Compose your shots
Camera framing and motion help you tell a dynamic story. Every frame counts, so think hard about your camera angles, motion, and tools.
Learn ways to compose your shots and create a compelling visual story that keeps your audience glued to the screen.
Types of shots
There are three basic types of shots: wide, medium, and close up. A wide angle shot helps set up the scene and gives the viewer context. A medium shot is all-purpose and can offer clues or direct the focus of the user to what’s coming next. And a close-up shot is often used to hone in on personal, intimate conversations without distractions.
Close up shot
Frame that shot
Shot composition is simply how a shot looks through the camera lens. It can help you tell your story by focusing the audience’s attention on what you want them to see and where you want them to look. Experiment with different shot types, shooting with tools like your cell phone’s camera, a handheld camera or setting up a tripod. Try using different angles to illustrate your story and give each moment the right look and feel. Consider writing down how you want to set up the framing of each shot in your script or storyboard.
See it in action
Visual storytellingCreator Up offers tips to portray your story through the camera lens. (Video in English)
Capturing actionThis video successfully creates the effect of flying. To do this, the director placed the camera behind the hoverboard rider at 0:30, filmed from the air at 0:44 and throughout, and turned the camera around the rider at 1:13.
Move your camera and move emotions
Motion can give your video energy and often indicates a change in subject or an emotional story point. It’s not just where you move your camera, but how you move it that matters.
Tilting your camera up and down and panning to the left or right can be a subtle way to change your viewer’s focus, open or close a scene. Zooming in with your camera tells viewers, “Hey, look at this!”
Physically moving the camera creates dynamic footage. Hand movements, or shortcuts like setting your camera on a moving skateboard, can be good ways to film action. Like camera angles, it’s helpful to map out when and where the camera will be moving in the script, anticipate where your subjects will move, and imagine how viewers will experience watching the movement.
Consider trying these techniques out with a traditional camera and then see how it looks from your phone too.
See it in action
The camera in motionBrandonJLa's video uses many different moving camera techniques to achieve an action movie style. The camerawork techniques include handheld, panning, tilting, and zooming. The camera follows the character closely to make the action feel dramatic and exciting. (Video in English)
Using motion to establish a production styleThe director chose to have the characters sing directly into the camera and dance around it, which catches the audience's attention and adds humor. (Video in English)
Film on-demand with your phone
Shooting with the camera on your mobile device can be a versatile alternative if you don’t have access to a high-tech camera or if you want to film something on the fly, without needing a full crew or set-up. You can capture spontaneous moments or record an entire series on a mobile device like Jean Bookishthoughts or MikeFalzone's channels. The camera on your cell phone can also help you quickly prototype your ideas like a visual storyboard.
See it in action
Film like the BBC on your smartphoneBBC Earth Unplugged shows you ways to film in the great outdoors with your mobile device and a few cost-effective tools--many of which you can find in the kitchen. (Video in English)
MikeFalzone films on mobileYou don’t need an expensive camera setup to create a sustainable channel. Check out MikeFalzone's channel which is primarily shot on his mobile device. (Video in English)
Shoot like a movie studio with your phoneSam and Niko show you how to create cinematic-like footage on your cell phone. (Video in English)
Do videos that utilize more dynamic camera framing and motion keep your audience’s interest?Try it now
Find out if viewer are watching more of your videos with dynamic camera framing and motion with the engagement analytics report. Check your audience retention report and Engagement reports in your YouTube Analytics to see whether viewers are watching longer; they may find the videos more interesting or exciting.
Do your fans like the way you've shot motion?Try it now
Try asking your audience in the comments or in the video if they like how you’re filming--whether it’s with a mobile device, tripod, or handheld camera. What did they say? Use the feedback to help refine your shooting style and give your fans what they like.