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In film, a shot is a continuous strip of motion picture film, created of a series of frames, that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. It generally portrays a subject, though a blank screen can also be considered a shot. Shots are filmed with a single camera and are of variable duration. Shots are compared to words with each frame being a letter and scenes being sentences.

Cutting between shots taken at different times by different cameras is known as film editing, and is one of the central arts of filmmaking.

The length of shots is an important consideration that can greatly affect a film. When used they can have an effect of making a scene seem far more realistic, as this is how people normally see the world. Due to the rapidity of cuts in most western movies longer shots can make a scene seem more relaxed and slower placed.

Ending a shot can also be used to conceal special effect tricks. Audiences come to be aware of these tricks and for maximum effect many directors use continuous shots to enhance an effect. For instance in Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron used mirrors and an identical twin so that Arnold Schwarzenegger could act and then have his head opened in one shot.

Despite these benefits long shots, which are known as slow cutting, are difficult to do as any error would force the filmmaker to restart from scratch. They are thus only occasionally used. Films famous for their long cuts including Alfred Hitchcock's Rope that only cuts at the end of each reel, and does so surreptitiously so that it seems as the whole film is one take. A film that was actually a single take is the recent Russian Ark.

Conversely many short shots, known as fast cutting, can be used to make a scene seem more energetic or dramatic. Scenes of violence, such as the famous shower scene in Psycho use rapid cuts. One film famous for using a huge number of short cuts is Requiem for a Dream. Short cuts also have the disadvantage of being time consuming and expensive taking many hours to set up and require careful coordination to gain maximum effect, and if used without precision, rapid cutting can become disorienting.

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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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