The Long Camera Shot:
How to Keep Your Audience Oriented!

Basic Camera Shots - The Long Shot

When the using the Long Camera Shot...The camera is at its furthest distance from the subject emphasizing the background or a larger view of the scene. Use this shot to keep your audience oriented and in-tune with the action...!

Here's how...!


This type of shot normally shows a comprehensive view... Or gives a panorama of a scene such as an epic view of a landscape... This allows your audience to stay oriented as they are able to see locations and events in wide sweeping views as the story moves along.

It is often used to show large scale scenes of thrilling action such as in a Western, War film or Disaster movie. But its fundamental use is to give the audience the overall perception of distance or space in the scene or shot.

Long shot Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Battle scene long shot

Battle scene

Using the Long Shot To Keep Your Audience Involved…

The long camera shot can also be used to give the audience a perspective as to where the subject of the shot is in relation to his environment.

This keeps the audience oriented and involved as they can follow the sequence and progression of events in the scenes easily.

Environment long shot

Environmental orientation

Action long shot

Action orientation

This shot is very useful to show action such as a subject that is walking or moving.

This is very important as... If the subject is moving to new locations or time periods the audience can then "keep up" with the action and not get confused as to time or location.

Using the Long Shot to Orient Your Audience…

Normally... one of the main uses of this shot is to orient the audience by showing the subject's surroundings.

Orienting long shot

Location orientation

Location long shot

Location orientation

But.. one of the drawbacks in using this shot is there will usually be very little detail visible in the surroundings. So just be aware when you're using a long shot that it is meant to give a general impression of location and time rather than a lot of specific information.

Long Camera Shot Tip # 1

Also just a tip…

* Using a lot of Long Shots (or Medium Shots for that matter) can become boring to an audience after a while.

So... just be sure that you spice-up your film or video of little bit by intercutting with the other shots such as close-ups or extreme close-ups to keep the action moving and your audience involved.


Another Use of the Long Camera Shot... The "Establishing" or "Opening" Shot…

The Long Shot is often used as a scene-setting, establishing shot or sequence.

Establishing shot

Establishing shot

Scene setting shot

Scene setting shot

An establishing shot or opening shot is the first shot of a new scene. It is designed to orient the audience as to where  the subject is or where  the action is taking place.

The exact terminology and distance of this shot varies between production environments... But... the basic purpose of what you want to achieve with this use of the long shot is to orient the audience and give them a reference point of time and place in the scene.

If you use the long camera shot correctly your audience will be able to stay in-sync and connected with the characters and story as it proceeds from that point and they won't get "lost" as far as time and location in the story.

Use this shot well to keep your audience "tracking with you" throughout your film or video production...!

They'll love you for it…!

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Have fun...!  Dan

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