Filming 101: Types of Camera Shots and Angles (2023)

Basic camera shots are those that refer to the indication of subject size within the frame. There are three different types of basic camera shots which include: the close-up, medium shot, and the long shot.

1. Close-up

A close-up shot is a shot taken of a person or object at a close range, in order to capture the minute details of the subject. This shot is tightly framed and takes up most of the screen, as it is usually used to frame a character’s face in order for the audience to see what type of emotion is being conveyed. In addition to serving as a tool used to evoke a character’s emotional state of mind, the close up shot is also used to reveal details or information about objects or the setting the film is set in. For example, close-up shots are often used to indicate to the audience that they should pay attention to a certain motif or symbol that is being carried throughout the film.

2. Medium Shot

A medium shot, or waist shot, indicates that it was captured at a medium distance from the subject. It is often used for back and forth dialogue within a scene as it allows the viewer to have a solid view of each character within a film. This shot is known as the ‘sweet spot’ shot, as it allows for both the details of your subject to be seen in addition to the surrounding setting the scene is taking place in. As a result, using a medium shot can help the viewer depict the body language of the characters in the film and how they are interacting with the environment around them.

3. Long Shot

The long shot, also known as the wide shot, is often times used as an establishing shot in a film, as it normally sets the scene and the character’s place within it. This type of camera shot, shows the full length of the subject while also including a large amount of the surrounding area of the film setting. Some of the most recognizable and iconic scenes in movies, are those that were shot as a long shot. Furthermore, when filming a movie solely from a distance that includes only long shots, it can give a sense of separation between the film itself and the audience. For example the 2019 Oscar winning film, Roma, was solely filmed in a series of long shots. This film technique causes the audience to feel isolated and like they are only allowed to be on-lookers into the story being presented to them, rather than being immersed in the narrative being told.

(Video) Ultimate Guide to Camera Angles: Every Camera Shot Explained [Shot List, Ep. 3]

Extreme Close-Up

An extreme close-up shot, is when the surface area of the frame is filled by a subject’s face. In other words, the subject is tightly framed, or shown in a relatively large scale, causing their face to be cropped within the frame. This type of shot is often referred to a choker as well, which is when a shot is framed just above the eyes and right below the mouth. Extreme close-ups are a powerful way to convey the emotion that your subject is feeling, without the need of the character saying much. Much like the use of a regular close-up shot, an extreme close-up can be used to guide the viewer’s eyeline and show them an object or motif that is pivotal to the narrative of the film.

Extreme Long Shot

Taking the long shot one step further, the extreme long shot, or extreme wide shot, is when the view is so far from the subject that he/ she isn’t necessarily the focus anymore, but rather the surrounding area is. Also used as an establishing shot within a film, the extreme long shot, is designed to show the audience where the action is taking place. Furthermore, an extreme long shot can also be used to demonstrate the scale of what is going on in a scene. This type of shot is often used in war-type films, as they allow for a lot of the setting to be seen at once.

Although close-up, medium, and long shots are the three pillars of basic camera shots, there are multiple variations of each shot that you can use in order to blend the effects of the different shots. For example, a medium close-up combines the effects and distance of framing of both a close-up and medium shot-- the same would go with a medium long shot, and so on.

(Video) 12 CAMERA ANGLES to Enhance Your Films

Advanced camera shots, are those that indicate camera angle and placement, and are often used to affect the mood or narrative of the film, rather than indicate size and spatial awareness.

1. High-Angle

A high-angle shot is a cinematography technique where the camera points down on the subject from above. This type of shot is used to make the subject or object below seem vulnerable, powerless, or weak. This camera angle is most commonly used in horror movies to indicate a sense of entitlement the camera has over the subject below. Other messages a high angle can convey include: danger, depression, and shock. When using a high angle shot this causes the audience to have a subjective camera view by asserting themselves to have the viewpoint of the person in ‘power’. Additionally, a high camera angle shot can also provide an overview of the scene itself, which allows the viewer to get a better understanding of where the setting of the film is taking place-- possibly giving them a new perspective of how they view it.

