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4 minute read

Your Creative Video Toolkit

Just getting started with recording video? Then look at these essential cinematic techniques and learn how they can add to your story

If you own a FUJIFILM mirrorless camera, you have the power to make professional videos. Every current X Series camera is capable of recording high-quality 4K footage that’s sure to dazzle, so if you’re looking to explore the world of moving images, then you’ve made an excellent start.
 
However, there’s much more to great video than picture quality. In fact, when it comes to storytelling, the quality of the image is more of a luxury than a necessity. Creating a great video is all about how you use the camera to tell the story, and there are countless techniques from the cinema world that videographers and cinematographers use to do this.

In this article, we introduce a few cinematography techniques and explain how they help to bring your story to life. 

Shots

Long

What Is It?
A long shot is made from at least far enough away to fit a subject from head to toe within the frame and is designed to include the subject’s surrounding environment, adding context and scale.

Why Use It?
This technique is usually used to establish a scene or location and is a great way to introduce a new environment to your audience.

WATCH: Create Within Chaos | Director: Daniel Malikyar | Director of Photography: Casey Stolberg

 

Medium

What Is It?
A medium shot brings the camera even closer, framing the subject from the waist up, to provide more detail.

Why Use It?
The audience takes more notice of your subject, but you can still display some of their surroundings. For example, this could be during an interview, or maybe a group conversation.

Example of a medium shot in video. FUJIFILM Exposure Center

Example of a medium shot made for illustrative purposes only | Taken from: 'Do You Dream About Bokeh?' (link to full video below)

WATCH: Do You Dream About Bokeh?| Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

Close-Up

What Is It?
A close-up focuses on part of your subject, such as a person’s head or face, in greater detail.

Why Use It?
It’s an excellent way to engage your viewer and help them focus on details, such as facial expressions. Being this close also makes the footage more intimate and helps your audience develop a stronger emotional connection with a subject.

WATCH: Out of Office | Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Eric Vera 

 

Extreme Close-Up

What is it?
An extreme close-up is so close that a small detail fills the frame, such as a subject’s eyes, the ripples in a glass of water, or maybe a doorknob slowly turning.

Why Use It?
It brilliantly sets the atmosphere of a particular scene and it can add intimacy, impact or drama.

WATCH: Monster Glass XF8-16mmF2.8 with Daniel Malikyar | Director of Photography: Matt Taylor
WATCH: Shot On X Series: Siva Afi | Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

Movements

Zoom

What Is It?
As you may have guessed, this is the process of changing the focal length during the shot by zooming into or out of the scene.

Why Use It?
It’s a great way to emphasize an aspect of your story or add intensity. For example, slowly zooming in on a character’s face as they speak can quite literally draw your audience deeper into the story. That being said, it is important to remember that zooming can feel unnatural and should therefore be used very sparsely. Instead try to dolly (see below) wherever you can.

Example of a zoom shot in video. FUJIFILM Exposure Center

Example of a zoom made for illustrative purposes only | Taken from: ‘Out of Office’ (link to full video below)

WATCH: Out of Office | Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Eric Vera 

 

Dolly

What is it?
Dollying is the process of physically moving your camera closer or further away from your subject.

Why Use It?
You may be asking, ‘why not just zoom?’ The reason is that by moving your camera, you are not only increasing or decreasing the size of your subject in the frame, but at the same time you are changing perspective, making for a much more natural and effective result.

WATCH: Create Within Chaos | Director: Daniel Malikyar | Director of Photography: Casey Stolberg

 

Pan

What Is It?
This is when the camera swivels horizontally – from left to right, or right to left – from a fixed point.

Why Use It?
Panning has lots of different uses. You can follow a moving subject, use it quickly as a transition between scenes or to show the passage of time, or use it slowly to show the surroundings.

Example of a pan shot in video. FUJIFILM Exposure Center.

Example of a pan made for illustrative purposes only | Taken From: 'Michelle Turner On Location with the GFX 50R' (link to full video below)

WATCH: Michelle Turner On Location with the GFX 50R | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

Tilt

What Is It?
This is when the camera moves vertically – upwards or downwards – from a fixed point.

