Types of Shots

Shots can be classified in many ways, depending on their function in the visual storytelling process. For instance, a given shot might be a two-shot, a dolly shot, and an establishing shot—all at the same time.

TWO-SHOT: A shot that frames two actors.

Size of Subject

The first variable in classifying shots is the apparent size of the subject of the shot.


The closeup (CU) generally frames an actor's head and shoulders, emphasizing her facial expressions and emotions (Figure 5.5). Variations include a medium closeup (MCU), which is a bit wider, and an extreme closeup (ECU), which shows only a portion of the face, cutting off either the chin or the forehead.

Figure 5.5. The closeup is a mainstay of moviemaking since it emphasizes ...

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