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Film Principles
Fr. Rene C. Ocampo SJ/Bong S. Eliab
Study Guide: Terms and Concepts Associated with Cinematography: The Photographic Characteristics of the Shot

  • Range of Tonalities:

Film Stocks: Black and White/Color; Fast/Slow
Exposure: Overexposure/Underexposure
"Day for Night"

  • Speed of Motion:

"Sound speed" (24 frames/second)
Fast Motion (fewer frames/second, e.g. 8)
Slow Motion (more frames/second, e.g. 64)
Time Lapse cinematography
High-Speed cinematography

  • Perspective Relations:

Focal Length:

Wide Angle Lens: Short focal length (<35mm); distorts straight lines near the edge of the frame; "fish bowl" lens; exaggerates depth (the perceived distance between planes in the foreground and the background)

Normal lens: Medium focal length (35mm-50mm); seeks to avoid any perspective distortion; horizontal and vertical lines are rendered straight and perpendicular; perceived distance between foreground and background (depth) is neither exaggerated nor flattened.

Telephoto Lens: Long focal length (>75mm); flattens depth, making objects in the foreground and the background appear very close together; figures moving between planes seem to take much longer to cover a short amount of ground ("running in place")

Zoom lens: variable focal length.

Depth of Field and Focus:

Depth of field: Range of distances before a lens within which objects can be photographed in sharp focus. In general, lenses with a shorter focal length (wide-angle) possess a greater depth of field than those with longer focal lengths (telephoto).

Deep Focus: refers to a greater depth of field achieved with the combination of shorter focal length lenses, faster film stock, and intense lighting; objects in extreme foreground and extreme background, and all planes between, are in sharp, crisp focus.

Selective Focus:  allowing only one plane within the frame to be in focus, and allowing the others to blur; often helps draw viewer=s attention to character=s faces (or whatever object is in focus).

Racking (or pulling) focus: a type of selective focus in which the focus shifts from one plane to another in mid-shot.

  • Framing:

Aspect ratio (see B&T pp. 228-231); "pan and scan"
offscreen space
Angle of framing:

low-angle shot
straight-on shot
high-angle shot
Canted (or oblique) shot

Distance of Framing:

extreme long shot
long shot
medium long shot (American Shot)
medium shot
medium close-up
extreme close-up

Mobile Framing (Camera Movement)

tracking (or dolly, or trucking) shot
crane shot
handheld (or free-ranging) shot

Duration of the Shot:

long take

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