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Indie Birds – Cinematography Lesson One: Angles

Cinematography lesson

Nathan Grebe

● Extreme wide shot:
Shows a broad view of the surroundings surrounding the character and informs the audience on what is going on. Often used as an opening shot to a new scene.
● Wide shot:
Shows the character from head to toe.
● Medium wide shot:
Shows the character, usually cut off below the knees. Wide enough to show the settings around him/her and still close enough to show the expressions on their face.
● Medium shot:
Showing upper body, arms, and head.
● Close up:
Face and shoulders, and shows the expression on the characters face very well.
● Extreme close up:
Only part of a characters face. Fills up the entire frame with details.

● High angle:
Camera placed above eye level, looking downward. Often used to make the character seem small, weak, young, or confused.
● Medium Angle:
Most commonly used.
● Low angle:
Used to make the character seem bigger, stronger, more frightening, or more noble.
● Over the shoulder:
Close up of the character shown over the shoulder of the other character.
● Two shot:
Both characters are shown in the frame.

Camera movements.
● Pan:
Camera rotates side to side, while remaining in the same location. Simply executed with a tripod.
● Tilt:
Camera is moved to aim upwards or downwards without changing location. Also done with a tripod.
● Zoom:
Basically moving the lens with out moving the camera around. I wouldn’t recommend using this feature with a DSLR camera simply because it causes a fair amount of shakiness to your video and will take the audience out of the scene. There are always exceptions though, if the effect you desire needs a zoom, then use the zoom. If you have a prime/fixed lens, you use your feet as a zoom.
● Dolly:
Camera moves side to side. This movement can be used to reveal something in a scene.

source Indie Birds

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