Exercise 2: Basic shot types

Close shot from Monsters Inc.
Part A: Pick a scene or sequence from one of your favorite movies, review it, and answer the following questions:
  • Can you find a moment where changing shot types (wide shot, medium shot, close-up) help emphasis a story point?
  • How does the staging and framing heighten the emotional impact of the scene?
  • Can you find a shot where the rule of thirds is followed?
Part B: Return to the minor beats you identified in your story from the previous exercise. For each beat choose a shot type which would work well (wide, medium, close) and then do the following:
  • Sketch the frame for each of these three shots from the camera’s point of view. Remember to consider what you want the audience to know, and what you want them to feel.
Example of a storyboard image showing a panning shot of a teacher.
  • Consider using either “centering” or “rule of thirds” to place your subjects within the frame.
Rule of thirds image using a still from Ratatouille.
  • To help you visualize the staging, imagine looking down on each of the three shot types. Put the camera and character(s) where you imagine they need to be in order to create the shot type. Add any notes, lines, or details that would indicate direction for camera or character.
Storyboard image from above showing position of the camera and movement of a character.
Check out the lesson on Virtual Cameras to learn how different shots are created in Pixar films.