2. Low-Angle

A low-angle shot is when the camera is positioned low on the vertical axis, below the level of the eyeline, and looks up at an object or subject above. This camera angle evokes a psychological effect by making the subject above, which the camera is angled at, look strong and powerful. In addition, the use of a low angle shot can make the ‘hero’ of your film seem vulnerable and cause the viewer to have a relatable feeling to a character that usually seems unstoppable. Another common way this angle is used, is to increase the perceived height of an object-- as when something is filmed from a low angle is causes it to appear quite larger than it actually is.

(Video) Basic Camera Shots & Angles for Filmmaking

3. Over the Shoulder

The over the shoulder shot, is most commonly used in film when two or more characters are talking to each other in conversation. This type of shot is used to establish eyeline of where each character in the scene is looking, and is most commonly framed through a medium or close-up shot. This type of shot can also be used to indicate to the viewer that a specific character in the film sees something that the other characters might not yet see. For example by playing with the depth of field in your scene, you can draw the attention of your viewer to look at something in the distance that a character is witnessing first hand. In this case, a great depth of field would be used by causing the foreground to be blurry, and the background to be in focus.

4. Bird’s Eye

The bird’s eye view shot, or an aerial view shot, is when the camera is located up above, overhead, capturing the action going on below. In today’s day and age, these types of shots are most commonly captured with a drone in order to be able to get the full view of what is happening down below. In various different types of cinematic works, bird’s eye shots are used as establishing shots to give context of where the setting of the film is, in addition to being used as transition shots to show what exactly is going on in a setting from an aerial view. These types of shots are commonly used in films where the location each scene plays a pivotal role in the narrative. However, despite being able to capture this type of shot on a drone, it is also possible to capture a bird’s eye shot from the top of a structure or building, such as a bridge or skyscraper.

5. Dutch Angle/Tilt

The Dutch angle/tilt is more of a stylistic approach to cinematography. In order to execute this, you must tilt your camera to one side, which results in a frame that is not level. This type of camera angle is used mostly to create a dramatic effect within a film and can evoke a series of different emotions. The Dutch angle can heighten psychological distress and tension, which in turn, creates a cinematic environment that creates suspense and a sense of thrill. Additionally, filming a scene in this angle can make your audience feel disoriented, uneasy, and sometimes even a sense of drunkenness.

(Video) Ultimate Guide to Camera Shots: Every Shot Size Explained [The Shot List, Ep 1]

These advanced camera shots, or angles, are used in film to convey an effect or emotion rather than exemplify a sense of space. Before filming, cinematographers will write out their shot list in order to plan how each scene of their film should be shot. When directing your next cinematic masterpiece, be sure to sprinkle in a few of these camera angles in order to help convey the message of your narrative.

Besides the fact of maximizing these different camera angles to enhance the mood of your next film, you also want to be sure you are able to capture your footage in the highest-quality possible. In order to do so, a variable ND filter can be used to take your film to the next level and make it look extremely professional and cinematic. A VND filter is the best way to optimize your workflow when out on location filming, as it allows you to control your shutter speed in ever-changing lighting conditions. Also, instead of bringing multiple ND filters with you on your video shoots, a variable ND filter allows you to adjust on the fly by combining multiple stops into one filter element, making it easy for you to adapt to various environments. Variable ND filters can also help you adjust your depth of field when filming, which is helpful when trying to isolate a certain object of subject within a scene. Here at PolarPro we collaborated with one of the biggest content creators in the industry, Peter McKinnon, to engineer a customized Variable ND filter that keeps the professional run and gun cinematographer in mind. The Peter McKinnon Variable ND filter was created with pristine quality construction as our main priority, and is made of two handcrafted fused glass elements, which work in unison to allow the proper amount of light exposure into your lens. Featured in our QuartzLine filters as well, our quartz glass technology allows the VND to have increased durability and withstand extreme conditions. Additionally, the controlled stop range eliminates the worry of cross-polarization and vignetting so your cinematic content is produced the way you intend it to be.


What are the different types of camera angles in film? ›

7 camera shots and angles to use in filmmaking
  • Extreme long shot. First up we have the extreme long shot. ...
  • Long shot.
  • Mid-shot or medium shot. The mid-shot or medium shot generally shows the character from the waist to the top of the head. ...
  • Close-up. ...
  • Extreme close-up. ...
  • High-angle. ...
  • Low angle.

What are different camera angles and shots? ›

High Angle: The camera is raised above the subject and is tilted down at the subject. Low Angle: The camera closer to the ground and points up towards the subject. Over the Shoulder: The camera is behind the subject as he/she is facing another person. Point of View: The perspective of the person in the scene.

