Cinematography 1: Camera Shots and the Rule of Thirds

Camera Shots:

Wide Shot:

A Wide shot is a shot taken from in front of the subject, which shows a large width of the image. This is the most basic sort of shot. The wide shot is not very interesting, but is useful, particularly for establishing shots.

Long Shot/Medium Shot:

The long shot is a shot where the subject’s entire body is visible. A Medium shot generally involves everything from the waist up. These shots are useful for showing whole body actions, and the wider scene. The medium shot is closer in, but still is useful for upper body actions.

Close Up:

A close up is where only the interesting aspect of the subject is visible on screen. They are used for smaller actions of significance, or to show the actors face when they are emoting.


Storyboards are made with any manner of images that resemble the final product. They are used for planning a shot, allowing the user to visualize the scene before the cameras roll. The positions of the cameras can be planned out. The storyboard can be made with any image, including live action images.

Rule of Thirds:

The rule of thirds is used to make the film more interesting. Any important objects or clear lines, such as a horizon, should be in one of the upper or lower thirds of the screen. This makes the imagery feel more interesting to the audience, and also works with vertical objects. If possible, position all important objects in one third of the screen.

These concepts are universal to all visual media, not exclusively film making. This makes them useful to anybody studying this course; they can be used to add interest to anything from artwork to video games.


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