The Complete Visual Technique List (1 Viewer)


real human bean
Nov 17, 2007
1 -shots – Are used to describe shots framing one person. Similarly, is 2 shot and 3 shot for the respective number of people.

4th wall – The fourth wall is the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage.

A-Roll – The main shot in an interview or documentary.

Aerial perspective – The effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as it is viewed from a distance.

Aerial shot – Showing a location from high overhead.

American shot – Refers to a medium long ("knee") film shot of a group of characters.

Angle – The line towards an object in relation to another item.

Angle of view – Describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera.

Asides – When a character temporarily turns away from another character and speaks directly to the audience.

Auteur – A theory where the work represents the creative vision of the director to create a distinctive voice.

B-roll – The supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot in an interview or documentary.

Background – What is placed at the back of the image.

Backlighting – The main source of light is behind the subject, silhouetting it, and directed toward the camera.

Bird's eye-view – An elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird.

Body Language – Meaning that is conveyed through the body, rather than the spoken, symbolic or written word.

Boom shot – High angle shot.

Border – A frame around a piece, object etc.

Bridging shot – A shot used to cover a jump in time or place or other discontinuity.

Breaking the 4th wall – When a character acknowledges their fictionality, by either indirectly or directly addressing the audience.

Bullet Points – Typically small, concise pieces of text, indicated by the bullet “•” symbol.

Camera angle – Marks the specific location at which a movie camera or video camera is placed to take a shot and angle at which the camera is pointed at the subject.

Camera coverage – The amount of footage shot and different camera angles used to capture a scene.

Camera tracking – Where the camera is mounted on a camera dolly an moved horizontal across the action.

Caricature – A drawing that exaggerates the features of its subject, often to parody.

Chiaroscuro – The dramatic use of light and dark.

Choice of images – The image that is consciously selected by the artist.

Choral movement – Where all the characters move at the same time.

Choral Speech – The recital of poetry and dramatic pieces by a chorus of speakers.

Clocking the audience – Recognizing that the audience is there and interacting with them.

Close Up Shot – Where the subject is camera shot in a tight frame.

Clothing/costume – What is worn by the characters.

Colour – This can be symbolic, create contrast, draw attention etc.

Composition – How the text is constructed – the way things are arranged and placed in the visual text.

Continuity cuts – These are cuts that take us seamlessly and logically from one sequence or scene to another. This is an unobtrusive cut that serves to move the narrative along.

Contrast – The revealed differences between two items; often in relation to colour.

Crane Shot – A camera shot taken from above, similar to bird’s eye view.

Cropping – Cutting out part of an image so that a smaller section remains.

Cross cutting – Is an editing technique most often used in films to establish action occurring at the same time in two different locations.

Cut – The splicing of 2 shots together. Between sequences the cut marks a rapid transition between one time and space and another, but depending on the nature of the cut it will have different meanings.

Cutaway – Is the interruption of a continuously filmed action by inserting a view of something else.

Cutting – The separation of one item from that which follows it.

Deep focus – A technique in which objects very near the camera as well as those far away are in focus at the same time.

Depth – The distance between the foreground and background.

Diegesis – The denotative material of film narrative, it includes not only the narration itself, but also the fictional space and time dimension implied by the narrative.

Dissolve – Is a gradual transition from one image to another.

Dolly – A set of wheels and a platform upon which the camera can be mounted to give it mobility. Dolly shot is a shot taken from a moving dolly. Almost synonymous in general usage with tracking shot or follow shot.

Dolly zoom – Achieved by zooming a zoom lens to adjust the angle of view while the camera dollies (or moves) towards or away from the subject in such a way as to keep the subject the same size in the frame throughout.

Dollying – A tracking shot or zoom which follows the subject as it moves.

Dutch angle – Is a type of camera shot where the camera is tilted off to one side so that the shot is composed with vertical lines at an angle to the side of the frame.

Editing – How shots are put together to make up a film.

Ellipsis – A term that refers to periods of time that have been left out of the narrative. The ellipsis is marked by an editing transitions which, while it leaves out a section of the action, nonetheless signifies that something has been elided.

Entrance and exits – T is important to notice when characters exit and enter a scene. Pay particular attention to what is being said as they enter or what they say as they leave.

Establishing shot – Sets up, or establishes the context for a scene by showing the relationship between its important figures and objects, usually taken in long.

Exaggerated movement – Larger than life gestures.

Extreme long shot: – A panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance, often as far as a quarter mile away. May also serve as the establishing shot.

Facial Expression – Expression on a character’s face to convey emotion.

Fade out/in – A punctuation device. The screen is black at the beginning; gradually the image appears, brightening to full strength. The opposite happens in the fade out.

Fast cutting – Is a film editing technique which refers to several consecutive shots of a brief duration (e.G. 3 seconds or less).

Fill light – An auxiliary light, usually from the side of the subject that can soften shadows and illuminate areas not covered by the key light.

