Mr. Camera, Inc. – Shot Sizes
Here is a basic list of shot sizes. These are beneficial for everyone to know on set. For the director, it helps translate to the rest of the crew his or her vision. The DP will appreciate you speaking their language, he or she will be able to give you what you’re looking for if you do. As for art, costume, and makeup departments, this is important because it will establish who and what is seen in the shot. Learn these basic shots and you will be well on your way to understanding the basics of how to create your very own shot list.
ECU – Extreme Close Up
Usually done on a macro lens, this is a an extremely close shot.
Used for small subjects: Eyes, lips, details, nature.
CU- Close Up
A close up shot is used to fill most of your frame with your subject. This can be very effective in showing someone’s emotions, or general conversational coverage.
MCU – Medium Close Up
A medium close up is roughly from the chest up. It still features your subject, but keeps a distance from the lens.
MS – Medium Shot
A medium shot allows your subject or subjects to move about the frame, still emphasizing on your subject but keeping their surroundings available.
A cowboy shot is from the thighs up. This shot was established in Western movies, where the frame would float right where the Cowboy would keep his gunslinger’s gun or holster on his hip.
MWS – Medium Wide Shot
A medium wide shot is about knees up. It splits the difference between a full shot and a medium shot.
Full Shot or Head to Toe
A subject fills the frame from head to toe but keeps emphasis on the environment.
LS – Long Shot
A subjects whole body is in the frame, but a good amount of space is around them.
The subject will appear a bit smaller.
ELS – Extreme Long Shot
Can make your subject appear very small contrasted against their location. This can make the subject feel distant or overwhelmed the location.
Overhead or Birds Eye View
This shot is from up high, looking down on your subject and a good amount of scenery surrounding him/her. This can also be done as a Close up, Medium, or a Long Shot.