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Medium Shots

The medium shot is a general, all-purpose shot. Medium shots are used for dialogue sequences, and they allow the viewer to pick up on the character's movements and gestures. Body language is important to conveying emotion, and the medium shot remains close enough to capture that emotion. Medium shots are also good for small group shots, such as a conversation between characters. The medium shot often is partnered with a close-up shot, because it is not necessarily used for establishing shots. Medium shots are best for individuals or small groups; more than three or four people in the scene will require you to use a different type of shot. Figure 4 shows a typical medium shot.

Figure 4 Figure 4 Medium shots are good for dialogues and small gatherings.


Although medium shots are good for dialogue shots—allowing the viewer to still be a part of a character's emotion—a full shot is often needed. Full shots are beneficial to show body language, nervousness, and even anticipation. Perhaps the character in the city street is very uncomfortable with his new mob friends. A medium shot could bring the viewer closer to the actor's face, perhaps to see a furrowed brow or a bead of sweat. A full shot on the actor can show a tapping foot and awkward hand movements, emphasizing the nervousness.

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