Filming is a lie. After all, there is a story designed in the middle, there are many images taken at different times with different actors in different places. These images are combined and projected onto the screen and the viewer watches the edited images. In order to allow the viewer to watch the captured images easily for a couple of hours, it is necessary to shoot the captured images in accordance with human nature and eye angle. Thus, the audience does not get tired while watching the movie and gets caught up in the story. In other words, it is necessary to deceive the viewer with the images taken in some way.
Many filming techniques have been developed since the invention of cinema in order to fool the viewer, enable him to watch more comfortably and enter the story. In this article, we will take a closer look at the basic shooting techniques, which are accepted as the basis of dozens of shooting techniques that have been created throughout the history of cinema and that you need to know in order to shoot movies. If you can successfully knead these shooting techniques with your story, a successful movie will come out that is easy to watch. First of all, it should be noted that applying these shooting techniques alone is not enough for a successful movie, but it is an important factor. For this reason, you can opt out of these shooting techniques according to the narration. So what is described here is not a rule. There are many important directors who made successful films with the opposite techniques of these shooting techniques.
1- Far General Shooting (Panoramic Shooting)
The distant general plan is a very remote view of the scene or place. In this shooting technique, the dominant scene in the image, the actors on the stage look very small. Generally, information about the medium and the time of the movie’s scene is given by remote shooting technique.
Far-away plans allow you to create an atmosphere, show an entire large-scale event, or show 3-4 different subjects in one frame. For example, in a war scene, a distant general plan is used to show the atmosphere of war, to give information about space, and to visualize distant events during the war.
One of the best examples to describe the distant general plan is the design of a fight scene. It is very normal for two people to fight, which we normally see close-up, does not mean much to the audience. When you switch to the distant plan after this plan, seeing the fight of these two people on the edge of a cliff will make this situation interesting and will attract the audience more.
2- General Shooting (Middle Far Plan)
Medium general attraction is a shooting technique used to give the information of the space like the previous item and to show the relation of the events with the space more closely than the distant plan. Indoors or outdoors, some of the place where the event took place is shown in this shooting technique. For example, a family picnicking around a tree or a convoy advancing in the desert is provided with a medium distant plan.
In this shooting technique, the players in the subject are more prominent than the distant plan and what they do is clearly seen. Generally, before a scene starts, the relationship between space and characters and space is shown with the general shooting technique.
3- Boy Plan
The third widest technique after general and distant shots is the height plan. As you know, the thing we see the most in movies is actor. In this remote part of the general shooting techniques and after the general plan, we see the player-oriented shooting techniques.
The height plan is the shooting technique in which the area from the place where the actor presses to the top of his head appears. In this shooting technique, all body movements, costumes and the whole body of the player can be seen easily. It is used to introduce the character or to show the character’s motion exactly. For example, a man riding a bicycle or a person who pulls his sword and knocks the character opposite is shown with the height plan at first.
The factor to be considered in this shooting technique is the upper and lower spaces. These gaps are connected to a standard thanks to the knowledge and accumulation since the birth of the cinema. In this context, if the character’s head space, that is, from the top of the head to the border of the upper film frame, is 2 units, the place where the character presses should be a unit. So the headroom should be at least twice the lower cavity. The opinion that this gives the most suitable image for the height plan is dominant.
4-Knee Plan (American Plan)
In other words, the knee plan is the type of plan from the place where the American plan character does not appear to the top of the head. This plan was used mostly in the american film industry. Former soviet directors who normally form the basis of the cinema did not use this plan much, but this plan is not among the shooting techniques of soviet cinema theorists. After the height plan comes the background in the soviets. Western films are the reason why this plan emerged and was used mostly in American films. In these old cowboy movies, the gun of the cowboy is not visible when the background is used, so the western film directors preferred the knee plan in which the actor was closer than the height plan and also appeared in his gun. In fact, this knee plan is not preferred for the eye due to the fact that the feet are cut, but it is another preferred technique because it is suitable for the content.
Nowadays, when we want to show a sword warrior or a gun with gun, we can choose this plan. While taking this plan, there is no standard for the head cavity, so it is more appropriate to determine the head cavity by subject.
5- Waist Plan
The waist plan is a scale that usually corresponds to half of the body size and starts just below the waist to the head cavity. For this reason, this shooting technique is also called 1/2 technique. Objects at the back or foreground in such close scales should be placed correctly in the frame.
