Camera Angles and Emotion

Creative Commons image by allyaubry at Flickr


  • Explore camera angles and demonstrate emotion
  • Learn to use lenses of  various focal lengths
  • Learn to use lighting techniques that enhance the scene


This section will be edited very soon, maybe by 2020 A.D.

  • 0:00yo Darius video and today we’re getting
    0:03into basic camera angles and shots for
    0:05filmmaking there’s already different
    0:06versions of this kind of thing floating
    0:08around but I thought it would be kind of
    0:09fun to do my version of well I do
    0:10believe about that time I get into a
    0:11class in Section going types of shots
    0:17there are quite a number of different
    0:18shots that we can use to various
    0:20dramatic effects but it really helps to
    0:22know what they are and how to use
    0:24extreme wide shot and extreme wives the
    0:26actors appear small in the landscape or
    0:28the environment these are generally used
    0:30as establishing shots extreme wise don’t
    0:33always have to feature an actor they can
    0:35just establish a location as well
    0:37Lawrence of Arabia is a great example of
    0:40a film that uses an enormous number of
    0:42extreme wise just to give you the
    0:44feeling of scale the lead is literally
    0:47dwarfed by his surroundings making him
    0:49seem weak and insignificant at times
    0:51these types of shots are great for
    0:53certain effects and stunts as well like
    0:55the truck flipped in the dark knight
    0:57they used in extreme wide shot for
    0:59clarity of you
    1:00ych’a take a pull shot wide shots
    1:02establish the relationship between the
    1:04subject and the background we can see
    1:06the actor from head to toe and we also
    1:08get a sense of the geography around them
    1:11we can use shots like this for a number
    1:12of reasons one of which is to
    1:14communicate a sense of loneliness or
    1:18medium-full shot halfway between a full
    1:21shot and a medium shot is a medium full
    1:23shot the frame here usually cuts off
    1:25somewhere between the knees and the
    1:27we’re still wide enough to establish the
    1:29same but we’re able to see a little more
    1:31of the face as well the shot is also
    1:33known as the Cowboys shot because we
    1:34would be able to see the face and the
    1:36holster in the same shot medium shot /
    1:39me Jud congratulations we are now right
    1:41smack in the middle of the range of
    1:42possible shots you frame your actor just
    1:44above the waist for a medium shot this
    1:47framing allow space for the actor to
    1:48interact with other objects or the
    1:50environment if your actors performing
    1:52some sort of task or business in the
    1:54scene where we need to see both his face
    1:56and his hands medium shots are perfect
    1:59for this in documentaries or interviews
    2:01we see a lot of these because we’re
    2:03close enough to the subject to connect
    2:05on an emotional level yet far enough to
    2:08take in some of their surroundings
    2:09medium close-up halfway between a medium
    2:12and a close-up is a medium closer
    2:15the shot is about chest up sometimes
    2:17called a bust shot the emphasis is still
    2:20on the actor’s face closeup closeups are
    2:22pretty much head and shoulders this
    2:23framing place is full attention on the
    2:25face because we’re now close enough to
    2:27see every detail of it sometimes you’ll
    2:29see people frame-up close-ups cutting
    2:31the actor off at the forehead everyone
    2:33has their own framing preferences with
    2:35close-ups the actor’s face dominates the
    2:38shot because it takes up most of the
    2:40field of view but in layman’s terms were
    2:43kind of forced look at the phrase
    2:44because it’s so huge extreme close-up
    2:47friggin right into the nitty-gritty
    2:48extreme detail we either completely fill
    2:52the frame with your actor space cutting
    2:54off at the forehead or we’re
    2:56highlighting particular facial features
    2:58cut in / insert insert shots don’t focus
    3:00on people we use them to emphasize a
    3:03relevant objects in the scene you can
    3:05think of it as we’re punching right and
    3:06on a certain detail cutaway cutaways
    3:09when you’re cutting anything else that
    3:11isn’t in the main scene and easiest that
    3:13will probably be like a phone call where
    3:15you’re cutting away from one character
    3:16in one location to another character in
    3:19another location
    3:20b.o.b / point of view POV shot or a
    3:23point of view shot is exactly that we
    3:24are seeing a shot from someone’s point
    3:26you like we’re seeing through their eyes
    3:29another name for this show
    3:30is the subjective camera this shot is
    3:32great for literally seating us in a
    3:34character’s subjective experience the
    3:37film hardcore Henry is an example of a
    3:39story told using only POV shots OTS
    3:43over-the-shoulder so an
    3:44over-the-shoulder is when you place the
    3:46camera behind the actor and we see both
    3:48the back of the actor and what he or she
    3:50is looking at in the field of you double
    3:53it up we were talking about one person
    3:54but we can frame up different versions
    3:56of the same shots with more than one
    3:58person to shot with a two-shot we frame
    4:00two actors up at the same time usually
    4:03you’ll find the cemetery one framing up
    4:05both actors so that they share the same
    4:06amount of screen space but not always
    4:09two shots can also be full body two
    4:11shots medium two shots close up two
    4:13shots you can frame up a conversation
    4:15between two actors using an
    4:16over-the-shoulder shot we’ve got the
    4:19close-up over-the-shoulder medium over
    4:21the shoulder and full body over the
    4:23shoulder you can do variations of these
    4:24shots with reactors for actors five
    4:26actors 10 actors really like just
    4:28however many actors you can stuff in a
    4:30frame ledges and jobs you can achieve
    4:32any one of these shots with various
    4:34lenses but the lens that you choose will
    4:36have a dramatic effect on both the look
    4:38and the feel of the shot let’s take a
