Capturing the Right Shot: Tips on Cinematography

- culture

One of the most important features of making a movie is how it is filmed.

Cinematography plays critical role in how well a movie is received. It’s crucial to get the right shot at the right time. Luckily for the amateur videographer, here are several film techniques that can change the look of a movie:

Over the Shoulder:
These shots are just that: over the shoulder, with the shoulder being in the foreground and out of focus. It is important to play with how much shoulder is in the shot to create a sense of intimacy and really draw the viewer in. This type of shot is used often when the character, whose shoulder is being overlooked, is reading an important document. This lets the viewer in to see what the paper says.

Tilt Shots:
A tilt shot is an up or down tilt of the camera, used most often on a character to assess what they’re wearing. The tilt can also help track action fluidly and smoothly through the shot. When a camera pans up on an attractive woman, the cameraman is using a tilt shot.

Panning Shots:
Panning shots are horizontal, unlike the vertical tilt shots. These shots can help follow action and people. They can also be used to show off the scenery and let the viewer see what’s around them. Panning Shots often follow the natural eye movement of the viewer. If action can be heard from the right, the viewer will start to look right. Panning also forces the viewer to look in the direction of the pan.

Zoom Shots:
Zoom shots need to be done carefully. If they’re not smooth, they don’t look right. These shots can add dramatic effects. Zooming in slowly and smoothly on a face can make the character look creepy. Zooming out quickly allows for the action around the character to be shown right away, while zooming out slowly gives an almost sad feeling as the character is being left alone and far away. The speed of the zoom can have a positive or negative affect on the shot or the emotion being conveyed.

Tracking Shots.
Sideways tracking shots are most commonly seen when following a character around a room. The camera continuously moves sideways and may change direction if a new character is introduced or a new object enters the foreground. These shots are usually long takes and really add to the viewer’s feeling of actually being in the movie.

Lastly, the most important thing to remember when creating a movie is that anything and everything is possible. Try out different techniques and find out what method works best for the shot. Moviemaking is a form of storytelling; it takes time, but, when told well, can last a lifetime.

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