When you're shooting a video, there are lots of different ways you can frame your shots. The type of shots you choose will determine the mood of your video and how your audience will interpret what is going on. For instance, an extreme wide shot of a person yelling will be interpreted quite differently than video of the same person yelling from a few inches away.
Not sure what shots to use? Here's a rundown of some of the most common ways to frame a subject and how those types of shot might be interpreted by an audience.
Extreme wide shot: An extreme wide shot is often used as an establishing shot. For instance, if you were recording a video at your family farm, you might use an extreme wide shot of the entire farm to establish your location and give viewers an idea of where the action is taking place. If there are people in this type of shot, they are often too far away to be recognized by the camera. You are simply setting the scene for your viewers.
While extreme wide shots aren't typically used to establish scenes such as your child's soccer game, they are something you'll want to use if you're recording your own movie. If you just want to set a smaller scene, a wide shot in which your subject is shown in his or her entirety (from head to toe) can also serve a similar purpose.
Mid shot: A mid shot, or medium shot, is typically a shot of your subject from the waist up, allowing some of the establishing scene to make it into the frame as well. The shot is great to use when you're trying to deliver information to your audience and is often used by news photographers when recording interviews.
For instance, a news photographer might interview a fire victim as a medium shot, while showing an apartment fire still burning in the background. Having both the subject and the fire in the background helps establish what the subject is talking about to viewers quickly. This picture of a man drinking a cup of coffee is also a medium shot, establishing both the man as a subject and his location in the same frame. Over-the-shoulder shot: Over-the-shoulder shots are typically used in interviews to establish that the subject is being interviewed by, or is speaking with, another person. To create this type of shot, stand behind the interviewer, putting a small amount of his or her head and torso in the shot while keeping your subject the focus. This type of shot can also make your viewer feel as if he or she is the one doing the interviewing.
Close-up: A close-up shot is when a specific part of your subject, typically the face, takes up the majority of the frame. A close-up is used when you want to show the emotions of your subject to your audience or make your audience feel closer to your subject. For instance, if your fire victim is crying because he lost all of his possession in the blaze, you might record a close-up of his face in order to capture the emotion.
Point-of-view shot: A point-of-view shot turns your camera into the eyes of your subject. Going back to our fire scenario, a point-of-view shot may be a shot of the fire, with only your victim's arm in the shot pointing to where his or her apartment on fire. Point-of-view shots are typically used when you want to put your viewers in the position of your subject, allowing them to experience things as your subject would.
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