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Camera shots

Camera shots are the building blocks of film. Read all about them and how to use them with students in this article.
Child in classroom filling in camera shots worksheet
© Into Film

Shots are the building blocks of film, and shot selection has a significant impact on the way a viewer interprets the action on screen. It’s important that we choose the right shot to communicate our film effectively.

For example, our Arabesque Demo example was filmed using a wide shot to enable the whole body to be seen and the dance move to be viewed effectively. In contrast, our War Horse English literature example used a mid shot so we could focus on the question posed by the pupil.

Next week we will begin using a range of shots within multi-shot films, and we’ll also examine how knowledge of shots can be a fantastic tool in the development of literacy skills (Step 2.19). But for now, select a single shot that will best suit the type of film you would like to create.

Before we move on, it’s important for us to understand and be able to name different shots and what each may be used for. Take a look and try to memorise their names.

Extreme close up

Extreme close up image is where an object, item or body part fills the frame and is used for heightening emotion

Close up

Close up shot image shows a character's full head and shoulders and is used for capturing facial expressions

Mid shot

Mid shot image shows a character from the waist to the top of the head and is used for showing facial expressions and body language

Medium long shot

Medium long shot shows the body from the mid thigh to the top of the head and is used for showing facial expressions and the character in relation to their surroundings

Long shot

Long shot image shows the full body from head to toe and is used to show a character in relation to their surroundings

Extreme long/Wide shot

Extreme long or wide shot image shows the full body in relation to their surroundings and is used to contextualise a character within their setting. Often called an establishing shot when used at the start of a film or scene

The next step is designed to test your knowledge of what you’ve learned.

The images on this page are also available to download in the Shot sizes worksheet below.

© Into Film
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Filmmaking and Animation Online and in the Classroom

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