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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.

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

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

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

Wide-angle shot

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

Medium shot

Setting up for a mid shotThe 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

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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

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.

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