A Guide to Framing: 6 Essential Camera Angles to Tell Your Story

Camera angles in filmmaking are key to telling a story. It’s an integral part of filmmaking and having the correct shot lists is imperative to conveying your story with emotion and perspective.

Here we will explain the basics of framing and the camera angles you will need to use to tell your story in a compelling manner.

What Exactly is a Camera Angle?

According to Wikipedia, The camera angle marks the specific location at which the movie camera or video camera is placed to take a shot.

From a filmmakers perspective, camera angles help tell the story in a particular manner and helps create emotion by using a specific vantage point of the scene.

For example, think of horror films and how they use Over The Shoulder Shots (explained below) when being chased in the woods. This is to give the audience a sense of what it would be like being the character being chased within the woods.

Alright, let’s get into the camera angles!

6 Common Types of Camera Angles (Shot Framing)

  1. Close up
  2. Extreme close up
  3. Wide-angle shot
  4. Medium shot
  5. Over the shoulder shot
  6. Point of view shot

1. Close up

Close-ups are used to bring an emotional response or connection from your audience. The idea of the close up is to show the emotional energy in the shot, most commonly used to portray the characters emotional reaction in the scene.

One Word Summary: Emotion

2. Extreme Close Up

In an extreme close up the smaller objects are given an extreme close up to show importance. This can create an atmosphere around the object, whether it’s a weapon on show, an injury or an object of importance – the extreme close up brings out how integral this object is to the storyline.

One Word Summary: Importance

3. Wide-Angle Shot

Camera Angles - Wide angle establishing shot

This shot is used to establish where your characters are to the audience – it’s most commonly known to show the location to the audience. Although some filmmakers use it to show the characters insignificance, so a wide shot appears to show that the character is small or insignificant to their surroundings – it takes the power away from the character.

One Word Summary: Establishing

4. Medium Shot

Camera Angles - Setting up for a mid shot

The medium shot is usually taken from the waist upwards. It emphasises the character more but still gives the audience enough room to see their surroundings. These shots are usually used for interviews as well.

One Word Summary: Overview

5. Over The Shoulder Shot (OTS)

This is extremely common in conversational scenes as it portrays the perspective to the audience perfectly. You’ll see it in scenes varying from counselling sessions to the bride’s father giving the main character an absolute grilling before the big day. This shot connects the audience in an emotional way and will get a similar effect using the OTH (Over the hip) shot.

One Word Summary: Perspective

6. Point of View Shot (POV)

A point of view shot is the shot that shows the audience exactly what the characters seeing. This is used effectively in the comedy series Peep Show. You will find this is usually used secondary to the initial shot, usually, the character has picked up an item of some sort then it’s switched to their point of view.

One Word Summary: Interactive

The framing of your shots is an important component to your storytelling and can complement the pre and post production of your film.


In Summary

Let’s wrap up with a summary of what we have just learned.

What are the 6 camera angles?

Close Up, Extreme Close Up, Wide-Angle Shot, Medium Shot, Over The Shoulder Shot & Point of View Shot

If you are able to master all 6 camera angles, then you will be able to tell a beautiful story that (by using the angles) will engage your audience.

Photo of author

Jay Neill

Jay Neill is the founder, owner, and managing editor of iFilmThings and believes everyone should have access to the film resources they need to plan their filmmaking project, which is why he’s dedicated iFilmThings to helping all filmmakers.

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