Seven Types of Camera Shots

Let’s go over the names for each type of shot, going from wide to tight:

Photo by Craig Grobler

  1. Establishing shot: A wide shot that shows the environment.
  2. Master: A shot that holds all the actors in the frame; usually shot first, it creates a template for the scene because in every shot after the master, all the actors will match (repeat) their movement and actions.
  3. Mini-master: A smaller grouping of actors within the same scene from the same camera position as the master; a reverse mini-master is shot from the opposite side of the set.
  4. 50/50: Two actors face each other in the scene; this can be wide to show full figures, or tighter to cut them (hold the frame) at the waist.
  5. Two-shot: Two people are in the frame.
  6. Over-the-shoulders (OS): The camera looks over the shoulder of one actor toward the other actor; when the camera looks in the opposite direction, it is a reverse angle.
  7. Close-up (CU): A tight shot of the actor, clean, that is, with no one else in the frame; this can be in varying sizes, from a cowboy (bottom of frame is where the bottom of the holster would be, mid-thigh) to waist, to two-t, to a choker (bottom of frame is the neck) to extreme (the frame can hold only a part of the face). A close-up can also be called a single; if the camera pans (goes sideways) from one character in close-up to the next, it’s called a swingle. In the figure below, we have diagrammed where the camera frames these shots.

Excerpted from Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing by Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli © 2011 Elsevier, Inc.  All rights Reserved.

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1 Comment
   Rajib mahali said on May 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm


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