How many types of camera shots are there in film making? ›

There are three different types of basic camera shots which include: the close-up, medium shot, and the long shot.

What are the most common camera angles when filming? ›

In a survey of filmmakers, 98% said that the most common camera angle is the eye-level shot. This means when an actor walks on screen and we see them from their perspective as if they were looking at us straight in our eyes. Also, a very popular camera angle is the “over-the-shoulder” shot.

What are the 4 camera angles? ›

There are a number of camera angles, such as a high-angle shot, a low-angle shot, a bird's-eye view and a worm's-eye view.

Why camera angles are important in film? ›

Exploring camera angles. You've hopefully learnt all about shot types, now it's on to the camera angles you can use in conjunction with those shots. The way the camera is angled can contribute to the meaning the audience will get from the shot and can be used to make characters look strong, weak, intimidating, inferior ...

What is the basic shot of camera? ›

Basic camera shots are those that refer to the indication of subject size within the frame.
There are three different types of basic camera shots which include: the close-up, medium shot, and the long shot.
  • Close-up. ...
  • Medium Shot. ...
  • Long Shot.

What are camera angles called? ›

Types of Camera Angles Open menu. Insert Image Low Angle Shot. Eye Level Shot. High Angle Shots. Dutch Angle Shot.

What's the best angle to take a picture? ›

To look more photogenic, turn to the Universally Flattering Angle (the UFA): 45 degrees away from the camera. Our University of Southern California students have never tried doing the UFA before. But simply turning their bodies 45 degrees away from the camera transforms the photos.

What is the most common type of shot in film? ›

Medium Shot Shows part of the subject in more detail. For a person, a medium shot typically frames them from about waist up. This is one of the most common shots seen in films, as it focuses on a character (or characters) in a scene while still showing some environment.

What are full shots in film? ›

What is a full shot? A full shot is a type of camera shot that includes the actor's full body in the frame.

What is a shot list in filmmaking? ›

What is a shot list. A shot list is a document that maps out exactly what will occur and what will be used in that particular shot, or scene, of the film. But, why is a shot list important? It serves as a detailed checklist that gives the video a sense of direction and prepares the crew for film expectations.

What is the best angle for a video? ›

For optimal appearance in a video conference call, you should place your webcam just above your eye level and angle it slightly downward. You should mount it no higher than your hairline. If the camera is too low or high, the angles can exaggerate your facial features and distort your appearance.

What is the best angle to film yourself? ›

Use the rule of thirds — keep some space above your head, but align your eyes on along the top third of the screen. Shoot with the camera at about eye-level, as if you're talking to someone around your height. Don't shoot from below.

What is a full shot camera angle? ›

A full shot is a type of camera shot in which a character's entire body reaches from the top of the frame to the bottom of the frame. In a full shot, a character is framed from head to toe.

What are the 7 different types of angles? ›

There are various types of angles in geometry.
These are:
  • Acute Angles.
  • Obtuse Angles.
  • Right Angles.
  • Straight Angles.
  • Reflex Angles.
  • Full Rotation.
Jul 8, 2020

What are the 14 types of angles? ›

Angle TypeAngle measure
Acute angleGreater than 0 °, Less than 90°
Right angle90°
Obtuse angleGreater than 90°, less than 180°
Straight angle180°
1 more row
5 days ago

What are different camera angles used for? ›

It's often used to make the viewer feel that they are close to the action. Low angle shot - The camera points upwards, usually making the subject or setting seem grand or threatening. High angle shot - The camera looks down, making the subject look vulnerable or insignificant.

What is a high angle shot used for in film? ›

Depending on the context of the story you're telling, the high angle shot can elicit a range of emotions, from vulnerability and fear to tension and danger. High angle shots can also be a film device that supports the plot, drives the story, establishes a scene, and presents a big narrative scale.

What are the 3 important thing in camera? ›

Believe it or not, this is determined by just three camera settings: aperture, ISO and shutter speed (the "exposure triangle"). Mastering their use is an essential part of developing an intuition for photography.

What is the first shot of a film called? ›

ESTABLISHING SHOT, Often the opening shot of a film or a sequence, showing the location of a scene or the arrangement of its characters.

