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TOP 10 Types of Video Framing: From Novice to Master

Arvin Alejandro
Arvin Alejandro Originally published Oct 20, 23, updated Mar 27, 24

Are you in search of the best practice to frame a video? If yes, then cheer up, as we have got you covered! In this guide, we will share the top 6 types of video framing that even novice and expert users can master.

Framing videos involves focusing on a specific subject and blocking out the irrelevant things in the background. Depending on the results you want, video framing can differ a lot. The information below will help you learn about different frames and how to utilize them effectively.

So, without further ado, let's get into the deets.

In this article
    1. 01 Full Shot (FS)
    2. 02 Medium Shot (MS)
    3. 03 Close-Up (CU)
    4. 04 Extreme Close-Up (XCU)
  1. Part2 Master framing types
    1. 01 Establishing Shots
    2. 02 Single Shot
    3. 03 Two Shot/Group Shot
    4. 04 Over-the-shoulder (OTS)
    5. 05 Insert Shot
    6. 06 POV Shot (OTS)
  2. Part Master framing types

Part1 Basic Knowledge About Different Framing

Because framing is related to capturing or focusing an object by the camera lens, it can vary depending on your desired shot. Let's start with the full-shot first and understand how it works.

01 Full Shot (FS)

Remember the shot of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, where all the players are focused in one wide frame? This excerpt is a practical example of what a full shot looks like. Full-shot video framing is particularly common in action or thriller movies where the creator wants to generate suspense in the audience.

As the name indicates, a full shot often emphasizes the scenery as your subject fills the frame. Like the background isn't ignored or blurred out; instead, it isn't overly stressed as well. In most cases, the camera starts with a wide-angle shot and then eventually ends with focusing on the subject.

A full-camera shot greatly emphasizes the physical presence of the character. It tracks the subject's movements, gestures, or body language, making it the focal point. As a result, the shot obtained delivers a better understanding of actions and interactions among the character and its surroundings.

02 Medium Shot (MS)

We often see friends in movies, going to a casino, or playing cards at a bar. What do we observe in that shot? Hand movements, facial expressions, body language, and a little context of what is happening in the background. This shot is known as the medium shot and is often called the ¾ shot.

Using the medium shot video framing technique, the camera lens allows the viewers to see the background while still focusing on the main character. It's like you will know what is happening at the back but still remain close to the character's emotions and gestures.

A medium shot usually begins by showing the subject from the knees to his face. In other cases, the shot can also start from the character's waist to the top of their head. Compared to long shots, a medium shot takes you closer to the subject's emotions.

For example, in The Princess Diary, you can see how medium-shot video framing has been useful in portraying comedic scenes. You can see Mia reaching out for plates and glasses around the tables and her eyes squinting to concentrate on the process. The medium shot captures even the smallest emotions while focusing on the background.

03 Close-Up (CU)

When the subject's head and face take up most of the frame, framing videos is known as a close-up shot. And a particular example of this shot can be spotted in the airport scene in "Casablanca." This scene shows how the camera lens takes various shots before ending up on the actor's face, showcasing a number of emotions and intimacy.

A close-up shot is an eye-level shot, and as a result, it takes the subject to the forefront. As a result, this shot establishes a distinct sense of connection between the audience and the character. Additionally, the environmental distraction is kept minimal throughout this shot. This setup helps maintain the emotional impact that the shot will portray. 

Some of the common emotions that would be captured using close-up video framing techniques include:

  • Tear-filled gaze
  • Furrowed brow
  • Subtle smile

Cinematographers often use such shots to intensify climaxes. These shots can be viewed as a window to the characters' souls, allowing viewers to adapt the emotions on another level.

04 Extreme Close-Up (XCU)

To understand the extreme close-up video framing technique, let us illustrate the movie that remained our favorite action thriller while growing up: Minority Report (2002). In this movie, the shots briefly focus on the character's eyes before hopping into the future view. This extreme close shot serves as a crucial plot to develop thematic elements in the audience.

