The Power of Cinematic Techniques

What is a Film Up Shot?

A film up shot frames a subject in close proximity, emphasizing details like emotional clues in the eyes. It can be used to increase tension or create a sense of intimacy in the audience.

An extreme close-up is an even tighter shot, framing only a specific feature of the subject, such as their eyes or mouth.

Camera Position

The head/face of a subject occupies the majority of the frame in close up shots. These shots draw the audience into your film’s emotional climaxes by allowing them to experience your characters’ reactions up close. The smallest details, such as a furrowed brow or tear-filled gaze, create a connection between the viewer and the character and communicate the depth of your story’s emotion.

A shoulder-level shot is a camera angle that places the subject’s head below eye level, often in the form of a head & shoulders shot. This type of shot can make the subject seem shorter than they are and may produce a feeling of claustrophobia in the audience. It can also be used to create a feeling of power or danger by making the subject appear larger than life. This effect is enhanced when the camera is positioned low on the ground, which is known as a low angle shot. A low-angle shot can also have the opposite effect by making a powerful or heroic subject seem vulnerable, or by creating a sense of disorientation when used in combination with a dutch angle/tilt.

Camera Angle

The camera angle is the positioning of your camera within a scene, and it can have an impact on how the audience reacts to a story. For example, different camera angles can be used to evoke different emotions, such as fear, anger, and sadness.

For example, a low angle shot can make your subject seem menacing by giving them dominance over their surroundings. This camera angle is widely used by film-makers to introduce their antagonists or protagonists. In Joker, for instance, Todd Phillips uses a series of low angle shots to establish Arthur Fleck as the antihero.

Another popular camera angle is a shoulder level shot, which frames your subject by peeking over their shoulders. These can help you create a sense of connection with your audience, but it’s important to note that this camera angle can also make your characters look shorter than they are. Also, if you use this camera angle in a wider shot, it can cause your subject to feel lost in their environment.

Camera Movement

Camera movement is a powerful filmmaking technique used to change the relationship between your subject and the camera frame. It can help create a dynamic story that draws in your audience and sets you apart from other directors.

A pan movement moves your camera horizontally, usually from left to right. A tilt movement, on the other hand, moves your camera vertically, usually upwards or downwards, but still keeps its base fixed on a specific point.

An extreme close-up takes the close up to its most intense form, focusing on a small section of your subject like their eyes or another part of their face. It can also emphasize a particular reaction or emotion. Combine a close up shot with other varying shot sizes and camera movements to enhance its impact on your audience. Check out our stock footage library to find high-quality 4K and HD clips that incorporate these filmmaking techniques. From sweeping aerial drone shots to perfectly framed close-ups.

Camera Equipment

Filmmakers use a wide variety of camera equipment to get the shots they need. Each device has its own unique properties that affect how a shot looks and feels. This is why it’s important to understand the various types of shots and camera angles before you create your shot list for a shoot.


Close-up shots are tightly framed and fill up the screen, giving your audience a chance to empathize with the character. They are often used to show emotions and reactions as well as reveal details about the character or setting.

Medium Close-up

A medium close-up, or MCU, falls between a close-up and a medium shot and usually frames the subject from the chest up. It’s a great way to empathize with a character without feeling overwhelmed by their emotions or reactions.

A tracking shot follows your subject with a device like a dolly, Steadicam, or gimbal. This type of shot allows for smooth, deliberate movements that add to the spectacle of a scene.

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