Film Theory 101: Establishing Shot

July 12, 2011 3 Comments

How do we know where we are or are supposed to be in a movie?  New York?  Ah yes..there’s the Statue of Liberty!  Paris..oui…there’s the Eiffel Tower.  Now we know where our characters are…”An establishing shot sets up(establishes the context) for a scene by showing the relationship between its important figures and objects.  It is generally a long or extrem long shot at the beginning of a scene indication where and sometimes when the remainder of the scene takes place.” (from Wikipedia)

Film Theory 101
3 Comments to “Film Theory 101: Establishing Shot”
  1. Bruce Russell says:

    I’ve heard that there are certain conventions in film. For instance, if your film contains scenes of both NY and Miami, you can’t depict Miami as being north of NY. Is that true? And are there other conventions like this?

  2. jolyn says:

    Yes..there are many conventions used to create a sense of continuity…this is in fact called continuity editing and is one of the hallmark s of standard Hollywood filmmaking designed to create a sense of seamlessmess between shots…directors use techniques such as eyeline match as well…early filmmakers such as Kuleshov realized that the audience could be fooled pr manipulated by the expectations of the establishing shot into thinking rhey were somewhere else …new wave directors like Goddard subbverted all challlenge the concept of linearity and other bourgeois ideals..jolyn

  3. Bruce Russell says:

    OK, but I meant to ask something more specific. In the case I cited, the convention implies that the fictional world must correspond in the appropriate way to the real world with respect to relative location. Are there other such conventions, that is, ones that put constraints on the fictional world in virtue of what is the case in the real world?

    I don’t know what “eyeline match” means!

Leave a Reply



Fresh from the Toronto Film Festival

The TIFF screens are darkened in Toronto. The past two weeks allowed nearly 400,00 fortunate cinephiles to view over...

First Update/Summary from the TIFF

The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing.  Those of us fortunate enough to join the Detroit...

Coursera and the Reel Deal Mind Join Again on September 2 for: Scandinavian Film and Television!

    Does your Bergman filmography feel Im-Personna?   Do you wonder if there is more “at stake” to...