Tips to make the most of your medium long shot.
Before you film a medium long shot, give some thought to what you want the shot to convey. “If you want to show that a character has power in the situation, shoot them from a slightly lower camera angle so we’re looking up at them,” Bettis says. “If you want to show their power is diminished, shoot it from a bit of a high angle, so the camera looks down on them.”
You should also consider the setting for your scene and how much of it you want the audience to see. For example, if you’re shooting an interior scene and you want to show off your set dressing, go with a wide-angle lens to fully capture the background surrounding your characters.
“But if you’re shooting in the desert and there’s something scenic like a mountain range in the distance, you should go with a longer lens,” Bettis explains. “A long lens compresses the image and makes the background appear much larger and closer to your subject.”
If you want to create a sense of claustrophobia, try using a long lens to shoot interior scenes. Tense, gripping thrillers like Uncut Gems use this tactic to create a feeling of constant pressure bearing down to suggest that the characters are trapped and unable to escape.
Although it doesn’t offer the sweeping bird’s-eye views of the establishing shot or the intimacy of a close-up, the medium long shot is the perfect tool to make any scene sing.
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