Flashforward/Flashback – Where the narrative jumps forward or backwards in the narrative time, without logical progression in that direction.

Focal Lines – Same as vector.

Focal Point – Where our eyes are drawn to.

Focus – The sharpness of the image. A range of distances from the camera will be acceptably sharp. Possible to have deep focus, shallow focus. Focus in, focus out.

Follow shot – Is a specific camera angle in which the subject being filmed is seemingly pursued by the camera.

Font – The size and style of the text; bold, italics, underlining.

Forced perspective – Is a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is.

Foreground – What is placed at the front of the image.

Frames – This is used in cartoons.

Framing – The view of a subject. How an object is framed depends upon multiple factors including depth of field, position, and spacing.

Freeze frame shot – Isis printed in a single frame several times, in order to make an interesting illusion of a still photograph.

Full frame – Refers to the use of the full film gate at maximum width and height.

Full shot – Long shot.

Gaze/Look – This term refers to the exchange of looks that takes place in cinema

Gestures – Posturing or movement of the body to express and idea/emotion.

Hand held camera – The camera is held in the hands, rather than on a fixed rig or on a tripod. Usually creates a shaky or non.

Hanging miniature – Is an in camera special effect similar to a matte shot where a model, rather than a painting, is placed in foreground and the action takes place in the background. It is thus a specific form of forced perspective.

Head shot – Demonstrates a person's appearance from the shoulder up.

High-angle shot – Is usually when the camera angle is located above the eyeline.

Hue/Saturation – The 'colourfulness' or intensity of a colour.

Insert – A shot of part of a scene as filmed from a different angle and/or focal length from the master shot.

Interstitial – An insert in between two events, or sections of content

Iris in/out – An old technique of punctuation that utilises a diaphragm in front of the lens, which is opened (iris in) or closed (iris out) to begin or end a scene. The iris can also be used to focus attention on a detail of the scene.

Jump cut – Is a cut in film editing in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly.

Juxtaposition – Positioning subjects side by side to emphasise difference e.G. An elephant positioned near a mouse emphasises a difference in size.

Key light – The main light on a subject. Usually placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera subject axis. In high key lighting, the key light provides all or most of the light in the scene. In low key lighting, the key light provides much less of the total illumination.

L cut ("Split edit") – An l cut, also known as a split edit, is an edit transition from one shot to another in film or video, where the picture and sound are synchronized but the transitions in each are not coincident.

Layout – The arrangement of visuals.

Light/Shadow – The brightness or darkness of a image, dependent on its relation to lighting sources.

Lighting – Soft, harsh, backlighting.

Logo – Symbol of an organisation, company, group, government etc.

Long shot (LS) – Subject or characters are at some distance from the camera; they are seen in full within their surrounding environment.

Long take – Is an uninterrupted shot in a film which lasts much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general, usually lasting several minutes.

Low-angle shot – A shot from a camera angle positioned low on the vertical axis, anywhere below the eyeline, looking up.

Manipulation – For example, cutting and pasting a head of someone onto the body of a dog.

Master shot – A master shot is a film recording of an entire dramatized scene, from start to finish, from an angle that keeps all the players in view. It facilitates the assembly of component closer shots and details. The editor can always fall back on the master shot.

Match cut – Exactly the opposite of a jump cut within a scene. These cuts make sure that there is a spatial visual logic between the differently positioned shots within a scene. Thus, where the camera moves to, and the angle of the camera, makes visual sense to the spectator.

Medium shot – A shot intermediate between a close up and a full shot.

Mime – Silent acting that depends on gestures rather than words. Also refers to items that are physically referred to and enacted, but not visible. E.G. A mimed cup.

Mockumentary – A fake documentary, usually for the purpose of comedy or satire.

Money shot – Is a moving or stationary visual element that is disproportionately expensive to produce and/or is perceived as essential to the overall importance or revenue generating potential of the work.

Montage – A selection of shots or scenes that are intended to convey a similar idea or period of time.

Numbered Points – To create an ordered list, tends to emphasise the importance or priority of each item.

Off-stage – Appearing not in the audiences stage view.

One shot – A "one shot" is any music video which consists of action, continuous in time and space, from the perspective of a single camera— a single long take.

Over the shoulder shot – Is a shot of someone or something taken from the perspective or camera angle from the shoulder of another person.

Palette – The range of colours used by the composer.

Pan – An abbreviation of panorama, movement of the camera from left to right or right to left around the imaginary vertical axis that runs through the camera. A panning shot is sometimes confused with a tracking shot.

Panning – The rotation of a camera on a vertical axis in a horizontal plane of a still camera or video camera.

Panorama – A wide angle view of a physical space.

Perspective – The way something is viewed.

Physical Theatre – Performance based on movement and the physical body.

Point of view shot – Where the camera takes the position of the eyes of the character.

Prose or verse – In older plays, it is possible to tell the status of a character or the mood of the scene by whether it is written as poetry or in everyday speech, e.G. Characters of low status do not speak in verse and comic scenes are often written in prose.