The background is a shooting technique used to show what the person is doing and keep track of what they do rather than emotional activity. It is suitable, for example, for a character who wants to throw a vase at a person during a conversation. The reason why it is appropriate is that the length of the plan for the speech or the knee plan is too close to show the shot of the object far away, so the most suitable for such a scene is the background. In this plan, there is also enough space on the right or left side to put an object or an image on the subject, so a back plan is preferred for shooting such as announcements or presentations.
Of course, we can give a very short part of the speech of two people in the background, but since the faces and facial expressions cannot be read in this plan, it becomes difficult to establish an emotional connection with the audience, so the background is not suitable for speech shots. This plan is usually used when there is a bodily movement or in the plans, as the character holds and examines something.
6- Chest Plan
The chest plan is a shooting technique created by starting slightly below the chest and leaving an appropriate head space. This plan can be used to increase the dramatic effect of the scene and influence the audience in this way. Especially after the height or knee plan, when you switch to this plan, the feeling of the character on the stage becomes more evident. As soon as the character makes an impressive speech, this plan can make the dialogue more impressive.
The most important factor in this shooting technique is that the elbows are outside the frame. If the elbows appear to be cut in half in the frame, the feeling that there is a physical problem in the character will pass on to the audience. For this reason, it is beneficial not to cut the elbows while taking this plan.
7- Shoulder Plan
The technique of shooting from the point where the arms meet the body to the head cavity is called a shoulder plan. In this plan, the character now faces the audience. Intense emotions and facial expressions are evident in this plan so that the audience can see clearly. For this reason, in this plan, the audience can establish more bond and empathy with the character.
The shoulder plan is particularly well suited to the shooting style, which we call the angle opposite angle, where two people speak. For this reason, the shooting technique we see most in a movie is the shoulder plan. In this plan, reflecting the character’s relationship with the environment is not very suitable in this plan, but this shooting technique is best suited to attract the audience’s focus to a conversation.
8- Chief Plan
It is a shooting technique involving only the human head. In this shooting technique, the neck of the character is cut by the borders of the frame. It is the shooting technique that best describes sadness or joy, as human eyes, lips, and mimics appear very closely in this plan. The most important factor in this shooting technique is that the jaw is never cut. Sometimes amateur short filmmakers can leave the chin out of the frame in order to leave a head gap. This is a big mistake; chin in the foreground is more important than the upper part of the head, so the part of the head to the eyebrows can sometimes be out of the frame but the chin should never be outside the frame.
This plan can be used when it is necessary to give a dramatic effect in the speeches, but in its long use it adds a narrow and bored atmosphere to the audience; therefore, if the information of a narrowed character stuck to the audience will not be given, it should not be used too long.
The main plan is generally preferred for content to be used on television or the internet, because the television and computer screens are much smaller than the cinema. As the cinema screen will look very close and big, it is less used in cinema films than television and internet content.
9- Face Plan (Close Plan)
In this shooting technique, the eyes of the character are targeted. The nose, lips, and chin may appear, but the head and neck region are not visible. The eyes are a reflection of the mood. Joy, anger and sadness are told with the most effective eyes. The actor can be given all emotion with his eyes, without making any gestures. For this reason, this plan is included in many cinema films.
If you want to confront the audience with the character during your filming, you can choose this plan.
10- Detail (Detail) Shooting
Detail shooting technique is a shooting technique that we use when we want to show the part of a whole, to put the subject we want to show into the eyes of the audience.
In this plan, it is aimed to show the details that the audience cannot see in height, shoulder or face. This technique is often used in objects that are outside the frame or that we think are not getting enough attention, but are important for the flow of the film. For example; we can choose this plan to show the poison coming out of the tip of a syringe or a sentence from a book.
This plan is also used by the director when switching between plans becomes difficult. For example, when a man leaving one room enters the other room immediately in the next plan, it will cause a sense of jumping, but after leaving the room, showing a detail and then putting the character into the room prevents this time lapse.
Amors shooting is a technique used in dual dialogues to shoot the person speaking in the frame of the speaker’s shoulder. The reason for doing this technique is to understand better that the dialogue passes between the two people and that the speaker in the frame appeals to him.
In this shooting technique, the person speaking usually is in the shoulder or chest plan. The listening character, on the other hand, appears half cut according to the condition of the frame. If you use the upper angle in this shooting technique, the person speaking gives a weaker, more suppressed character feeling than the listener. When using the lower angle, the situation is the opposite. This time speaking gives a lofty and more dominant character feeling.