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What is a Two Shot: Camera Movement Examples

The two-shot camera movement is a variation that involves the use of the camera to comfortably capture two people in the scene. There are several variations of this, such as the three-shot, the four-shot and the one-shot. Each involves the use of the camera to shoot the characters on the scene and the number corresponds to the number of characters in the shot. But what is the point of a two-shot and how does it work?

What is a Two-Shot?

A two-shot refers to the number of subjects in view of the camera when the shot is taken. The subjects are not necessarily sided by side or next to each other for a two-shot scene. In fact, there may be a subject in the foreground and one in the distant background. The two-shot reference is used to show that there is an emotional reaction between the two characters in the scene.

Two shot scenes are usually used to evoke a sense of romance or a sense of high tension in the film. When characters are feeling obligated to do something, a two-shot may be used to show the tension running between the two. This type of camera shoot can also be used to portray an action between two characters in the film.

Directors use the two-shot to show reactions between characters. For instance, if there is a sense of scandal between the two characters in the scene, the two-shot can be used to show how each character reacts.

Commonality of Two-Shots

Originating on television, two-shot scenes soon became commonplace in movies too. The two-shot is now seen in various forms of cinema. For instance, the “two-shot west” can be used to reference a two-shot scene in which the two characters face away from each other such that both of the characters look as if they are facing the audience directly.

Many two shots in cinema are used to help the audience understand exactly what’s happening between two characters. A two-shot west brings you into the scene alongside the characters. This is another answer to the common question, “What is a two-shot?”

A two-shot is often used with various angles to add a level of character importance and refinement to the scene. In a single shot, with two characters, the director can get a powerful point across and the audience can gather a significant amount of detail in just a single scene.

What is a Three Shot?

Much like a two-shot, the three-shot focuses on characters, but there are three characters instead of two. The three-shot situates each character in a way that allows the audience to visualize the emotions of all three characters.

Some three-shots are filmed with the characters in a single file line in which each character in line plays on the emotions of the audience in a different, and impactful manner.

What is a Four Shot?

If a two-shot is two characters, and a three-shot is three characters, then a four-shot must be–you guessed it! A four-shot includes four characters in the scene.

It’s usually pretty easy to pack four characters into a scene side by side and, in films that incorporate the four-shot, capturing all four characters in the scene is a critical element to bringing the audience into the exact moment and element of the storyline.

The four-shot, just like the two-shot and the three-shot, allows the audience to see the emotions of each character at the same time. This is great for scenes in which each character is reacting from the actions or emotions of another character.

Four shots are common in comedy scenes and help filmmakers further connect the audience with the various feelings and emotions of the characters in the film.

Consider Team Beverly Boy

Next time you ask, “What is a two-shot?,” in reference to a camera movement, consider the various examples provided above to help you further understand how each of these different camera movements works. Need help producing one-shot, two-shot or three-shot productions? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call for help!