to indicate to the audience that the scene is unstable, or ‘something is going to go wrong’. This shot suggests the ‘point of view’ of a character <- (even hand-held camera’s could be used for this).


Pans1) Pans:
This movement scans a scene horizonatally. Strange? Nope. The camera has to be placed on a tripod because soft shake’s of a movement is very sensitive and the audience would be able to access that mistake. The camera is turned to the side to often show a moving object in the middle of the frame.

2) Tilts: Tilts
This can be similar to a ‘Pan’ shot although it scans the scene vertically.

3) Dolly Shots: Dolly Shot
This is sometimes called a ‘trucking’ or a ‘tracking’ shot. The camera is usually placed inside a vehicle or a plane, or mounted anywhere that creates movement if the director wants a complicated dolly shot. The dolly shots generally follow a moving object. The dolly shot is good for following the movement of a human or an object showing the journey from one end to another.

4) Hand-held Camera Shots: Hand-Held Camera
Hand held camera shots are moved by us, humans. This brings the audience to see as if they were inside them movie, witnessing an event that takes place. For instance, if a person is running in front of you and the hand-held camera shot is moving in a jerky unstable way focusing on the person running that may mean that that you are eyeing  chasing after them, watching every movement the person is doing in front of you. This type of camera angle is denotating reality when you are running behind another person rather than having a solid, boring camera angle.

Crane Shot5) Crane Shot:
Crane Shots are similar to a dolly shot although it moves left, right, centre, up, down, diagonally etc. but in the air by using a large metal stand as you can see on the left here.

Zoom Lenses

6) Zoom Lenses:
A zoom lense is use to change the magnification of an image by either using a close-up shot or a long shot in a camera (photographer) but the photographer standing a metre or two away. A zoom could be played out when the camera focuses on an object burried with other things but then zooms in quickly to face the main subject the director is trying to concentrate on. A zoom lense can be used with a trypod to stabalize.

Aerial Shot

7) Aerial Shot: Aerial shots are usually taken from a helicopter and is similar to a ‘Crane Shot’. You would usually find an ‘Aerial’ Shot in the beginning of a film to establish the setting and movement. This one is more exciting!

Now we have covered Camera Angles/Movement/Shots and it wasn’t hard was it? Just remember some images and use your brain to think about the four ‘W’ and a ‘H’.

  1. WHO
  2. WHAT
  3. WHEN
  4. WHERE
  5. HOW

If you’re going to study Media Studies in more depth then I suggest that you mostly think OUTSIDE THE BOX. And if you think that you don’t need to know any of this stuff then trust me… you really do. Don’t leave any information behind your feet as your passing through stages because in the final stage… you’re really going to need to include everything you have learnt into one or more sheets of papers.

So hopefully this blog would be useful to you and have a great success! 🙂


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