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Shot (film)

Related: film language - film editing - film technique - film language - long take - point of view shot - shot reverse shot - Rear Window (1954) (shot reverse shot example) - Russian Ark (2002) (long take example)

A shot is a single continuous recording made by a camera. It is analogous to a word. [Jul 2006]

Compare: word (writing)

Russian Ark (2002) - Aleksandr Sokurov [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Russian Ark is a 2002 Russian film that is filmed in a single shot of 90 minutes.


In film, a shot is a continuous strip of motion picture film, created of a series of frames, that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. It generally portrays a subject, though a blank screen can also be considered a shot. Shots are filmed with a single camera and are of variable duration. Shots are compared to words with each frame being a letter and scenes being sentences.

Cutting between shots taken at different times by different cameras is known as film editing, and is one of the central arts of filmmaking.

The length of shots is an important consideration that can greatly affect a film. When used they can have an effect of making a scene seem far more realistic, as this is how people normally see the world. Due to the rapidity of cuts in most western movies longer shots can make a scene seem more relaxed and slower placed.

Ending a shot can also be used to conceal special effect tricks. Audiences come to be aware of these tricks and for maximum effect many directors use continuous shots to enhance an effect. For instance in Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron used mirrors and an identical twin so that Arnold Schwarzenegger could act and then have his head opened in one shot.

Despite these benefits long shots, which are known as slow cutting, are difficult to do as any error would force the filmmaker to restart from scratch. They are thus only occasionally used. Films famous for their long cuts including Alfred Hitchcock's Rope that only cuts at the end of each reel, and does so surreptitiously so that it seems as the whole film is one take. A film that was actually a single take is the recent Russian Ark.

Conversely many short shots, known as fast cutting, can be used to make a scene seem more energetic or dramatic. Scenes of violence, such as the famous shower scene in Psycho use rapid cuts. One film famous for using a huge number of short cuts is Requiem for a Dream. Short cuts also have the disadvantage of being time consuming and expensive taking many hours to set up and require careful coordination to gain maximum effect, and if used without precision, rapid cutting can become disorienting. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_%28filming%29 [Jul 2006]


Real-time is a term used to describe a motion picture, television or radio program, or computer game wherein the events depicted take place entirely within the span of time that lasts from the beginning of the depiction to the end, and at the same rate.

For example, everything that is shown within a linear thirty-minute real-time television episode will occur within the thirty minutes that is filmed. In a real-time episode there will be no cuts to action occurring several minutes, hours, or years later or earlier. An event that is shown fifteen minutes after the start of the episode is thus depicted as occurring fifteen minutes after the events that are depicted at the start. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_%28media%29 [Aug 2006]

See also: cinematic time

Point of view shot

A point of view shot (also known as POV shot) is a short scene in a film that shows what a character is looking at. It is usually established by being positioned between a shot of a character looking at something, and a shot showing the character's reaction (see shot reverse shot). The technique of POV is one of the foundations of film editing.

A POV shot need not be the strict point of view of an actual single character in a film. Sometimes the point of view shot is taken over the shoulder of the character, who remains visible on the screen. Sometimes a POV shot is "shared" ("dual" or "triple"), i.e. it represents the joint POV of two (or more) characters. There is also the "nobody POV", where a shot is taken from the POV of a non-existent character. This often occurs when an actual POV shot is implied, but the character is removed. Sometimes the character is never present at all, despite a clear POV shot, such as the famous "God-POV" of birds descending from the sky in Hitchcock's The Birds. Another good example of a POV shot is that in the movie Doom, it depicts a fairly long POV shot which resembles a Heads-Up Display with the viewer watching through a character who is venturing through hallways shooting and killing aliens.

A POV shot need not be established by strictly visual means. The manipulation of diegetic sounds can be used to emphasize a particular character's POV.

It makes little sense to say that a shot is "inherently" POV; it is the editing of the POV shot within a sequence of shots that determines POV. Nor can the establishment of a POV shot be isolated from other elements of filmmaking mise en scene, acting, camera placement, editing, and special effects can all contribute to the establishment of POV. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_view_shot [Feb 2006]

Shot reverse shot

Shot reverse shot is a film technique wherein one character is shown looking (often off-screen) at another character, and then the other character is shown looking "back" at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer subconsciously assumes that they're looking at each other (a'la the 180 degree rule). However, shot reverse shot is also often combined with creative geography to create the sense that two characters are facing each other, when in fact they're being filmed in completely different locations or at completely different times. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_reverse_shot [Dec 2004]

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