    4:41few different versions of a closer if
    4:42you use a standard 50 millimeter lens
    4:44you get something like this but if
    4:47you’re filming a comedy that you might
    4:48want to move even closer and use a wide
    4:51angle lens facial features get a bit
    4:54more exaggerated giving a comedic effect
    4:56a great example of wide-angle close-ups
    4:59would be over other where art thou by
    5:01the coen brothers all the shots are
    5:03close-ups but they feel dramatically
    5:05different from one another
    5:07what’s really changing in between these
    5:09two shots is perspective the closer you
    5:12get to your actor or your subject the
    5:14more dramatic the perspective becomes
    5:17that cartoonish effect is not there
    5:19because you’re only wide-angle lens that
    5:21cartoonish effect is there because
    5:23you’re really really close to your actor
    5:26in the only way to get that close to
    5:28your actors face with the camera lens
    5:31and still see their entire face is to
    5:34use a wide angle lens because it has the
    5:36really wide field-of-view you’re still
    5:38confused about the whole perspective
    5:39thing here
    5:41example here’s a close-up on a 50
    5:42millimeter lens if we don’t move the
    5:44camera and take another shot on a 16
    5:47millimeter lens it looks something like
    5:48this if I digitally zoom in on the
    5:5116-millimeter shot i can achieve the
    5:54same closer i had with the 50 millimeter
    5:56lens minus some resolution of course but
    5:59the perspective is still the same
    6:01because we are at the same distance from
    6:04the subject in both shots camera angles
    6:07one of the strongest tools we have a
    6:08smell makers is we get to decide where
    6:11we want to position our camera in
    6:13relation to our actors or our subjects
    6:15there is a lot of power in the camera
    6:18angles you choose when shooting a scene
    6:20can dramatically alter the emotional
    6:23impact of the same high level when the
    6:25camera is I level with an actor it’s
    6:27placed at the same height as the subject
    6:29we’re looking at the actor I to eye
    6:31level shots are incredibly common
    6:33because the camera becomes a neutral
    6:36observer in terms of impact and emotion
    6:39they have no dramatic power this is why
    6:42we see news broadcasts at eye-level no
    6:44angle when we place the camera anywhere
    6:46below the actors eye lines we get a
    6:48low-angle shot low angles make
    6:50characters appear more dominant it gives
    6:52the subject a sense of strength and
    6:54power extreme low angle extreme low
    6:56angle is lower than the low remember
    6:59that low on anybody you’re pretty much
    7:01making them look like a certified balls
    7:03tangle with a high-angle shot the camera
    7:08is above the actor looking down shooting
    7:10down on people give the impression that
    7:11they’re submissive week or frightened
    7:14overhead overhead shots are great for
    7:16getting a more objective view of the
    7:18action the characters or seen because
    7:20the shot is kind of really very uncommon
    7:23there’s a certain amount of like
    7:25psychological distancing that happens
    7:27when you take a shot of something from
    7:29overhead how many people experience of
    7:31you like that in their lifetime unless
    7:33you’re like on the top of a building
    7:34looking down on people or something and
    7:36even then it’s not the same thing it’s
    7:37almost a very abstract shot if you think
    7:39about it
    7:40Dutch tilt this is definitely one of the
    7:42more dramatic compositions a Dutch tail
    7:45aka the Canton angle is when you leave
    7:47the camera sideways the image slow
    7:50hopes of it Dutch angles are primarily
    7:52used to disorient the viewer or imply
    7:55some sort of altered state of mind for a
    7:58character moving the camera when we move
    8:00the camera left or right from the same
    8:02spot this is a pan when we tilt the
    8:04camera up or down from the same spot
    8:07this is a tilt a handheld shot is when
    8:10we actually hold the camera by hand or
    8:12using some sort of shoulder rig a
    8:14steadicam shot is much smoother than a
    8:16handheld shot because it’s taken using a
    8:18Steadicam a dolly shot is when you move
    8:20the camera forward or back or left or
    8:22right on a track or a slider
    8:24of course you can zoom in or out on the
    8:26subject using zoom lenses a jabber crane
    8:29shot is a shot taken on a gym or crane
    8:31allowing the camera to move vertically
    8:33while maintaining fluid motion so I went
    8:35on ahead and shot a little scene for you
    8:36guys just for fun I also labeled the
    8:40types of shots just get further
    8:41reinforce some of the things we’ve been
    8:43talking about i’m going to call this
    8:50what’s up there
    10:45you get a 25 cent raise
    10:49thank you
    11:12last thoughts life are the best way to
    11:14learn all this stuff is just grab a
    11:16camera borrow some lenses go out and
    11:18just shoot stuff experiment have fun
    11:21just remember all of these things that
    11:23we talked about here they’re just
    11:25guidelines you can completely transform
    11:27the meaning of any of these shots or
    11:29like take them completely out of context
    11:32for any number of creative reasons or
    11:34narrative purposes and with that
    11:37don’t shoot something to if you’ve got
    11:40some questions about filmmaking or maybe
    11:41you’re looking for some guidance on how
    11:43to get to the next level with where you
    11:45currently are with what you have you can
    11:46schedule a one-on-one chat with me
    11:48session I will leave a link in the
    11:50description section if you enjoyed what
    11:52you saw please like or subscribe you can
    11:53also find me on the social media
    11:54Facebook Instagram snapchat or baby you
    11:56can also check out my 2nd you two
    11:58counters great weblog about my pictures
    11:59on the film festival circuit my first
    12:00feature-length film myself getting lost
    12:02is settled you believe that’s all I got
    12:03for you so much deeper w


