Extreme Long Shot – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Cinematography Glossary Terms

What is an Extreme Long Shot?

An Extreme Long Shot, also known as an Extreme Wide Shot or a Full Shot, is a type of camera shot in cinematography that captures a vast landscape or a large-scale setting. In an Extreme Long Shot, the subject appears very small in relation to the surrounding environment, emphasizing the scale and scope of the scene. This shot is often used to establish the location or setting of a film, providing context for the audience.

How is an Extreme Long Shot used in cinematography?

An Extreme Long Shot is typically achieved by placing the camera at a considerable distance from the subject, using a wide-angle lens to capture as much of the surrounding environment as possible. This shot is commonly used in outdoor scenes to showcase the grandeur of nature or to emphasize the isolation of a character within a vast landscape. Extreme Long Shots can also be used in architectural shots to highlight the scale of a building or structure.

What are the characteristics of an Extreme Long Shot?

The key characteristic of an Extreme Long Shot is the significant distance between the camera and the subject, resulting in a wide field of view that includes a large portion of the surrounding environment. The subject appears small in the frame, often occupying only a small portion of the screen. This shot is typically static, allowing the audience to take in the full scope of the scene without distraction.

When is an Extreme Long Shot typically used in film?

Extreme Long Shots are commonly used at the beginning of a film or a new scene to establish the setting and provide context for the audience. They can also be used to transition between scenes or to create a sense of scale and grandeur in epic or historical films. Extreme Long Shots are particularly effective in conveying a sense of isolation or vulnerability, as the small size of the subject in the vast landscape can evoke feelings of insignificance or loneliness.

How does an Extreme Long Shot contribute to the storytelling in a film?

An Extreme Long Shot can serve multiple purposes in a film, depending on the context in which it is used. By establishing the setting and providing a sense of scale, this shot can immerse the audience in the world of the film and set the tone for the narrative. It can also create a visual contrast between the subject and the environment, highlighting themes of isolation, power, or vulnerability. In some cases, an Extreme Long Shot can be used to build suspense or anticipation by revealing the vastness of the space in which the action will unfold.

What are some examples of famous Extreme Long Shots in cinema?

One iconic example of an Extreme Long Shot is the opening scene of “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), in which the protagonist is shown as a tiny figure riding a camel across the vast desert landscape. This shot sets the stage for the epic scope of the film and establishes the character’s isolation and journey. Another famous Extreme Long Shot is the final scene of “Gone with the Wind” (1939), in which the camera pulls back to reveal the devastation of the Civil War on the plantation, emphasizing the passage of time and the changes in the characters’ lives.

In conclusion, an Extreme Long Shot is a powerful tool in cinematography that can convey a sense of scale, isolation, or grandeur in a film. By capturing the subject within a vast landscape, this shot can set the tone for the narrative, establish the setting, and evoke emotional responses from the audience. Whether used to showcase the beauty of nature, highlight the grandeur of architecture, or emphasize the vulnerability of a character, the Extreme Long Shot is a versatile and impactful technique in filmmaking.