Backlighting: The main source of light is behind the subject, silhouetting it, and directed toward the camera. Camera Angle: The angle at which the camera is pointed at the subject: Low High Tilt Deep focus: A technique in which objects very near the camera as well as those far away are in focus at the same time. Editing: Editing refers literally to how shots are put together to make up a film. Traditionally a film is made up of sequences or in some cases, as with avant-garde or art cinema, or again, of successive shots that are assembled in what is known as collision editing, or montage.
Extreme Long Shot: A panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance, often as far as a quarter-mile away. May also serve as the establishing shot Framing: The way in which subjects and objects are framed within a shot produces specific readings. Size and volume within the frame speak as much as dialogue. So too do camera angles. Thus, for example, a high-angle extreme long shot of two men walking away in the distance, points to their vulnerability - they are about to disappear, possibly die.
Low angle shots in medium close-up on a person can point to their power, but it can also point to ridicule because of the distortion factor. Medium Shot: A shot intermediate between a close-up and a full shot. Key Light: The main light on a subject. Usually placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera-subject axis. In high key lighting, the key light provides all or most of the light in the scene. In low key lighting, the key light provides much less of the total illumination. Close-up/extreme close-up (CU/ECU) The subject framed by the camera fills the screen.
Connotation can be of intimacy, of having access to the mind or thought processes (including the subconscious) of the character. These shots can be used to stress the importance of a particular character at a particular moment in a film or place her or him as central to the narrative by singling out the character in CU at the beginning of the film. It can signify the star exclusively (as in many Hollywood productions of the 1930s and 1940s). CUs can also be used on objects and parts of the body other than the face.
In this instance they can designate imminent action (a hand picking up a knife, for example), and thereby create suspense. Or they can signify that an object will have an important role to play in the development of the narrative. Often these shots have a symbolic value, usually due to their recurrence during the film. How and where they recur is revealing not only of their importance but also of the direction or meaning of the narrative. Medium close-up (MCU): Close-up of one or two (sometimes three) characters, generally framing the shoulders or chest and the head.
The term can also be used when the camera frames the character(s) from the waist up (or down), provided the character is right to the forefront and fills the frame, (otherwise this type of of shot is a medium shot). An MCU of two or three characters can indicate * a coming together * an intimacy * a certain solidarity. Conversely, if there is a series of two and one shots, these MCUs would suggest a complicity between two people against a third who is visually separate in another shot.
Medium shot (MS): Generally speaking, this shot frames a character from the waist, hips or knees up (or down). The camera is sufficiently distanced from the body for the character to be seen in relation to her or his surroundings (in an apartment, for example). Typically, characters will occupy half to two-thirds of the frame. This shot is very commonly used in indoor sequences allowing for a visual signification of relationships between characters. Compare a two-shot MS and a series of separate one-shots in MS of two people.
The former suggests intimacy, the latter distance. The former shot could change in meaning to one of distance, however, if the two characters were separated by an object (a pillar, table or telephone, for example). Visually this shot is more complex, more open in terms of its readability than the preceding ones. The characters can be observed in relation to different planes, background middle ground and foreground, and it is the inter-relatedness of these planes which also serves to produce a meaning.
Medium long shot (MLS): Halfway between a long and a medium shot. If this shot frames a character then the whole body will be in view towards the middle ground of the shot. A quite open shot in terms of readability, showing considerably more of the surroundings in relation to the character(s). Long shot (LS): Subject or characters are at some distance from the camera; they are seen in full within their surrounding environment. Extreme long shot (ELS): The subject or characters are very much to the background of the shot.
Surroundings now have as much if not more importance, especially if the shot is in high-angle. A first way to consider these shots is to say that a shot lends itself to a greater or lesser readability dependent on its type or length. As the camera moves further away from the main subject (whether person or object) the visual field lends itself to an increasingly more complex reading - in terms of the relationship between the main subject and the decor there is more for the spectator's eye to read or decode.
This means that the closer up the shot, the more the spectator's eye is directed by the camera to the specified reading. Shots, in and of themselves, can have a subjective or objective value: the closer the shot, the more subjective its value, the more the meaning is inscribed from within the shot; conversely, the longer the distance of the shot the more objective its value, the greater the participation of the spectator or reader in the inscription of meaning. ther factors influence the readability of a shot. A high or low camera angle can de-naturalise a shot or reinforce its symbolic value. Take, for example, an ELS that is shot at a high angle. This automatically suggests the presence of someone looking, thus the shot is implicitly a point of view shot. In this way some of the objective value or openness of that shot, (which it would retain if angled horizontally at 90 degrees) is taken away, the shot is no longer 'naturally' objective.
The shot is still open to a greater reading than a CUC, however; although the angle imposes a preferred reading (someone is looking down from on high). In terms of illustrating what is meant by reinforcing symbolic value, the contrastive examples of a low- and high-angle CU can serve here. The former type of shot will distort the object within the frame, rendering it uglier, more menacing, more derisory; conversely, when a high-angle CU is used, the object can appear more vulnerable, desirable.