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AS: Unit 1: Film Script Terminology

AS: Unit 1: Film Script Terminology

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Published by: marcatkinson on Sep 24, 2009
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11/19/2012

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ilmScriptTerminology
//
RTVIDEO
 
T
.
he best way to learn about screenplays is to read a variety of film scripts
 
But before you can understand everything you read you need to know about
 .
basic script terminology Most of the following applies to both film scripts
 .
and television scripts
TRANSITIONS
:
hebasictransitionsfromonescenetoanotherare
cuts
-
instantaneous changes from one scene to the next
 
-
lap dissolves
,
also calleddissolves
-
where two scenes momentarily
 
overlap during a transition from one to the other
 
-
fade out
 
and
-
fade in
- - - -
fade out consists of a two or three second
 ;
transition from a picture to black and silence
, , -
and of course a fade
 
in is the opposite
, ( )
 Traditionally screenplays dramatic film scripts start with
 
fade in 
 
and close
 
with
 
fade ou
. - -
Fade ins and fade outs within the production can signal a
 ,
major change or division within the story structure such as a passage of 
 .
time
 
An
 
insert shot
- . ,
is a close up of something within the scene For example
 , -
after a man looks at his watch you might see a cut to close up of the
 .
watch where you can clearly see the time
 
Acutaway
"" .
is a related shot that is away from the basic scene For
 , " "
example during a basketball game you might cut away from the action on
 
1
 
.
the floor to a shot of a fan in the stands eating a hot dog
 
criptTermsandAbbreviations
A
 
lthough scriptwriters sometimes feel an urge to indicate
 , '
camera shots and angles on a script as we ve previously
 , '
suggested this is an area that s best left to the judgment of 
 .
the director
,
Even so in dramatic scripts you will often see the terms
 
camera finds 
 
indicate the camera moves in on a particular
 ;
portion of a scene
 
camera goes wit
 
to indicate the camera
 ;
moves with a person or object
 
reverse angle 
 
to indicate a
 180- ;
near degree shift in camera position and
 
shot widens 
to
 .
signal a zoom or dolly back
, '
When the entire camera is moved toward or away from the subject it s
 
referred to as adolly
. 
Azoom
, ,
which is an optical version of a dolly achieves somewhat the same
 . ,
effect Even so many Directors of Photography feel that compared to a
 , .
dolly a zoom is somewhat artificial looking
, , "
 To indicate either one a script notation might say camera zooms in for
 - ," " ."
close up of John or camera zooms out to show that John is not alone
,
When a lateral move is needed the term is
 
truck
(
note the illustration
 ).
above
,
In film both the dolly and truck movement are often referred to astracking
 
shots
.
Sometimes you also see the term
 
moving shot
 
to indicate that the
 
camera moves in some way during the course of a scene
2
 
S
:
hot designations for films include
 
Long shot
()
LS
 
or
 
full shot
()
FS
. ,
With people this is a
 .
shot from the top of their heads to at least their feet
 ( '
 To save space we ve used a vertical rather than a
 .)
horizontal format for this photo
 
A
 
medium shot
()
MS
 
is normally a shot from the waist
 .
up
 
A
-
medium close up
(
MCU
)
is a shot cropped between
 .
the shoulders and the belt line
- (
A close upCU
) ,
is the most desirable to catch changing facial expressions
 .
which are important to following a conversation
- (
Extreme close upsXCUs
) .
are reserved for dramatic impact The XCU shot
 .
may show just the eyes of an individual
, "-
All of these designations can also apply to objects as in close up of 
 ."
toaster shows toast popping up
 
A
 
boom shot
,
 jib shot
,
or
 
crane shot
- ,
refer to high angle shots sometimes
 .
with the camera moving
 
An
 
establishing shot
() ().
is a wide shot WS or a long shot LS This type of 
 
shot gives an audience a basic orientation to the geography of a scene
who is where
.
after which there should be cuts to closer shots
 ,
 Thereafter establishing shots can be momentarily used as reminders or
 
updates on scene changes
 
where people have moved in relation to each
 , .
other etc In this context they are called
 
reestablishing shots
. 
A
 
master shot
,
is similar to an establishing shot but this term is generally
 .
reserved for the special needs of film Once the master shot action is filmed
 
3

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