Building a catalog of cinematic shots as a filmmaker is super important, allowing you to piece together effective, immersive shots to aid your storytelling whilst engaging and astounding your audience. Mastering the most impactful shot types during a shoot will help raise your production value, give your projects more impact and help you level up as a beginner cinematographer, filmmaker or video maker. Let’s jump in!
Top 10 Cinematic Shots For Beginners
Without further ado, here are our top 10 cinematic shots for beginner cinematographers and filmmakers to master in your work!
1. Zoom Shot
Let’s kick off with one we’ve all heard of – Zoom Shots! These shots have developed over time, becoming slower, smoother and more natural. Zoom shots increase the focus in scenes – whether that’s on a character, object, and so on.
2. Birds Eye Shot
Birds Eye Shots involve showing a large scale from a much higher angle, as if looking down upon a scene. This type of shot is so high that land, roads, buildings and so on begin to create abstract lines and shapes. Birds eye shots are great for establishing shots, introductions and transitions.
3. Dutch Angle Shot
The Dutch Angle Shot (seen above), involved rotating the camera to either side until verticals are tilted, and the horizon is no longer parallel with the bottom of the frame. Great for narrative filmmaking and effective at translating disorientation, confusion or uneasiness, this shot portrays character’s unstable emotions a lot in modern day filmmaking.
4. Long, Medium, Close Up & Extreme Close Up Shots
Long Shots (also known as full or wide shots) toe the line between getting a closer shot of an area to show what’s going on, and not being close enough to be emotionally involved in the scene. Long shots usually have full bodies in view, making audiences feel like bystanders. For a little more intimacy, try moving in a little closer to achieve a Medium Long Shot, showing subjects from the knees up.
Medium Shots provide an informative edge, and typically features subjects from the waist up. These shots are great for documentaries, interviews, group scenes and dialogues. Moving in a little closer, you can also utilize a Medium Close Up shot to inject some emotion to the scene.
Close Up Shots feature the head, neck and chin to zone in on a character’s emotions. Extreme Close Up Shots are used sparingly, as they dial up the intensity even further. This can be on a character’s eyes or hands, the ticking hands of a clock and so on.
5. Tilt Shot
Tilt Shots are simple to achieve, but can turn into elegant and effective cinematic shots by carefully co-ordinate the upward or downward camera movement with the scene’s action. This type of shot can also be used as an establishing shot of a wide-angle view, or for a slow reveal at the end of a shot.
6. Panning Shot
Panning Shots are well-recognized and often used, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective. The horizontal equivalent of a tilt shot, panning shots can show surroundings, navigating past or through action and more. The key to a great panning shot is keeping the panning smooth and accurate with a gimbal stabilizer, for example. After all – you don’t want to distract viewers from the story, and should keep it natural!
7. Crane Shot
Crane Shots capture vertical motion by moving the camera up or down by a couple of feet. In modern day filmmaking, they can be achieved with drones or a Jib (as seen above) rather than expensive cranes. A nice add-on shot to your work, crane shots add a little production value to your work if you have a drone or Jib ready to go!
8. Tracking Shot
Tracking Shots are a staple in filmmaking, and an important technique to master.
The crucial tool for tracking shots is a dolly (a wheeled cart that moves along a track), or you can use a Steadicam, other motion control gear, or even a drone with tracking flight mode. With a dolly track, you can make smooth, natural-looking movements whilst following your subject, adding dynamics to a static camera shot.
9. Over The Shoulder Shot
Over The Shoulder shots are exactly as they sound! They show an out-of-focus shoulder and head in the foreground whilst whatever object or person in the background is in focus. Perfect for narrative filmmaking, this shot adds depth and helps conversational scenes look more authentic and immersive.
10. POV Shot
Point-of-view (POV) shots, also known as first-person shots can be extremely effective if used correctly. Your camera can be steady or moving along the axis, as long as it shows where viewers should look. POV shots take the audience into the movie, and can be created by fitting your subject with a camera mount (think of GoPro footage!)
Not the most aesthetically pleasing, these shots should be used sparingly for immersive, engaging moments.
Cinematic Shots: Final Thoughts & How Audiosocket Can Help
We hope you enjoyed our cinematic shots for beginners, and found some helpful takeaways to get working on. If you found this article helpful, we think you’ll love our articles on Camera Filters, Nikon NX Studio, Buying Used Cameras & Lenses, Shooting Slow Motion For Beginners, Travel Vlogging Equipment & Green Screen Lighting Tips!
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