12 February 2007

Shot descriptions


Clare Cunningham, a photography tutor and continuity expert, ran us through basic film language today, explaining a long list of abbreviations used to describe shots and other basic film terms:

Scene - a piece of the script set in one location
Shot - a new shot starts every time the frame changes (e.g. from wide shot to close up)
Take - a new take starts every time the camera is turned off and on again
Setup - Whenever the camera is moved to a new place (even within the same location) between takes, it’s a new setup.

Shot descriptions are done for various reasons, as aids to the director or editor, for example. They are always described from the point of view of the camera, and should be concise and one for each setup. They describe who is in the shot, have a summary of the action, any camera moves and shot size. Dialog may be indicated by quoting the first and last line ( “first ... last”). Here is a list of useful and common terms and abbreviations used in shot descriptions:


BCU/ECU - big closeup/extreme closeup
CU - Closeup
MCU - mid closeup
LMS - long mid shot
MS - mid shot
FS - full shot
LS - long shot
WS - wide shot
EWS - extreme wide shot
EST-S - establishing shot
Gp-S - group shot
Master-S - usually a wide shot
tight-s deep-s - deep shot, such as an over the shoulder shot of an object in focus in the background
OS - over the shoulder
H/A, L/A, W/A - high, low, wide angle
LL - long lens
HH - handheld Dutch tilt (L or R down) - horizon is tilted in the frame
Pan, Tilt, Dolly or Track (L or R, up or dwn, in or out) - camera moves: Pan and tilt denote camera moving on a pivot either L/R or up/dwn; dolly or track denote camera moving parallel or towards the action, usually on rails.
Z/I, Z/O - zoom in or out Crane up or dwn Follow or travelling shot
Ext/Int - exterior or interior
F/G, B/G - foreground or background
TOF, BOF, LOF, ROF - top, bottom, left or right of frame (also CR or CL for camera right or left)
X’s - actor or object crosses frame
FF - full frame
gain - more of the object moves into the frame
preframe - the frame of an empty shot, e.g. the door before the actor enters
C/A - cutaway or insert shot
POV - point of view
ES or TS - end slate or tail slate
Incomp/comp - incomplete or complete
FS - false start
NG/GD/AG - no good, good and again
MOS - no sound
OC or OS or OOV or OOF or OOS - off camera or off screen or out of view or out of frame or out of shot
Jump cut
Resolve - e.g. an emotional hold on the face, as used in soap operas

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