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The BrickFilms Wiki
Types of Shots
Establishing Shot :
An establishing shot will oftentimes be used to introduce a new scene. It is a wide view shot (sometimes an extreme wide shot) of the scene that provides for the viewer the overall setting and general relationship between the different subjects. An example of an establishing shot might be to show the attendees at a wedding before cutting to a close up of the minister (example taken from Bricks in Love by Go!Le Go!).
Extreme Close Up :
An extreme close up (or ECU) is a type of shot where the character appears "big" on the screen, leading to a feeling of proximity. This feeling of proximity is usually achieved by filling the entire frame with the subject either by being very close to the subject or by using a zoom lens. An extreme close up sometimes intentionally "cuts off" part of the character or object to zero in on a certain aspect—for instance, a shot of a Lego character’s eyes, or the trigger of a gun.
Extreme close ups can be used to portray a character’s emotions, because being very close to a character creates an intimate feel. Extreme close ups are also great for showing detail and texture.
Close Up :
A close up shot (often abbreviated to CU in scripts) refers to how "big" the character appears to be on the screen. A close-up generally has just the face of a single subject in the frame and, in this way, is sometimes similar to the framing of a still portrait but not always, as demonstrated in the example taken from Repent by Technology.
Medium Close Up :
A medium close up is halfway between a close up and a mid shot. A medium close up is typically from the chest up on a character.
A mid shot is a shot that shows a little of the area behind a character, but is not wide enough to show the full setting. It typically only shows a character from the waist up, showing any arm movement, but used when a character is standing still, as the legs are not visible. An example would be when a reporter is shown in a live report.
A wide shot is a shot in which the focus of the shot takes up most of the frame, but does not extend past it. Below is an example of a wide shot from Attack of the Drones.
Very Wide Shot:
A very wide shot is a shot in which the camera is far away from the characters or action but they are still at least slightly visible, and is often used as an establishing shot or to show the setting of a scene. Below is an example of a very wide shot from Attack of the Attack of the Drones. The character is visible in the window, but only barely so.
Extreme Wide Shot:
An extreme wide shot is a wide shot which is relevant to the rest of the scene, but typically shows a large portion of the area surrounding characters instead of focusing on the characters themselves. Characters are not visible in an extreme wide shot, because the camera is too far away. This can help show the setting at the beginning of a scene.
Long shot is sometimes used as another term for a wide shot. However, its definition often relies on context. It sometimes can refer to a shot in which the camera is pulled back somewhat to give an idea of the setting characters or events are in. In a long shot, the subject(s) may not be in the center of the shot (such as in the example below), whereas in a medium shot, they typically are.
Medium shot is a term often used to refer to the same thing as a long shot. Typically, however, medium shots place the subject in the center of the frame.
An over-shoulder shot (abbreviated OS in scripts) is a camera angle often used during dialogue scenes, in which we look over one character’s shoulder at another’s face. Oftentimes a director will switch between one over-shoulder shot to another character’s shoulder (usually because a new character is speaking). It’s easy to try to show both characters at once in a two shot or a wode shot (especially in a Brickfilm when the characters are so diminutive, and the camera is so large), but doing so usually distances us from the characters in negative ways (and that’s more than just physically being far away). Using close-up shots like the Over-Shoulder help us believe that the Lego characters are real people, or at least that they have personalities.
Cut Away Shot:
A cut away shot is a shot that briefly cuts away from a main shot to show a related detail, for example a hand gesture made by a person explaining something. Normally, after the shot, there would be a cut back to the previous shot.
Point Of View Shot
A point of view shot (or POV for short) looks similar to the camera view in first-person shooters (though in a movie it’s unusual to see "your" hands in a POV shot). Point of view shots can be used to show a character’s emotions—whether they’re frantic, dizzy, intoxicated, angry, etc., by imitating the movement of a person’s head. It puts the viewer "in the shoes" of the character, and shows us how things look from his or her perspective.
If a character is skydiving, the viewer can relate better if the director uses a POV shot to show how things look from the character’s point of view. Other situations that lend themselves to POV shots include reacting to a bizarre, frightening, or interesting occurrence; exploring; escaping; driving a car; walking a tight rope; and many more. If it’s done right, the audience will never think "where’d the character go?", but will assume that they are seeing a POV. Marvelous.
Handheld shots are a rarity in brickfilms, and would typically have to be faked in a stop motion film, unless live-action is used. These shots are characterized by a shaky camera that is unstable because it is not locked down onto anything, but instead held by hand. They can be effective in creating tension.
An aerial shot (or bird’s eye view) is a shot in which the camera faces straight or almost straight down toward the scene. Below is an example of an aerial shot from Attack if the Drones.
A two shot is essentially a mid shot with two people side by side.
A leading shot is a camera move in which the camera and the subject are both moving in a given direction while the camera looks back at the subject, "leading" it forward. It looks like you (the viewer) are walking backwards as someone walks towards you. This move can be used to create suspense—since we’re moving backwards we can’t see what’s ahead—only what the characters’ reactions are.
Fairly self explanatory, a following shot is a camera move in which the camera follows a moving subject from behind. These can be great for building suspense, energy, and curiosity, as we try to peer past the character to see what’s ahead. The brief clip which shows a follow shot of a bull attacking a matador is taken from Brick rock’s film die Letzen.
A tracking shot is a filming technique where the camera moves to follow or pan across the subject instead of staying stationary. When the camera moves in a horizontal motion it is called a dolly shot. A vertical tracking shot can easily be accomplished by using a good quality tripod whose height can be adjusted with a crank.
A panning shot is a filming technique where the camera rotates on its axis to follow an object instead of pointing in a fixed direction (it is also known as a panorama shot or pan). An easy way to achieve this is to mount the camera on a tripod with a swiveling head.
A dolly shot is a filming technique where the camera moves to follow an object instead of staying stationary (it is also known as a tracking shot, Vertigo shot, Dolly zoom, although tracking shots can also be done in a vertical motion). An easy way to achieve this is to mount the camera on a cart that can move on a track. This can be made from Lego…a bit something like this. Then, the camera moves a certain measurement each frame to achieve smoothness…sometimes as little as 1/2 a millimeter. It is also possible to construct a dolly with a threaded rod, which would give you equal movements at the turn of a handle. FLL-Freak has provided instructions for his threaded rod dolly
As with most animation, you should accelerate and decelerate the dolly when appropriate. For acceleration, you can start with a very small measurement and then move the dolly double the previous distance until the speed of the dolly is that of the object. Deceleration works similarly, except you divide the constant speed by two for each frame. In live action films, there is a person that actually pushes the dolly, which naturally results in this acceleration and deceleration. Recreating this in your animated dolly shot helps add realism. A camera that moves at an even 2mm/frame then suddenly stops can be jarring for the viewer.
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