The Language of film analysis 



(=the distance between the camera and object)

extreme long shot

(super totale Einstellung)

shot of, e.g. a large crowd scene or a view of scenery as far as the horizon

"What is the effect of the ~?"


long shot(Totale, totale Einstellung)

a view oa situation or setting from a distance

"the camera pulls away from the close-ups to a long shot of the Boston skyline."

medium long shot (halb totale Einstellung)

shows a group o f people in interaction with each other, e.g. a fight scene, with part of their surroundings in the picture

full shot


a view of a figure's entire body in order to show action and/or a constellation of characters

medium shot, mid shot, medium close shot

("amerikanische Einstellung")

shows a subject down to his or her waist, e.g. showing head and shoulders of two people in conversation

"What is the purpose of the high angle medium close shot?"



a full-screen shot o f a subject's face, showing the finest nuances of expression

"The camera suddenly cuts to a close-up."

"What does the series of close-ups show?"

extreme close-up (shot)

detail (shot)


a shot of a hand, eye, mouth or object in detail



(= the position from which the camera is filming)

establishing shot

often used at the beginning of a scene to indicate the location or setting, it is usually a long shot taken from a neutral position

"The scene starts with an ~."

point-of-view shot, POV-shot

(subjektive Einstellung)

shows a scene from the perspective of a character

over-the-shoulder shot

often used in dialogue scenes, a frontal view o f a dialogue partner from the perspective of someone standing behind and slightly to the side of the other partner, so that parts of both can be seen

reaction shot


short shot of a character's response to an action

"He decided to hold a ~."

insert (shot)

a detail shot which quickly gives visual information necessary to understand the meaning of a scene, for example a newspaper page, or a physical detail

reverse-angle shot

a shot from the opposite perspective, e.g. after an over-the-shoulder shot

hand-held camera

"What effect does the ~ have in the party scene?"


(= Kameraperspektive)

aerial shot or

high angle or



long or extreme long shot of the ground from the air

"How does the sequence of aerial and tracking shots support the voiceover commentary?"

high-angle shot

shows people or objects from \ above, i.e. higher than eye level 

low-angle shot or

below shot


shows people or objects from below, i.e. lower than eye level

eye-level shot or straight-on


views a subject from the level of a person's eyes

"In the first part the straight-on angle of the camera puts the viewer on the same level as Mrs Robinson."


"How do the varoius camera shot angles highlight the power of Mrs Robinson?"



(movement of the camera during a shot)

pan(ning shot)

(horizontaler Schwenk)

the camera pans (moves horizontally) from left to right or vice versa across the picture

"The camera pans across the picture."

tilt (shot)

(vertikaler Schwenk)

the camera tilts up (moves upwards) or tilts down (moves downwards) around a vertical line

tracking shot / trucking shot

the camera follows along next to or behind a moving object or person


the stationary camera appears to approach a subject by 'zooming in' ; or to move farther away by 'zooming out'

"The camera zooms in(zooms out) on Ben's face."

EDITING / Montage

(= the arrangement of shots in a structured sequence)

master shot

main shot of a whole scene taken by one camera in one position, which is then intercut with other shots to add interest


shot of something not shown by the master shot of a scene, but connected to the main action in some way

cross-cutting or parallel action

intermingling the shots of two or more scenes which are taking place at the same time



a scene or sequence dealing with the past which is inserted into a film's 'present time'



a scene or sequence which looks into the future

match cut

two scenes connected by visual or aural parallelism, e.g. one door closing and then another one opening

split screen


division of the screen to show two or more pictures at the same time


(= the way in which shots are linked)



choosing actors to impersonate the characters


a switch from one image or shot to another

"What effect does the sudden cut from the pool to Ben's room have on the viewer?"


(a) switching back and forth between two or more persons who are closely involved with each other, e.g. in a conversation or a chase scene; (b) using cuts to create an effect o f moving rapidly towards a subject



from a black screen or ground, the gradual emergence o f an image, which slowly becomes brighter until it reaches full strength



the gradual disappearance of an image until the screen or ground is completely black; a device used to end a scene

dissolve, dissolving shot or cross-fade


following a fade-out with a fade-in in order to move slowly from one scene to the next



filming a person or event against a background of light, especially the sun, which produces an idealized, sometimes romantic effect

background music

the music accompanying scenes

"What ~ would you use?"

"What effect does the ~ have?"

camera operator

the person behind the camera(s); in major productions, the head of the camera team is usually called the director of photography


words that are shown on a cinema or television screen, e.g. to establish the scene of a story


short piece of film or video.


the arrangement of people or things in a painting, photograph, film scene, etc.

(film) director


the person responsible for the artistic production of a film, i.e. the lightning, camera work, action, and the actors' interpretation of their roles

"What do you think the director's intention is?"

"Why does the director use this shot?"


(Vor-/ Abspann)

list of people who helped to make a film or programme.


the person responsible for arranging the camera shots and splicing (cutting / pasting) the shots together

film transcript

transcript of the final film according to the individual shots giving field size, camera angle, camera movement, action, dialogue etc.


(das Material)

Piece of film or video.

"Where is the ~ being filmed from?"

"What sort of TV programme uses footage like this?"


(eingefrorenes Bild)

effect when all movement is stopped.

motion picture

a US and Canadian term for film


the person responsible for the overall organization, especially the financing and marketing, of a film or TV production


a shot or a series of shots that deal(s) with a single action



film script with dialogue, location descriptions and some camera angles and



(Teil des Filmes)

Connected piece of film, perhaps a complete scene.

"What does the ~ of close-up and extreme cluse-up shots focus on?"


the location of a film

"If you were the director of the film, what kind of setting would you choose?"



Single piece of camera work, e.g. a cutaway.

"What sort of shot has to be used for an event like this?"

"Watch the film as far as the first shot of Ben in his room."

"The director uses ...shots to ..."


All sound for a film, including voices and music.


(Standbild, auch:

das Insert)

Single frame of a film, like a photo.

"What could the connection between the title and the stills?"



series of simple pictures showing the sequence of main shots, often with notes an camera angles and movements.



Printed words, usually below the picture, and usually used to translate dialogue in a

foreign film.

time-lapse photography

(Zeitraffer, auch:


Technique of filming very short bursts from a fixed position at fixed time intervals,

so that action appears very rapid when the film is played back at normal speed.


not to be seen but to be heard (especially a narrator, a character voicing thoughts or a news correspondent commenting on pictures that are being shown)



commentary heard by the viewer without the speaker being in-shot.

Often used in documentaries.

"The voice-over comments break the scene into four sections."