What is the 180 rule in film? ›

The 180-degree rule states that two characters (or more) in a scene should always have the same left/right relationship with each other. – Filmmaking Gods. The rule dictates that you draw an imaginary line between these two characters (or subjects) and try to keep your camera(s) on the same side of this 180-degree line ...

How many types of shots are there? ›

Shots Indicating Subject Size

Extreme long shot: Shows the subject from a distance. Long shot: Shows the entire person, although they don't necessarily have to fill the frame. Full shot: Here, the subject mostly fills the frame. Medium shot: Shows the subject from the knees up.

What is first camera angle called? ›

Point of view (POV) shot definition

A point of view shot is a film angle that shows what a character is looking at in the first person. In other words, the camera acts as the eyes of a character and the audience sees what they see.

What is a 2 shot in film? ›

A two shot is basically when you see two characters in the frame. They're often a mid-shot because the two characters in shot are often talking or interacting in some way, or maybe we want to see the emotion of both characters face.

What camera angle is most accurate? ›

In almost all cases, the best camera angles are 3 inches higher than the height of your eyes (tilting down towards you) because they can slim out the face.

What is the 1/3 rule in photography? ›

What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

What is the most natural camera angle? ›

The eye level shot is considered the most natural camera angle. Capturing the shot at eye-level offers a neutral perception of the subject. Because it is the way in which we usually see people, this camera angle can help the audience connect with the subject.

How many shots can you film in a day? ›

With an average 12-hour single camera production day (7: 00 AM. to almost 8: 00 PM), most films average about 25 setups (individual shots) every day.

What is a simple shot in film? ›

What is a Simple Shot? Simple shots are single shots that have absolute no movement by the camera. At the obvious level, this means the camera doesn't move in space - Meaning the shot framing will remain identical throughout.

What is a full body shot called? ›

Wide shot. Wide shots are also known as long shots or full body shots. These frames put a more equal emphasis on your subject and their surrounding environment.

What is the last shot of a film called? ›

Martini Shot” (also called “Window Shot”) is a Hollywood term for the final shot set-up of the day as named by Cody Whitehouse.

What are the 8 elements of film? ›

What are the key elements involved:
  • Film Type.
  • Shots.
  • Camera Angles.
  • Lighting.
  • Color.
  • Sound or Audio.
  • Editing.
  • Mise-en-Scene.
Mar 3, 2021

What are POV shots in film? ›

A point of view shot (typically abbreviated as a POV shot) is one that shows the audience what the world looks like from a particular character's perspective.

What is the five shot rule? ›

First developed by Michael Rosenblum, this formula is now widely used by broadcast journalists to get the shots they need to tell a story. The premise is simple: shoot five specific kinds of video shots in sequence, each one at least ten seconds long. Then add a voiceover or excerpts from an interview during editing.

How do I start a shot list? ›

How to Create a Shot List in 5 Steps
  1. Choose a scene from your script and open a new spreadsheet. ...
  2. Break down how you want to capture every individual shot in the scene one-by-one. ...
  3. Give each shot a unique number, starting with 1. ...
  4. Make sure you assign every part of the scene its own shot.
Sep 2, 2022

How many films are shot on film? ›

Since 2016 over 90% of major films were shot on digital video. As of 2017, 92% of films are shot on digital. Only 24 major films released in 2018 were shot on 35mm.

How do you shoot a perfect video? ›

10 Beginner Video Tips for Making Professional Videos
  1. 1 Plan Ahead for Your Video. ...
  2. 2 Use a High-Quality Camera. ...
  3. 3 Make sure you have enough lighting. ...
  4. 4 Upgrade the Audio Quality. ...
  5. 5 Use a Powerful Video Editing Software. ...
  6. 6 Avoid Using Shaky Footage. ...
  7. 7 Improve Your Video Composition. ...
  8. 8 Be Comfortable on Camera.
Dec 28, 2021

What is the best aperture setting for video? ›

A low aperture such as f/2.8 will help you emphasise your subject and create a professional-looking blurry background. If you want to make sure as much of your scene is in focus as possible, use a high aperture like f/10 or f/22.

