Dreaming of becoming an actor or a filmmaker? For actors, it’s not enough you can cry on cue, you also need to have a specific set of skills and a lot of knowledge about film techniques to help you master your craft. Meanwhile, as a filmmaker, knowing the basics of your camera shots and angles is important since these will help communicate your story to your audience.
If you’re a seasoned pro, you probably already have a good grasp of these camera angles and how to use them. But if you’re just starting out in the industry, it’s best to master these and put them to practice as you work on your projects.
The Close Up
Considered an actor’s most important camera moment, the close-up shot is usually taken from above the shoulders and focuses on the actor’s face in full frame. It is great for capturing and showing every little nuance of expression on the actor’s face. In turn, this allows the viewer to just focus on the face and blur out everything else. This also highlights the actor’s ability to communicate the audience. If you’re an actor and want to nail just one camera angle, make it this one.
For filmmakers, the close up shot should be used in key moments only. Like with anything, don’t overdo one type of shot or camera angle in your video production, otherwise, you’ll just lose your audience.
The Medium Shot
This is typically a shot composed of the actor’s waist and up. Oftentimes, it’s used when showing dialogue between characters. It’s also great for delivering a story since it can allow for the body language to communicate together with the actor’s facial expression.
The Wide or Long Shot
Perfect for establishing the setting or the space where the story is happening, the wide or long shot often shows off the actors from head to foot. This shot also give you the background and the setting of the scene, which helps provide information on the character’s relationship towards his surroundings.
The Dolly Zoom
Probably one of the most iconic and easily spotted type of shot in a film, the dolly zoom is a shot using a camera track. This works by having the camera move towards the actor while at the same time zooming out. It can also be used vice versa. This was first created and used by Alfred Hitchcock. Be warned though, as an actor, this is a tough shot to nail right so you need to be at your best and have a little patience while you’re filming.
The Master Shot
Sometimes confused with the establishing shot, where the shot mostly focuses on setting, the Master Shot, even though it provides context in terms of setting and location, also captures all of the actors in the scene at one time. By showing the actors in one scene, it helps provide context to the story and how it’s unfolding. Directors usually insert medium or close-up shots in between this shot to help keep it interesting.
Learning the importance of these shots as an actor, film or video creator or even as an editor is crucial. As an actor, it’s not only important to master these shots but also learn to use them to their full advantage since it can easily boost the acting resume.
For filmmakers, whether you’re just starting out or have your own video film company, these basic camera angles can help tell your story. Use them wisely and use them at the right moments to make sure you engage your audience as your story unfolds.