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Shot Coverage: Composition and Framing
Shot Coverage: Composition and Framing

Details about various composition and framing shot options to tell a visual story.

Misha Tenenbaum avatar
Written by Misha Tenenbaum
Updated over a week ago

Besides the size of a shot, directors also need to determine how the shot will be framed and composed. Framing means the placement and position of the camera. Composition refers to who and what can be seen within the frame of the shot.


A Single Shot is when there is only one character in the frame. This shot allows the audience to focus solely on one character. A single can be a CU to see their emotions, or WS, to see their relation to the scene's environment.

Single Character Shot


A Two-Shot is when there are two characters in the frame. This shot lets you see the orientation, meaning where they stand, and the interaction between the two characters.

Two Character Shot


An Over The Shoulder shot shows a character from behind the shoulder of another character. This shot is a common composition during dialogue scenes so that the editor can cut back and forth between both characters' OTS shots. It can allow an audience to see the connection and space between characters.

Over The Shoulder Shot (OTS)


A Point of View shot shows what a character is looking at, making the audience feel like they are watching the action directly through the eyes of the character.

Point of View Shot


Insert shots are close-ups/extreme close-ups that emphasize a particular object inside a scene that is crucial to the story.

Insert Shot


A Cutaway is a shot with additional details to enhance the story but not directly related to the main action in the scene. This shot is used to "cutaway" from the main action to give more visual information to the scene and story.

Cutaway Shot


Shot Reverse Shot is when two similarly framed but reverse shots are cut together to connect the characters. This shot type is a traditional setup for dialogue scenes.

A reverse shot is also known as a Complementary Shot, and together they are called Complementary Angles.

Shot Reverse shot

A Reaction Shot shows a character's reaction to someone or something that occurred in the previous shot. Typically, a character reacts to a line of dialogue, a physical action that another character makes, to an obstacle in the scene they have encountered. You can learn more about reaction shots here.

Reaction Shot

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