• Definitions 

     Cinematic Techniques Definitions

    Shot: A single piece of film, uninterrupted by cuts.

    Establishing Shot: Often a long shot or a series of shots that sets the scene.

     This is used to establish setting and to show transitions between locations. 
     Long Shot (LS): A shot from some distance (also called a full shot). A long shot of a person shows the full body. 

    It may suggest the isolation or vulnerability of a character.

     Medium Shot (MS): The most common shot. The camera seems to be a medium distance from the object being filmed. A medium shot shows a person from the waist up.

    The effect is to ground the story.

    Close-up Shot (CU): The image being shot takes up at least 80% of the frame.
    Extreme Close-up Shot (ECU): The image being shot is part of the whole, such as an eye or a hand.
     Two Shot: A scene between two people shot exclusively from an angle that includes both characters more or less equally, it is used in scenes where interaction between the two characters is important.  

    Eye Level: A shot taken from a normal height – that is, at the character’s eye level.


    Ninety to ninety-five percent of the shots seen are eye level because it is the most natural angle.


    High Angle: The camera is above the subject.

    This angle usually has the effect of making the subject look smaller than normal, giving the character the appearance of being weak, powerless, and/or trapped.   
     Low Angle: The camera films the subject from below.

    This angle usually has the effect of making the subject look larger than normal, and thus strong, powerful, and/or threatening.

    High Key: The scene is flooded with light.  

    This creates a bright and open-looking scene.

    Low Key: The scene is flooded with shadows and darkness. This creates suspense or suspicion.
     Bottom or Side Lighting: Direct lighting comes from below or the side.

    Often, this makes the subject appear dangerous or evil.


    Front or Back Lighting: Soft lighting on an actor’s face or from behind.pasting

    Gives the appearance of innocence or goodness – a halo effect.

     Pan: A stationary camera moves from side to side on a horizontal axis.

    Tilt: A stationary camera moves up or down along a vertical axis.   

     Zoom: A stationary camera in which the lens moves to make an object seem to move closer to our further away from the camera. With this technique, moving into a character is often a personal or revealing moment, while moving away distances or separates the audience from the character. 
    Dolly Tracking: The camera is on a track that allows it to move with the action. The term also refers to any camera mounted on a car, truck, or helicopter.  

    Boom/Crane: The camera is on a crane over the action. This position is used to create overhead shots.

     Diegetic: This type of sound could logically be heard by the characters in the film.
    Non-diegetic:  This type of sound cannot be heard by the characters.  

    It is designed for an audience reaction only. An example might be ominous music to foreshadow an event.

     Cut: The most common editing technique; two pieces of film are spliced together to “cut” to another image. 
    Fade: A gradual change in the light to move from one scene to another. A fade can begin in darkness and gradually assume full brightness (fade in) or the image may gradually get darker (fade out). A fade often implies that time has passed, or it may signify the end of a scene. 
    Dissolve: A type of fade in which one image is slowly replaced by another. 

    It can create a connection between images.

    Wipe:  A new image wipes off the previous image.  

    A wipe is more fluid than a cut and quicker than a dissolve.

    Flashback: A cut or dissolve to an action that happened in the past.  
    Shot-Reverse Shot:  A shot of one subject, then another, and then back to the first.  This technique is often used for conversation or reaction shots. 
    Cross Cutting: A cut into action that is happening simultaneously. This technique is also called parallel editing. 
    It can create tension or suspense and can form a connection between scenes.  

    Eye-Line Match: A cut from an object to a person.pasting

    This technique shows what a person seems to be looking at and can help reveal a character’s thoughts.