Which lens is best for videography? ›

We believe a combination of these three lenses makes for a well-rounded videography lens kit:
  • The 50mm prime lens. A true workhorse lens, the nifty fifty is the best approximation of human vision. ...
  • The 28mm wide-angle lens. Every film project needs a wide-angle lens. ...
  • The 70-200mm telephoto lens.
Jul 29, 2022

How do you film like a pro? ›

  1. Use plenty of light.
  2. Use a Clean Background.
  3. Choose a Good Video Editing Program.
  4. Keep Your Editing Simple.
  5. Prioritize Crisp, Clear Audio.
  6. Avoid Shaky Footage.
  7. Understand the Rule of Thirds.
  8. Use Your Phone the Right Way.

Where do you look when being filmed? ›

Try looking about 6-12 inches away from your camera. This will allow your audience to still see both of your eyes and most of your face. Whereas if you go side on it may look a bit artier but it is harder for the viewer to form a connection with you as they can't see both of your eyes.

What is a 360 degree shot called? ›


The arc shot in film, also called a 360 degrees shot or 360 tracking shot, orbits the camera around a subject in an arc pattern. In an arc shot, the subject is usually stagnant while the camera circles them in at least a semi-circle pattern.

What are the three camera framing shots? ›

Explore Camera Framing
  • Establishing Shots.
  • Single Shot.
  • Two Shot / Group Shot.
May 24, 2020

What angle is shot from eye level? ›

What is the eye level shot? The eye level shot is exactly what it sounds like: the cinematographer positions the camera angle directly at the eye level of the character. The subject is usually captured from the knees to the head, with very little surrounding context.

What are the 3 types of film cameras? ›

There are a few different types of film cameras, and they're suited for different purposes. But there are three main 35mm film camera categories: rangefinders, single lens reflex (SLR) and point-and-shoots.

What are high and low angles in film? ›

Low angle shot - The camera points upwards, usually making the subject or setting seem grand or threatening. High angle shot - The camera looks down, making the subject look vulnerable or insignificant. It can give the audience a motherly feeling toward the character.

What is angle of view in film? ›

Point of view (POV) shot definition

A point of view shot is a film angle that shows what a character is looking at in the first person. In other words, the camera acts as the eyes of a character and the audience sees what they see.

What are the three 3 types of camera? ›

  • Digital cameras.
  • DSLR cameras.
  • Mirrorless cameras.
Feb 13, 2023

What are the two most common types of cameras? ›

There are many different types of cameras out there, the main ones you'll find are: DSLR cameras. Mirrorless cameras.

How do you get good film angles? ›

Turn your head slowly from one side to another in each direction. Tilt it from side to side. Bring your chin slowly down and slowly up. Look at your face as if it were a painting to see what makes a more interesting picture.

What are the 3 perspectives in film? ›

Let's look at the different points of view you can use in your film.
  • First-Person Point of View (Subjective)
  • Third-Person Limited Point of View (Objective)
  • Omniscient Point of View (Objective)
Feb 4, 2022

What is standard camera angle? ›

Standard Angle

A standard camera angle is neutral and eye level with characters. It should be used when you want to give your viewers the freedom to decide how they feel about the content and characters displayed on the screen.

What is a three shot camera angle? ›

Three shot, when three characters are in the frame. Point-of-view shot (POV), which shows the scene from the point of view of one of the characters, making the audience feel that they are there seeing what the character is seeing.

What are the four 4 camera types? ›

Most cameras can be grouped into four main types: digital SLR (or DSLR), point-and-shoot, bridge cameras, and camera phones. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, and some types are more expensive than others.

What is the simplest type of camera? ›

A pinhole camera is the simplest form of a camera. It makes use of a single tiny opening to focus light into a single point. The pinhole camera is the simplest kind of camera. It does not have a lens.

What are the 3 main camera settings? ›

Three of the most important settings are shutter speed, ISO, and aperture — otherwise known as the exposure triangle, or the three pillars of photography. Shutter speed: As its name suggests, shutter speed is how quickly the shutter closes.


1. Types of Shots | Tomorrow's Filmmakers
(Tomorrows Filmmakers)
2. 15 Essential Camera Shots, Angles and Movements in Filmmaking
3. Camera Angles and Shot Types Guide - FILM LANGUAGE BASICS (PART2)
(Film Scientist)
4. 8 Steps to Cinematic Composition | Tomorrow's Filmmakers
(Tomorrows Filmmakers)
5. The Basic Types of Camera Shot Angles
(Lost Theater)
6. Film Techniques: Camera Shots & Angles
(Read Write Now)
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