Why Use It?
Tilting is a great tool in cinematography for a variety of reasons. This type of camera movement not only works well when introducing an environment in establishing sequences, but it can raise the stature of a subject (through upwards movement) or make them seem less important (through downwards movement).

WATCH: It’s a Lover, Not a Fighter | Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

Angles

Low

What is It?
This is when your subject is framed from a position that is lower than eye level.

Why Use It?
As explained above in relation to tilting, a low angle gives your subject power and awe: your audience feel as though they are looking up at the subject.

Example of a low angle shot in video. FUJIFILM Exposure Center

Example of a low angle made for illustrative purposes only | Taken from: ‘Xtra Turbo X-T3 with Erik Valind’ (link to full video below)

WATCH: Xtra Turbo X-T3 with Erik Valind | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

High

What Is It?
This is when your subject is framed from an angle that is higher than eye level.

Why Use It?
A high angle can create the opposite feeling to a low angle. Because your audience feels like they are looking down on the subject, it can connote vulnerability or powerlessness. However, more often it is used to give the impression of space.
 

WATCH: X100V “My Milestone” – Rinzi Ruiz | Director: Phillip Vernon | Director of Photography: Elijah Guess

 

Dutch

What Is It?
Also known as the ‘Dutch tilt’, this is the left or right tilting of the camera, that would make the horizon appear diagonally across the frame.

Why Use It?
By using a Dutch angle, you can create a feeling of unease, anxiety, disorientation, intoxication, or even madness. But beware, this technique is easy to overuse and can quickly become tiresome for the audience.

Example of dutch angle shot in video. FUJIFILM Exposure Center

Example of a Dutch angle made for illustrative purposes only | Taken from: ‘Generations’ (link to full video below)

WATCH: Generations | Director: Mercedes Bryce Morgan | Director of Photography: Steve Gainer

 

Inspiration Is Everywhere

The great thing about video is that it couldn’t be easier to get inspiration. There is literally an entire lifetime of footage out there for you to study.

So, now you’re familiar with these basic video techniques, keep an eye out for them when you’re watching TV, enjoying a movie, or checking out YouTube. When you spot one, ask yourself how it’s making you feel, and consider why the director chose to use it when they did.

Compare the best FUJIFILM X Series cameras for video below, explore the full range here, or contact your nearest FUJIFILM Authorized Dealer for more information.
 

Compare the Best X Series Cameras for Video

X-A7

Max Resolution
4K/30p
Max Frame Rate
60fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
No
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
No
Weather Resistance
No
Dimensions (WxHxD)
119x67.7x41.1mm
Weight
320g

X-T200

Max Resolution
4K/30p
Max Frame Rate
60fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
No
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
Yes
Weather Resistance
No
Dimensions (WxHxD)
121x 83.7x55.1mm
Weight
370g

X-H1

Max Resolution
4K/30p
Max Frame Rate
120fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
Yes
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
No
Weather Resistance
Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD)
139.8x97.3x85.5mm
Weight
673g

X-T30

Max Resolution
DCI 4K/30p
Max Frame Rate
120fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
No
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
No
Weather Resistance
No
Dimensions (WxHxD)
118.4x82.8x46.8mm
Weight
383g

X-S10

Max Resolution
DCI 4K/30p
Max Frame Rate
240fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
Yes
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
Yes
Weather Resistance
No
Dimensions (WxHxD)
126.0x85.1x65.4mm
Weight
465g

X-T3

Max Resolution
DCI 4K/60p
Max Frame Rate
120fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
No
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
No
Weather Resistance
Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD)
132.5x92.8x58.8mm
Weight
539g

X-T4

Max Resolution
DCI 4K/60p
Max Frame Rate
240fps (Full HD)
In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
Yes
Digital Image Stabilization (DIS)
Yes
Weather Resistance
Yes
Dimensions (WxHxD)
134.6x92.8x63.8mm
Weight
607g

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