By: Wanangwe Josephine 23rd January 2015
Cinema is a visual medium and thus it should communicate or tell a story to its audience through the use of sound, lighting, editing, and the camera together to create an illusion of reality. These are the elements that a video editor uses to realize the filmmakers dream from script to screen. Shots are an important part of camerawork that are used to send messages to the audience. For example when a filmmaker wants to create tension in a scene he or she must know the exact type of shot to achieve this. A shot of a person planning to set a bomb in a building would for instance require the film maker to use a close up or better still an extreme close up to show the tense feeling in the characters’ eye. Using a long shot in this scene will not clearly bring out the message since the long shot does not reveal details or emotions. Any motion picture is made up of basic elements of a sequence referred to as the shots. This paper illustrates how various shots are used in film making to form a sequence and to convey different messages.
Extreme long shot
It is usually referred to as an establishing shot. This is because it orients the viewer to the location. It is an opening shot that is used to tell the viewer the exterior environment that the film is taking place. It therefore describes the location of the scene that could be the outside buildings, a geographical landscape of a town or city among other locations. It normally reveals landscapes. Usually a viewer cannot clearly see a specific object in this kind of shot though he or she sees the environment. It answers the question ‘Where’. The extreme long shot can also be used to set the atmosphere of the scene. An extreme shot of an arid land with wind and dust blowing up into the air can tell the audience that the place is a dry atmosphere probably a desert scene. The shot can also be used to show a broad range of action. For example a battle
of soldiers fighting each other can be captured using this shot so that no action is missed. Every action and element on set is to be seen since each mis –en- scene tells a story. The actors on field fighting create suspense, the color on set could be used to relate the environment with a familiar one in the viewers’ mind, the props could be used to effect the mood and so every misen-scene is captured using the extreme long shot. It is also known as the wide shot.
Long Shot (LS)
It is usually taken with a wide-angle lens and at times referred to as the full shot. If the subject is a human being the shot usually display from head to toe without revealing much of the surroundings. This kind of shot usually establishes a relationship between the subject and its environment. In most cases it answers the question ‘Who’ because it reveals the subject to the viewer. The shot identifies the character in the story. It is used to create an illusion of reality in the audiences’ mind. It depicts an image in a manner that will occur in real life. Take for instance when in real life a visitor walks in an office. The human eye just like the lens of the camera will first tale a wide look of the entire office, before looking at Mr. X seated in the office chair then lastly the eye will start looking at small details such as the pen on the desk, files on the shelves and other tiny details. A long shot may at times be used to demean the subject because the subject appears smaller than the surrounding. Generally it sets in motion the audience's perception of time, place and logical action of the scene that is about to take place.
Medium Shot (MS)
A medium shot is usually used in conversations to establish the relationship between characters on stage. The shot does not demean the subject on the contrary it places the audience on equal footing with the subject. It therefore answers the question ‘what’ because it shows the...
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