An assignment idea or discussion topic for learning some key technical concepts and terminology

Ok so you’ve ‘done’ shot types, used a powerpoint or projected stills. That’s fab for the basics, but what about their implementation in actual films, why these shot selections or camera movement might have been deployed, this isn’t at the whim of the DP or director, there is a grammar to how the camera is used with its own vocabulary. YOur students’ discussions of films will have greater precision if they learn some of the appropriate term and how they’re implemented in actual film, so I’ve made a short list of terms which require definitions and require examples for student to demonstrate their clear understanding of the ideas.

Generally I set these as research tasks for delivery as presentations, obviously there’s more content here than for an individual assignment, but it might be split, serialised for individuals or between differnet work groups. You know your own students best, so adapt this as you wish


Define and describe the narrative and/or generic function and provide one example where the following have been used in a film:

  1. An insert
  2. A cut-away
  3. A match on action
  4. An eye-line match
  5. Graphic Match/mismatch
  6. A j-cut and l-cut
  7. A counter-dolly shot
  8. Planes of action
  9. off-screen space
  10. depth of field
  11. tight framing
  12. A reveal
  13. Low-key lighting
  14. How would a subject appear if shot using a high-key lighting plan (how common is this).
  15. A master shot/break down shots (include a fluid master)
  16. Blocking
  17. Suggest three different shooting patterns techniques one could use to shoot and edit a conversation (shot reversal sequence), providing a varied texture to the shots to maintain audience engagement.
  18. Suggest reasons why film maker might try to sub-divide the frame in a shot sequence, provide examples to support your ideas
  19. What are symmetrical tracking shots – why might they be used. Provide examples.

Hope this works for you.

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