April 19, 2022

Achieve Better Shots With These 8 Cinematography Techniques

Visual storytelling is an art form made possible through cinematography. Cinematography involves more than just skilful operation of the camera and proper lighting setup for each scene; it also entails having full control over what audiences see and how everything is presented to them by picking the shooting techniques that best tell a given story.

Of course, cinematography takes years of study and experience to get a good grasp of, hence why it is always best to rely on the experts of a film production company when crafting video content for your brand. However, as it is a collaborative effort, that means you would also need to give your input to get the conversation going. Thus, here are 8 basic cinematography techniques and how they affect a scene to make your shots come together and form a clear, beautiful, and cohesive narrative.

1. Long shot

Also known as the full or wide shot, this technique gets significantly closer to an area that allows audiences to get a better view of the scene, but not close enough to get emotionally involved. Subjects are generally closer to the camera yet distant enough to have their whole bodies in full view.

The long shot can make viewers feel as if they are casual bystanders, such as when the leading actors are walking down the street hand in hand. Moving in just a bit closer will transition into a medium long shot, wherein subjects are shown from the knees up. This adds a bit more intimacy and lets you focus better on a group of two to three people simultaneously.

2. Extreme long shot

The extreme long shot helps capture a vast area and establishes the scale of subjects in relation to their surroundings. It is generally used to demonstrate a shift from one big area to another, like those seen in many movies these days.

3. Bird's eye shot

Like the extreme long shot, this technique aims to show a massive scale but at a more elevated angle wherein the land below starts to show abstract lines and shapes out of buildings, roads, and trees.

4. Medium shot

The medium shot lets viewers move closer to the scene but in a more informative manner instead of being emotional. The frame will generally feature subjects from the waist up and is often used for general group scenes like interviews or when there is dialogue.

5. Close up shot

In a close up shot, the frame will focus solely on the head, up to the chin or neck. Getting this up close and personal increases viewer engagement with the subject’s emotions, creating more impact from their facial expressions as the background takes a step back from the frame.

6. Extreme close up shot

This technique is only used sparingly for moments when there is a need to increase the scene’s emotional intensity. A common way to do this is by zooming into the character’s face, focusing on their eyes or even their hands. This also works for objects, such as brush strokes or the ticking hands of a clock. What this shot lacks in context it makes up for by adding intimacy, drama or setting a particular mood.

7. Dutch angle shot

Executing the Dutch angle shot simply involves rotating the camera to either side until the verticals, such as buildings and people, become tilted and the bottom of the frame is no longer parallel with the horizon line. In narrative filmmaking, this technique is only used sparingly and for certain scenes, such as when there is a need to portray the subject’s disorientation or uneasiness, the instability of their mental or emotional state, or express an unsettling feeling to a scene.

8. Over the shoulder shot

As its name implies, this shot focuses on a particular subject in the background while another subject, typically a person, is shown with just their out-of-focus head and shoulder in the foreground. This shot is one of the fundamental cinematography techniques that give a shot much-needed depth while also making conversational scenes appear natural to the viewers.


Creating impactful and engaging films involves many things to come together and choosing the right cinematography shot is one of them. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you can now communicate better with the video production agency of your choice in crafting the ideal video for your project.

Here at Emergent Films, we are driven by our passion for creating outstanding and effective corporate videos that allow brands to express their stories in unique and captivating ways. We strive to go above and beyond with each project and will guide you throughout the entire process until the final cut is in your hands.

Drop us a message and let’s create something remarkable together.

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