• Helen Sheplyakova
  • Red Rock Entertainment: Most popular cinematic techniques in filmmaking
Red Rock Entertainment: Most popular cinematic techniques in filmmaking

While working on movies with the best filmmakers of the modern British cinema, the Red Rock Entertainment team has also learned a thing or two about making a film project look professional and appealing. In this article, we’ll share some of the most popular techniques filmmakers of all levels of expertise use to make their projects look more smooth and engaging.

1. Aerial or bird’s eyeshot

God’s eyeshot, elevated shot, aerial view shot, overhead shot, and several others are all different names for the same cinematic technique. This kind of shot captures a wider view from a higher angle. Back in the day, it used to be filmed with the help of balloons, but today the process became much easier with the rising popularity of drones.

Effective for: introductions of scenes, descriptive elements meant to set the time and location of a film, showing a different perspective in crime movies, demonstrating the scope of events on screen.


2. Long shot

Long shots are also known as wide or full shots. They put viewers in the position of bystanders who are technically in the thick of things but actually are watching the events unfold from a safe distance. The name of this technique comes from the fact that the shot is filmed in one take for a long time giving the viewers a feeling of authentic presence. While it is used less today, it is still one of the most effective methods of cinematography.

Effective for: making the audience feel like a part of the events on screen


3. Close-up shot 

Close-ups are incredibly common with filmmakers. They show the actor’s face close to the camera to increase the impact of what they’re saying or emotions depicted by the actors. This helps filmmakers make a lasting impression regardless of the film genre and plot. For extreme tension, go for extreme close-ups and focus on an eye or the mouth, or other details on the character’s body or surrounding objects. This trick always adds drama to the scene, so it is a common thing in many films.

Effective for: any genre to increase tension, focus the attention on the emotions or the crucial moments in film 


4. Dutch angle shot

To achieve the Dutch Angle shot, you need to turn your camera to the side relative to the horizon line of the shot, and the degree of that tilt depends on the shot. It is common for filmmakers to spice their scenes up with the dutch angle, but the trick can also work to portray disorientation, uneasiness and character’s emotional instability and negative mental state.

Effective for: making an ordinary scene more interesting, focusing on the unstable emotional state of the character


5. Over-the-shoulder shot

This technique is frequently used in dialogue and is coupled with the close-up shots. It is often applied to show the perspective of the speaker’s conversation partner, how they see the character. This style of shot is achieved by simply putting a shoulder or any single fragment of the speaker into the shot’s foreground.

Effective for: narrations in filmmaking, dialogues, a natural depiction of conversations, adding depth to the scenes (to set up a connection between characters)


6. Tilt/panning shot

The tilt shot demonstrates a person from top to bottom or shows a location by carefully revealing it piece by piece. It is elegant and yet simple. The panning shot is basically the same as the tilt shot but horizontally. It’s essential to make both the tilt and panning shot stable and smooth. Without these two conditions, they lose their charm and effectiveness.

Effective for: tilt shots are common for carefully revealing important film details or establishing a scene, while the panning shots can be used to demonstrate or set up the surroundings of a character


7. Zoom shot

Zoom shots used to be short and simple, but today directors take time to make them slower and smoother, thanks to the advancement of technology for cinematic tools. In the past, zoom-out shots were made with cameras only, but today they are frequently replaced with dolly zoom shots. 

Dolly zooms are ideal for suspenseful films since getting the camera closer to the object and moving the lenses at the same time allows you to achieve a Vertigo effect, making the viewers’ minds feel a bit uncomfortable yet intrigued.

Effective for: focusing on an object or character and increasing drama in a scene


With these seven cinematography techniques, both the aspiring and experienced filmmakers can ensure that their movie will be elevated to the new level. However, Red Rock Entertainment experts stress that the quality of those shots should be consistent. While being simple and requiring minimum additional tools, they still must be perfected if you are planning to reach the level of professional filmmakers.

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