Camera Techniques

In this lesson we walked around the college with cameras to record and experimented with different types of angles which could be useful to us when we set out to film our documentaries.

Aerial Shot

The aerial shot is when the camera films its subject from above, usually from a helicopter or on top of a building. We used this shot when we taken a photograph from the second floor of the rotunda down towards the café.

Example of a bird eye view

Arc Shot

The arc shot is created when the photographer/cameraman moves around it’s subject in a semi circle motion. This is used to show the subject at various angles and points of view.

Bridging Shot

This shows an exterior shot of a building or location to show where filming is taking place. It is also used between shots to show a passing of time – For example, in Indiana Jones movies it regularly shows a map with a dotted line connecting from one place to another as he travels around the world.

Close Up Shot

This is one of the more commonly used camera shots when the cameraman zooms in or gets closer to the subject to make it the primary focus and/or bring more detail to it. For example, it is common for the camera to do a close up of someone’s face during a conversation to show and emphasise the emotion on the face.

Medium Shot

Medium shots usually get two people into the shot with the shoulders and face on show in order to illustrate the, conversation, relationship of the two and/or see how the different people react to a situation. An example of a medium shot we took was when me and Ben were sat in the airplane in the Travel and Tourism department.

Long Shot

A long shot, also known as a wide shot or a full shot, shows the main subject in its entirety within it’s surrounding environment and how it relates to that. It is used to set the scene and are prevalent in war or disaster movies. For this shot we got Ben to stand far away on the slope which connects Costa and the Rotunda and took a photo of that.

Cowboy Shot

The Cowboy shot is when the camera is aimed from the subject’s mid-thigh area, where the Cowboy’s gun holster will be worn in Western era films. For this shot I took a photo of Ashleigh’s purse as she waited to buy a coffee at Costa.

Deep Focus

This is when the background of a shot is kept in full focus, said to have been popularised by Orson Welles and his cinematographer Gregg Toland.

Dolly Zoom

This is an effect to illustrate a feeling on unreality made by the camera moving towards or away (dollying) from the subject while simultaneously zooming out or in.

Dutch Tilt

This shot is when the camera is tilted at an angle as to create psychological uneasiness.

Establishing Shot

This is used, usually at the beginning of a film and/or scenes which let the viewer know where it is taking place. We took a photograph at the sign which lets you know that you are in the art and media section of the college.

Handheld Shot

This shot is where the person operating the camera will use a simple handheld camera which makes the footage capture appear somewhat shaky. It is particularly effective in horrors or thrillers, especially if it from the perspective of someone running away.

Low Angle Shot

The low angle shot is used to make the subject’s look more dominating, heroic and/or bigger from the perspective of another person.

High Angle Shot

This is pretty much the opposite of the last shot and will make the subject look smaller, vulnerable and powerless.

Locked Down Shot

This shot is used when the camera is focused on a particular subject, could be a door for example, while something happens off screen, a death for example. It is used to create suspense.

Library Shot

Library shots are clips which have been found from elsewhere and put into a film, for example, a documentary on a sports star will usually have clips from his playing days which would have come from elsewhere – This is a library shot.

Money Shot

The only shot Michael Bay has heard of. It is usually the most expensive shot of a movie and is when something happens which wows or grabs attention. In the case of the named director, explosions are pretty popular.

Over The Shoulder Shot

This shot is usually used while filming a conversation between two people, other that shoulder of one of them. It illustrates a connection between the two rather than distance.

Pan Shot

This is when the camera is continuously moved either left or right, and is used mostly to capture motion.

POV Shot

The POV, meaning point of view, shot is when it shows you what the character is looking at, usually following or followed by a shot of the character’s reaction. It allows the audience to look and see the story unfolding through the character’s eyes.

The Sequence Shot

The sequence shot is when the scene is filmed within one continuous shot without editing.


Like the pan shot, but instead of moving left and right, the camera will be moved up and down.

Top Shot

The Top Shot, also known as a Birds Eye View shot, is when the camera is looking directly down rather than on an angle.

Tracking Shot

A shot where the subject is followed, either from behind, from it’s side or in front of.

Two Shot

A show which shows two characters together, helping to establish connections between the two.


The zoom is used to give the impression the camera has been moved closer or further away from the subject, but without moving.

Crane Shot

When the camera is placed on a crane and lifted up or down.



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