So, an extremely close shot focuses on specific details of a character. This can be either the subject's eyes, ears, or mouth. However, the shot is not often employed casually. Instead, it is used in a stance where it is appropriate and when there is a need to develop heightened emotion among the viewers.

You can see this shot as a magnifying glass that draws attention to even the smallest emotion that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Part2 Master framing types

Don't know how to master framing types? No worries, we have a comprehensive guide on that! First of all, let's start with the most basic way to frame a video:

01 Establishing Shots

An establishing shot is usually used to develop a context for the next upcoming scene. It is often a movie's first scene and portrays an extremely wide shot of the context. This frame on the video indicates the location and time of the scene to the audience to engage with them on a deeper level.

One of the least-known things about an establishing shot is that it doesn't require a narrative to explain what is happening. Instead, it is shot alone, and the context is shot so that the audience gets to know everything as soon as they see the excerpt.

An amazing example of establishing a shot can be seen in Stanely Kubrick's horror film, The Shining. In the movie's opening scene, the camera goes through the forest and mountains before getting onto the mountaintop hotel where the action occurs.

02 Single Shot

A single shot frames a video that includes a single subject or character. It occurs when a character is talking or reacting to a scenario. Here, remember that if the lens shifts focus from a subject, it is not a single shot.

In the movie Extraction 2020, you can see a single shot being utilized when the character goes on to rescue his son from the kidnappers. The shot extends a long way, including through a car crash, weapon chasing, and that iconic Hemsworth sliding off a building into a brutal fight. And the incredible part was that all of this was captured in a single shot.

03 Two Shot/Group Shot

As the name indicates, a two-shot or a group shot is used to frame a video that involves more than one character. It could be two people conversing or friends sitting at a cafe gossiping. This shot is particularly helpful in portraying the relationship between the characters in the frame.

A good example of two-shot video framing can be seen in the movie Silverado. During the final shooting scene, you can see two cowboys standing far apart while facing each other. Here, the two-shot technique emphasizes tension before the cowboys draw their guns.

04 Over-the-shoulder (OTS)

OTS, or Over-the-shoulder, is the most used shot in framing videos for making movies. To understand how this shot works, let us take an example of two subjects, one named A and the other named B. Now, A is sitting right in front of subject B. Here; the shot is executed by focusing on subject A from the shoulder of subject B. The basic purpose of the shot is to fill the conversation or the meeting between the subjects.

To understand this situation better, let's take an example from the movie How to Train Your Dragon. In the scene, Hiccup is seen having a conversation with his father. Here, when Hiccup is talking, the camera is focused on him over his father's shoulder. And when his father talks, the shot is taken over the shoulder of Hiccup.

05 Insert Shot

Insert short framing technique uses selective focus to draw the audience's attention to the subject. Whether it be an object or merely a piece of information, insert shot has always been effective in emphasizing details.

For example, in The X-Files, an insert shot is used to provide the audience with a look at the file of Scully. This insert shot reveals the most shocking revelations in the file, including a tissue sample. Additionally, the file insert shot also shows how shady Mulder is.

06 POV Shot

A POV shot is used to frame a video in a way that shows what a character is doing. You can take this as a shot showing the world from the character's perspective. Our modern-day games, including Call of Duty Black Ops, are a common example of such POV shots.

The movie Friday the 13th is an iconic example of a POV shot frame on video. If you remember, the movie revolved around a killer who wasn't identified until the end. So, the audience watched the film from the killer's perspective until he was recognized.


To sum it up, mastering the art of video framing, from full shots to POV shots, is an exciting journey that helps you to weave exciting stories. Understanding these techniques will empower you to craft a compelling narrative to captivate your audience, whether you are a beginner or a professional.

So, begin with framing videos now and let your work speak volumes!

Arvin Alejandro
Arvin Alejandro Mar 27, 24
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