Inivitation scroll

The shot, definitions

The word "analysis" relates to the idea of decomposing. Describing and analysing a film thus supposes breaking it down. Generally, the basic unit of this breakdown is the shot.

The word "shot" always designates a fragment of film. However, this fragment undergoes a series of changes between the shooting and the finished film.

3.1 – The shot, the unit of filmmaking

The notion of shot emerged when filmmakers began to film the same scene from several successive camera placements. During the scripting phase, the shot is thus a fragment of the narrative corresponding to a camera placement.

For shooting, the shot is the series of images recorded between the moment the camera starts running and the moment it stops.

For editing, the shot comprises all of the images between two splices.

3.2 – The shot, the perceived unit

A film is composed of a variable number of shots, either juxtaposed or sometimes (wholly or partly) superimposed.

When viewing, a change of shot often produces the sensation of a visual rupture. So, for the viewer, the shot is a unit of perception of the film. And as such, it is widely used in film analysis.

As a rule, this unit of perception corresponds to a unit of filmmaking, as each shot is derived from a single take. There are, however, composite shots made up from several shots, and the editing can also split a single shot into several shots.

3.3 – The other use of the word "shot"

These thoughts about the shot defined as a fragment of film should not make us forget the polysemy of the term, which includes one other important meaning in filmmaking.

The word "shot" is also used to distinguish different types of framing : we refer to a "close-up shot", "medium long shot" ...: this is the scale of shot sizes (cf. Session 4).