Check out this video for various types of cinematography camera angles and movement techniques.
There are lots of great examples of shots you can use in your videos and films:
The Basics of Camera Angles
Every independent film maker needs to know the basics of camera angles and shots, and for those that are unaware of these basics we have developed a short guide to camera angles and how to use them.
Main Type Of Shots
Long Shots: Long shots are primarily used to show your subject in its entirety. If your subject is an actor then a full body shot will provide an air of distance and make your audience feel like an outside observer.
Medium: Medium shots are from the shoulders up and can be used to convey dialogue.
Close Up: Close ups tighten in on your subject if it is an actor, you would tighten in on their head and face.
Extreme Close Up: Extreme close ups zoom in very tightly on your subject and take up the entire frame of your camera.
Low angle: The low angle is placed at the feet of your subject looking up. It denotes power making your subject seem stronger or better than the object it is observing.
Bird’s Eye View Shot: This shot is perfect for showing the emotion of your character or viewing the scene from above in a god like way.
Dutch Angle: The Dutch angle is slightly off kilter and makes the scene seem uneasy and stressful.
How to move Your Camera
Now that you know the basics of camera angles you can now learn how to move your camera. For example, panning your camera from left to right communicates movement with your audience and sets up the scene. Tilting your camera up or down denotes movement and lets the audience decide for themselves what is happening in a scene. How you stand or what you use to shoot with also has a direct impact on the shot. The dolly shot is very popular and it uses a dolly to zoom in or out on your subject depending on the emotion you want your audience to feel. The crane shot also uses some added assistance by placing the camera on a crane and raising and lowering it according to the desires of the cameraman.
Why use these angles?
Different angles produce different emotions and psychology for your audience. Depending on how you move the camera, you can denote a dialogue structure, drama, suspense, or horror. Once you understand the psychology of film you can then produce movies that move your audience.
The academy award nominated director, Spike Jones, has been invited to the Ghetto Film School, to offer a free online film studies Master Class for the Ghetto Film School. This is a unique program where young filmmakers from around the world get together in order to discuss more about filmmaking and storytelling. Spike Jones accepted their invitation and held a conference, talking about this business and about the main challenges that they need to overcome. He responded to several questions and he gave them a creative assignment created by himself.
The first lesson he wanted to share with them was that every actor is different, so each one of them works differently. This is why a director should know how to give specific notes. Jones showed them the importance of the rehearsal, not only because they get to repeat together and see how it works out, but mainly because during that period the coworkers get to bond with each other, creating friendships and developing a common language. In this way, they’ll be able to get a better understanding of each other while working together at a project.
When it comes to the writing part, Jones had an interesting insight, saying that it’s essential to share the writing with the others. In this way they will not only get the others’ feedback, but they will also get their own feedback. He emphasized that by sitting down and telling someone a story, he gets the opportunity to actually hear it out loud. Therefore, he may hear what works and what doesn’t work. The same thing happens with the test screening. So those who want to work in this industry should share their ideas.
Working in the film industry may be exciting, especially because people get to do what they like. A great advice was the necessity to choose role models and to focus on great movies. He exemplified by saying that whenever he sees a great movie, he keeps it alive in his mind, taking it everywhere. Such a movie may rest in his mind for a week, a month, or even years. In this way, whenever he will need inspiration, he will go back to that movie.
Another essential thing that can be related to any kind of activity, and not only with filmmaking, is definitely the ability to make friends. After all, coworkers spend a lot of time together and it’s important to work in a relaxed and friendly environment. Besides the work with his team, he also likes to get the opinion of a group of writers and directors, mainly because he loves their work. Thus, he values their opinions so he tries to get a feedback whenever he finishes a script or when he’s editing a movie.
Between the questions posed during this conference, there has been a question about story boards. Jones expressed his personal opinion about these, by saying that they are important as long as there is a complicated sequence. Otherwise, there are many sources of inspiration and one shouldn’t stay too focused on a fixed idea.
This filmmaking video features the renown Dutch actor and writer, Rutger Hauer as he offers his professional insights with an introduction to short film making. He begins the video with a memorable quote by a colleague, Robert Rodriguez: “what you need to know about filmmaking can be taught in a week.” In response to that quote, Hauer proposes to create this video with the objective of teaching the essentials of film in a 13-minute video.
Hauer starts by proclaiming that if you want to be a filmmaker, then just print your name and the title, “filmmaker” on a business card. Pass around the card to your friends and tell people that you’re a filmmaker, because once you convince yourself that you are, you will be. Seeing yourself as such is important to embarking upon your filmmaking career.
In addition to seeing yourself as a filmmaker, Hauer adds that you need the right blend of creativity and technical knowledge. Creative people are born creative, says Hauer, that’s “luck” as he calls it. Most technical people haven’t a clue about creativity. On the other hand, creative people have a difficult time thinking high-tech and they often rely on tools and methods they don’t fully understand. However, as Hauer emphasizes, if you have both creativity and some technical skills, then no one can stop you.
This leads to Hauer’s second point of insight: you already have some experience by watching movies, but watching films isn’t enough if you want to make them. You need to grab a camera, make movies, and more importantly, make mistakes. Making mistakes is what makes us good. If you have a scenario in your head, just start writing.
