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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition by Christopher J. Bowen, Roy Thompson

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Headroom

Within a given shot type (MS, LS, CU) there is a generally accepted guideline as to where the head of a person should be placed within the frame. This guideline applies much more to MS and CU shots because in these tighter shots you mostly see the person’s body and head and much less of the environment. Human beings naturally tend to look each other in the face and, specifically, in the eyes when communicating. This “face focus” allows us to gain insight into the physical and mental health of an individual and to get a handle on their emotional state. Therefore, when an audience member watches an actor on screen they will most often look at the person’s face, particularly at the eyes and the mouth. Filmmakers know this to be true and ...

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