  • Blog post with embedded video from YouTube


  • To be placed later


  • Watch Bryan Adams Summer of 69 music video for edits and camera angles
  • Watch Camera Angles and Shots for Filmmaking
  • Watch tutorials and take notes on camera angles and emotion
    • Camera movement creates different emotion
    • Camera moves correspond with adding, detracting, or emphasizing an emotion
  • Explore lens focal length
  • Review Camera Angles, Movement, Positions Worksheet (PDF)
  • Brainwrite ideas on paper
  • Brainstorm the brainwritten ideas on paper in storyboard layout
    • Set an overall feeling for the whole production
      • For example; is it a story about loss, being alone, boredom in class, joy of a great discovery, satisfaction of winning, relief of not getting caught, etc.
    • Have at least 6 different camera angles with the emotion in your film
    • Every shot or scene needs to have an angle description and emotion associated with it written in the cell
      • I recommend the bottom
    • Be careful, be thorough
    • Have fun!
  • Write the script and storyboard
  • Pitch storyboard to class / teacher
  • Plan your filming schedule
    • Who’s doing what when?
  • Practice with lighting equipment and lenses
  • Film
  • Edit
  • Upload video to your YouTube account
  • Embed your video in a blog post titled, Camera Angles and Emotion
  • Comment on the video indicating the camera angles / shots and emotions you were trying to envoke


  • Canon Digital Rebel SLR camera
  • Various focal length lens: 50mm, wide angle, and telephoto lenses
  • Reflector
  • Light box
  • Diffuser
  • Lighting equipment
  • iMovie
  • YouTube


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