Video quality largely depends upon how well the videographer executes camera shots. Likewise, good visual storytelling requires varying shots in a single piece to keep the viewer’s attention and create a dynamic presentation. Regardless whether you intend to become a professional videographer or specialize in another area of storytelling, you should be conversant in different shot techniques, as well as understand how to implement them in a story package.
Wide shots (WS) bring the subject into full frame so the visual emphasis is no longer on the surroundings. However, the shot still includes enough of the scene that the viewer gets a sense of the visual context for the story. Wide shots are also referred to as long shots.
Mid shots (MS) zoom in even closer on the subject, drawing more attention to a particular area, such as a person’s face. However, a bit of the scene is still visible in the frame.
Medium close up shots (MCU) are a little closer than mid shots, causing the surroundings to become less obvious. Th e focus is clearly on the subject’s features and expressions.
Close up shots frame the subject from head to shoulder. Close ups are oft en the best way to focus on human emotion by offering tight shots on faces, expressions, or body language.
Extreme close up shots (ECU) of a person could easily fill the frame, showing the greatest degree of detail.
Cut in shots (CU) are close ups or extreme close ups that show other parts of a subject. These can be used in concert with close ups of the face to combine expressions with body language. Th is method can help viewers connect with the subject and story.
Cutaway shots (CA) are comprised of supplemental footage, or b-roll. Cutaways can be used as transitions between shots or to add information not offered by shots of the main subject or scene.
Point of view shots (POV) show a scene from the subject’s perspective. These help place the viewer in the subject’s shoes and provide a personal perspective.
Videos contributed by Ryan J. Sparrow