Films and other video productions combine many shot types. Shot types serve specific purposes like showcasing emotion or setting the scene by emphasizing the location.

Whether you’re contributing stock footage or looking for video clips to use in your projects, it’s essential to understand the different shot types and how to use them. So let’s take a look at some of the common shot types and what makes each unique.

Establishing Shot

The establishing shot is usually the first shot in a scene, and it sets the location or situation for the rest of the scene. An establishing shot could indicate a change in location from a previous scene, establish the time of day or year, or indicate the mood.

With the help of an establishing shot, the viewer can understand the context of the scene. For example, a shot of a house or building might introduce a scene that takes place inside the building. An outdoor clip at night may show that the scene has jumped forward from day to night. A shot including snow might indicate that the following scene takes place in winter.

Establishing Shot

Extreme Long Shot

The extreme long shot (also known as the extreme wide shot) shows the subject from a long distance. While the subject is in the shot, the environment surrounding the subject is more critical.

An extreme long shot could serve as an establishing shot since the viewer can see and understand the context.

Extreme Long Shot

Long Shot

The long shot (also known as the wide shot) is similar to the extreme long shot, but the subject isn’t quite as far away, and more details are visible. Typically, the subject can be seen from head to toe but does not fill the screen from top to bottom.

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The environment or surroundings are also crucial for the long shot. Of course, the character is a more significant part of the scene as compared to the extreme long shot, but the scenery is still essential. And just like the extreme long shot, the long shot can also be used as an establishing shot.

Long Shot

Full Shot

The full shot shows the subject from head to toe, but unlike the long shot, the subject will almost fill the height of the frame. While the scenery or environment is still clearly visible, the subject is the primary focus of the full shot. The details and action will be more visible in the full shot than long or extreme long shots.

Full Shot


The cowboy shot shows the subject from the thighs up. It gets its name from Western movies when the actors were filmed in this way so their guns and holsters would be visible. At this point, the subject is the complete focus of the shot, and the background or environment is of less significance.

Cowboy Shot

Medium Shot

The medium shot shows the subject from the waist up. As we get closer to the subject, more detail is visible. Medium shots are very commonly used, especially during dialog.

Medium Shot

Medium Close-Up

The medium close-up typically shows the subject from the chest up. It’s closer than the medium shot but not as tight as the close-up. At this distance, the expressions and emotions of the subject are on full display.

Medium Close Up


In a close-up shot, the subject’s face or head will almost completely fill the frame from top to bottom. As a result, details and emotions are even more visible and more powerful.

Of course, close-ups can also be used for other parts of the body like a hand or a foot, or for subjects other than people.

Close Up

Extreme Close-Up

In an extreme close-up, the subject completely fills the screen. The shot may focus on a specific part of the face, like the eyes or the mouth. Extreme close-ups are intense, and at times, almost uncomfortable.

Extreme Close Up


If you’re a Vecteezy contributor, think about how people will use the clips you create. Consider the different shot types and capture footage that will serve a specific role or purpose.

If you’re producing a video and looking for affordable ways to get the clips you need, be sure to search or browse our collection of 4K stock videos. With talented contributors from all around the world, you’ll find shots of all kinds.

Lead image by boom15th744836.