Pull back shot – A tracking shot or zoom that moves back from the subject to reveal the context of the scene.

Rack focus – A rack focus is the practice of changing the focus of the lens during a shot.

Reaction shot – It is a shot which cuts away from the main scene in order to show the reaction of a character to it.

Recurring imagery – Look out for repeated words, phrases and images. Together, these create a sense of mood or a key theme.

Reverse angle – A shot from the opposite side of a subject. In a dialogue scene, a shot of the second participant.

Salience – The features which stand out (i.e. The focal points).

Scene – A complete unit of film narration. A series of shots (or a single shot) that takes place in a single location and that deals with a single action. Sometimes used interchangeably with sequence.

Scenes and Acts – It is important to pay attention to when a playwright chooses to end a scene and an act (a number of scenes). It is usually significant in building audience expectations of what is to come. This is sometimes a cliff hanger.

Screen direction – Is a term used in motion picture and video editing and refers to an underlying concept of cinematic grammar which involves the direction that actors or objects appear to be moving on the screen from the point of view of the camera or audience.

Sequence shot – A long take that also covers an entire scene or sequence of events discontinuous with the film events that follow or precede it.

Shot – Is a series of frames, that runs for an uninterrupted period of time.

Shot reverse shot – Shot reverse shot (or shot/countershot) is a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off.

Single camera setup – A single camera—either motion picture camera or professional video camera—is employed on the set, and each shot to make up a scene is taken independently.

Size – How small/big something is.

Slap stick – Physical comedy, often painful in nature.

Slow cutting – Is a film editing technique which uses shots of long duration.

Slow motion – Whereby the action is slowed down through technical manipulation of film.

Smash cut – Media where one scene abruptly cuts to another without transition,.

Soliloquy – When a character is alone on stage and speaks out his or her thoughts aloud. Language that invites action a character can say something that requires others to act or react.

Speech directions – Words in brackets that tell the actor how to say the lines.

Split focus – Where focus is placed on two different areas simultaneously, or quickly between.

Split screen – Is the visible division of the screen, traditionally in half, but also in several simultaneous images, rupturing the illusion that the screen's frame is a seamless view of reality, similar to that of the human eye. There may or may not be an explicit borderline.

Spoof – To parody or satire.

Stage Directions – Read these carefully. They tell us what should be happening on stage and will often include clues, e.G. The darkening of the stage may suggest something bad approaching.

Steadicam – Hand-held filming with an image steadiness comparable to tracking shots. A vest redistributes the weight of the camera to the hips of the cameraman; a spring loaded arm minimises the motion the camera; a video monitor frees the cameraman from the eyepiece.

Story board – A series of drawings and captions (sometimes resembling a comic strip) that shows the planned shot divisions and camera movements of the film.

Subject selection – The subject that is consciously chosen by the artist.

Symbolism – A symbol or picture used to represent something e.G. A heart represents love.

Tableaux – A group of models or motionless figures representing a scene from a story.

Take – One version of a shot. A filmmaker shoots one or more takes of each shot or setup. Only one of each group of takes appears in the final film.

Talking head – Is a broadcasting term for interview footage, where only the person's head and shoulders are visible to the camera.

Teichoscopy – Synchronous discussion of events, as opposed to events being reported later by messengers or other eyewitnesses.

Thought tracking – Is when characters pause and step out of their character and say how they are feeling.

Tilt – Is a cinematographic technique in which the camera is stationary and rotates in a vertical plane.

Tilt shot – The camera tilts up or down, rotating around the axis that runs from left to right through the camera head.

Top down perspective – Bird’s eye view.

Tracking – The camera follows a character’s movement by moving with them.

Trunk shot – Is a cinematic camera angle which captures film from inside the trunk of a car.

Two shot – Is a type of shot employed in the film industry in which the frame encompasses a view of two people (the subjects).

Vector – An object that directs our eyes towards the focal point. E.G. The subject in the visual text is pointing or looking towards a certain direction. Our eyes will follow the direction that they are pointing or looking in.

Voice Over – Speech that is laid over an image, that is not a part on the created world

Walk and talk – Is a distinctive storytelling technique used in filmmaking and television production in which a number of characters have a conversation en route.

Whip pan – Is a type of pan shot in which the camera moves sideways so quickly that the picture blurs into indistinct streaks.

Wipe – An optical effect in which an image appears to "wipe off" or push aside the preceding image.

Worm's eye view – A view of an object from below, as though the observer were a worm; the opposite of a bird's.

Zoom – Brings in the focus of an individual object or multi-object smoothly from distance shot to close up shot.
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real human bean
Nov 17, 2007
Credit again to LoveHateSchool and the whole host of other old school BOSers for their direct and indirect input into this.


New Member
Feb 12, 2016
A sequence shot is not the same thing as a long take. A long take just lasts a long time. A sequence shot or plan séquence is long take that also covers an entire scene or sequence of events discontinuous with the film events that follow or precede it.

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