We’re at the third post of the series ‘The Shot Tells the Story’ using the movie Wall-E as my lesson plan. You can find the whole list of shots in the introduction post.
We’re now at the full shot. You may not see that term in any film making books. It is very often referred to as a long shot. But I like to separate the shots more.
So what’s the difference between the full shot and the extreme wide shot and long shot?
(Yup, that is never gonna get old 🙂 .)
How close? I define it as a full body shot of a character. There will be some ‘air’ (or space) above and below them inside the frame. No part of them is cut off (unless they are behind an object).
The extreme wide shot was all about the environment. It told us the big picture of where this story is taking place. The long shot had the perfect balance between ‘where’ and ‘who’. It gave us a closer look at who the story is about and where they are in their environment.
In the full shot, the environment (or the ‘where’) falls much more by the wayside. This shot is all about the ‘who’. This shots wants us to look at our characters. It’s the ‘big picture’ of just that character (or characters).
We should already know where they are by the time we get to a full shot. So this shot isn’t about Wall-E inside his house. It’s says:
“Watch me watch TV.”
“Look at me recharging myself with the sun.”
“Look, I’m spying on Eve.”
I’ve split this up into three panels because it involves a camera move. It’s Wall-E’s P.O.V. (point of view) of Eve while he is spying on her. It gives a great reveal of Eve.
“Look, there’s a floating pod of some kind.”
“Oh wait, look! It’s another robot.”
You can see how this shot gives the character some breathing space. They have room to move or stretch or dance while it still keeps them as the main focus.
Here’s an example of being hidden by an object, but I still consider it a full shot. If you removed the object, you would still see all of Wall-E.
“Yup, I’m still spying on her. I can’t help myself.”
And shots can be combined by putting someone in the foreground and someone in the background. This is a full shot of Wall-E but quite a long shot of Eve. We are aware of Eve, but our focus is really on Wall-E.
“Oh S***! Did you see that? Did you see how I almost got blasted to bits??”
“Look at me search and search with my cool scanner ray.”
And the full shot has room for two characters sometimes. You still see the full bodies of both of them.
“You see me pointing my blaster at this little guy? Do ya?”
OK, a little bit of Wall-E is cut off here. But it’s certainly not close enough to be considered a medium shot (see next week!). And this one also uses a closer shot of Eve in the foreground. But again, it’s all about Wall-E.
“Look what I found! Isn’t it pretty?”
“Look at Eve’s blue beam taking the plant away from Wall-E.”
Like I said before, it’s all relative. In Wall-E’s world this would be an extreme close-up. In the cockroache’s world, it’s a full shot.
“Look at me. I’m cute too!”
“Aw, shucks. Look at Wall-E holding ‘sleeping Eve’s’ hand. He seems so happy.”
You see how I never mention anything about where they are? Because for this shot is doesn’t matter. It’s all about the characters. We should already know where they are, so don’t forget to use those wider shots to show us that.
But to draw our attention to them, get a little closer. Use those full shots to give us the ‘big picture’ of your characters.
And give them the attention they deserve to tell us their story.
“Look at me.”
Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email for the next post in this series; ‘medium shots’.
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