In photography, filmmaking and video production, a long shot (sometimes referred to as a full shot or wide shot) typically shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings. These are typically shot now using wide-angle lenses (an approximately 25 mm lens in 35 mm photography and 10 mm lens in 16 mm photography). However, due to sheer distance, establishing shots and extremely wide shots can use almost any camera type.
There are a variety of ways of framing that are considered as being wide shots; these include:
Wide shot (WS) – The subject comfortably takes up the whole frame. In the case of a person, head to toe. This usually achieves a clear physical representation of a character and can describe the surroundings as it is usually visible within the frame. This results in the audience having a desired (by the director) view/opinion of the character or location.
Very wide shot (VWS) – The subject is only just visible in the location. This can find a balance between a ‘wide shot’ and an ‘Extreme Wide Shot’ by keeping an emphasis on both the characters and the environment almost finding a harmony between the two of them. Enabling the ability to use the benefits of both type, by allowing the scale of the environment but also maintaining an element of focus on the character(s) or object(s) in frame.
Extreme wide shot (EWS) – The shot is so far away from the subject that they are no longer visible. This is used to create a sense of a character being lost or almost engulfed by the sheer size of their surroundings. Which can result in a character being made small or insignificant due to their situation/surroundings.
Establishing shot (ES) – A shot typically used to display a location and is usually the first shot in a new scene. These establish the setting of a film, whether that is the physical location or the time period. But mainly it gives a sense of place to the film and brings the viewer to wherever the story requires them to.
Master Shot (MS) – This shot can be commonly mistaken for an establishing shot as it displays key characters and locations. However, it is actually a shot in which all relevant characters are in frame (usually for the whole duration of the scene). With inter cut shots of other characters to shift focus. This is a very useful method for retaining audience focus as most shots in this style refrain from using cuts and therefore will keep the performances and the dialogue in the forefront of what is going on for the duration of the scene.