Wide/Long Shot (WS/LS)
The wide shot also known as establishing shot sets up the scene. For example if you are shooting a bank robbery scene, establishing shot would be a good wide shot of the bank building from the outside. A good long shot will convey to the viewer where exactly the shots following it are going to happen. An establishing shot could also be a combination of multiple wide shots. Starting with multiple aerial shots of the high rise buildings in the city, followed by the street in which the bank is and then to the bank building.
Medium Shot (MS)
This will bring the audience closer to the scene as things start to happen. For example the masked robber rushing in through the bank doors with his rifle in one hand and a bag in the other.
While shooting of conversations or interviews a medium shot will include the person from his waist above in the frame. The robber holding his gun to the cashier demanding him to fill the bag with cash is one example.
Close Up (CU)
This powerful shot type when used intelligently conveys the emotion of the scene to perfection. Close up shows the person’s shoulders and above. The shot of the tensed cashiers face elevates the dramatic situation.
Television was mostly close up and still is.
Extreme Close up (ECU)
ECU takes the viewer to the parts of the scene which are not obviously visible to the naked eye. Example would be the drops of sweat on the scared cashiers face or the denomination of the dollar bundles in the bag.
This is the same as wide shot except that it happens again. The shot of the robber running out of the bank and getting in to his car.
A cut away is a transition shot between two scenes. It helps smoothen the flow from one scene to another. The following guideline helps to come up with a good cut away shot. It should be a shot of something in the scene but not directly from the main action.
As the robber rushes out of the bank and before we move on to the high speed pursuit scene a good cutaway would be the shot of the tire marks left behind by the robber’s car.
Putting them to use:
Here is an Public Service Announcement video on identity theft that i shot as a part of my course work.It uses all these basic shots at least once.
Shots in the Video
- The wide establishing shot of the apartment building setting the scene.
- The medium shot of the bed room.
- Getting closer, the medium shot of the guy sleeping on the bed.
- And then the cut away shot of the cell phone and laptop on the table before we move out of the scene.
- An establishing shot of the guy entering the shopping outlet.
- Medium shots – as the guy enter and leave each store
- Medium shot of the guy looking at his watch.
- Close up of his hand
- Extreme Close up of the watch which tells the viewer the time and the brand of the watch.
- The video ends with a close up of the guy as he holds his head.