The following are some of the topics that Hauer covers, with the intention on touching upon all the essential aspects of making a successful, budget film.
Making a cheap film. Making budget films always force you to be creative, especially when it comes to finding the right location. Hauer suggests that you write a screenplay that doesn’t require a lot of money. Instead, look around you and evaluate what you have in your immediate environment for use: a pet, your parent, a butterfly collection, a garden, etc. “Even the smallest balcony garden can be your film jungle” he says. Hauer’s first film, Starfish Tango, involved a small story, two dancers, two actors, a village, and seven dolphins and yet was a success.
Getting the plot “out of your head.” Hauer’s third point of insight involves creating storyboards for getting the film out of your head and onto the screen. More importantly, you need to think about the frames and what needs to be present in each scene in order to tell the story–close your eyes, focus and make up the pictures. You should also think about whether or not the story moves you, if all the characters are present, or if the plot is too fast. More importantly, creating a storyboard for the movie allows you to see whether or not it makes sense. The quicker you get your idea onto the storyboard, you quicker you can begin to shoot.
Cameras. You don’t need a sophisticated camera for your first or second film. In fact, just using a Flipcam is enough, and if you need to create steady shots, just use a tripod. If you want more movement in your shot, you can try mounting the camera on a skateboard, having someone push you in a wheelchair, or drag the camera on the floor atop a towel or blanket. Lastly, act “softly” in front of the camera: avoid overacting or crowding the camera with too much action. As a rule, the closer the camera is, the less acting you need to do.
Lighting. Experiment with the lighting. Walk around and see what spots are best left dimmed and which ones need a lot of light. As you move the light around, do it softly so it will look nice and natural on camera. You filters like curtains in order to get a dim effect. Use the reflections in cars, windows, the color of a table cloth, or even the movement of leaves to help you play with lighting. Hauer demonstrates how one can play with lighting by placing a towel over his computer’s camera and noting the slight, but important difference it creates.
Editing. It’s important to be patient and take your time in order to ensure a film of high quality. This is where you can add sound or music (either make your own music or own it, so as to not infringe on copyright).
After all of this you will have your first, simple film. He ends with saying that while you cannot make simple films in Hollywood, you can make them in school and on your own time, so take advantage of this freedom. He wishes the viewers success and fun in their project endeavors.
Downloading music is a tricky issue these days. With internet authorities acting fast to shut down illegal music downloads sites, you have to be careful where you get your music files from. One wrong move and you could end up in more trouble than you bargained for.
However, you could just want to get free soundtracks to download for your art project or school assignment. Well there allot of free music sites on the web. First check out my music and then here are several more sites with safe high quality music and a good selection:
This site has a large selection of free production tracks to choose from, and you only have to click on your selected track to download it. Sample tracks on the site’s database, and if you like it, you may be able to use the track. If it is offered under the Creative Commons license, you may be free to copy and distribute tracks.
Like the title suggests, this site has a variety of great quality remixes to choose for your production. Downloads are free and legal, and you have wide selection of music genres to choose from. You can rip, download, remix or share tracks, all for free.
Another free music site that allows you sample free tracks online. All music on the site is royalty free, and the easy to navigate website makes it a joy to make use of.
This site allows you to upload your own original or remixed track after registration, thus increasing the volume of music you have at your disposal. Download music in order to play, and browse from one of the largest free music databases on the internet.
The Emmy award winning composer Brad Hatfield shares his songwriter experience, starting an online course that is available for those who want to make a career in writing songs for film and TV.
Brad Hatfield started his career as a professional musician, having the opportunity to accompany many big names, such as James Taylor. Even from the beginning of his career, he attended major jazz festivals, next to well-known jazz artists. With time he began to get placements in film and television, realizing that he has a passion for visual media. At the beginning it was a great challenge to succeed, but right now success seems to be his middle name. Right now, while you are reading this, there are hundreds of his songs that are playing somewhere on the planet. Speaking about money, it seems that for this amazing composer it is enough to get an income that will allow him to sustain his family.
Right now he is excited because he has the opportunity to teach this course that will cover many techniques and skills. Even if some of them will be already mastered by the students, there is an entire set of skills that are necessary in order to succeed. For instance, in visual media you will have to start thinking like a director, having the chance to step back and to look at the song from a different point of view, mainly because in a movie the song can’t stay alone, but it rather has to enhance what is going on in the screen.
Another thing you will learn is how to collaborate effectively, since the communication is an essential skill and the key to succeed in this course. You will have the chance to meet other musicians and writers, and not only. There will be a whole new web of people that will come in your way. Even if this business is for those who are passionate, and not for those who are looking for more money, you will learn how to negotiate. In this business, people try to find a common ground.
This is a unique course that will teach you more than just how to write songs, it will teach you how to give and to receive feedback, and constructive criticism. You will have to listen each other’s songs and tell your opinion regarding what you hear. You will learn both what to do and what not to do, and many of the examples will be Brad Hatfield’s in person. Therefore, you will have the unique opportunity to learn from his 30 years’ experience. He is ready to give you all his secrets, as long as you agree to take them. Every student will have the opportunity to internalize the information, and with some luck their names will appear on the big screen. This is the purpose of this course.
Even if you are a song writer, after this course you will be able to improve your songs using the new skills and techniques that you acquired during this online course.