shot, medium shot, and closeup technique. Each sequence is a complete story within
In recording activity, the need for sequences becomes even more apparent. It is
important that sequences be photographed with the idea that they will portray a
completely understandable story when they are put together and projected on the screen.
In other words, the story must be developed in the long shot, medium shot, and closeup,
and not be left to the imagination of your audience.
(1) A good cinematographer will employ the three basic sequence shots of scenes,
the long shot (LS), medium shot (MS), and closeup (CU). Let's take the long shot first.
As the name implies, this is a shot taken at some distance from the subject. In the case
of a man standing, it would most likely be a fullfigure shot and would probably include
some sky and foreground area. Second, the medium shot of the same person would probably
cover from the top of his head to just below his waist line. Third, the closeup would
most likely be of the person's head and shoulders.
(2) In many cases the three basic sequence shots are expanded to include the
extreme long shot (ELS) and the extreme closeup (ECU). An extreme long shot of our
standing person would show him as being quite small in relation to the rest of the
picture. As an example, you can visualize an extreme long shot of a boat on the shore of
a lake with a small figure of a man approaching it. The LS, MS, and CU show him getting
in the boat, taking his seat and preparing to start the motor. Then an extreme closeup
of his hands on the motor starter.
(3) When shooting the basic sequence, you should bear in mind that the size of
the subject in relation to the full picture area is purely relative. The camerato
subject distance will vary for any particular long shot, depending on the size of the
original subject being photographed. For example, the distance required for a long shot
of a humming bird would be an extreme closeup of a man's face. The main point to
remember is that the size of the subject, in relation to the area it occupies on the
screen, determines whether it is a long shot, medium shot, or closeup. You may find it
hard to differentiate between these shots. Where does a long shot end before it becomes
a medium shot? There is no hardandfast rule governing it. Your own good judgement and
opinion is the only answer.
(4) At this point you are probably wondering where all these shots are used.
Actually, it is a rather simple procedure and closely corresponds to the way the written
story can be broken down to a basic structure of words, sentences, paragraphs, and
(5) A typical example of events in their logical sequence might be to place a
camera in the position of a soldier when he walks into an orderly room to pick up his
leave papers. His first impression is a broad general view of the room and the people in
it; this is the long shot. Next, he walks closer to the first sergeant who is talking to
the company clerk. The soldier approaches the group and the usual greetings are
exchanged. That is your