Follow TV Tropes


Camera Tricks

Go To
If I miss, I'll end up on the cutting room floor.
This is an assortment of things the camera can do in visual media. You can probably think of a few like slow motion, stop motion, split screen, and forced perspective, but there are hundreds of effects. Look at our list below, and be amazed at what your fellow Tropers have noticed being done with cameras. And if you notice one we've missed, we encourage you to edit this page and add it to our collection of wisdom.

Compare Photography and Illustration and Various Video Game Views. See also Formats, Lighting Tropes, and Montages.


  • Adrenaline Time - Use of regular speed and high speed or slow speed filming in the same scene
  • Alone in a Crowd- Standing while a crowd passes around you
  • Aspect Ratio Switch - Intentionally changing aspect ratios, for example from 4:3 to 16:9
  • Astronomic Zoom - A very long shot covering a huge change of area, for example, focusing on a house, then zooming into a blade of grass, or showing the earth, then zooming out to other planets or galaxies
  • Back Blocking - When a person's back fills up most or all of the screen
  • Background Body Part - Framing a character to look like they have an unusual body part, such as horns.
  • Background Halo - Placing a silhouette of light around (or above) a person's head
  • Advertisement:
  • Between My Legs - A shot taken between someone's legs
  • Binocular Shot - A shot appearing to be through binoculars
  • Bullet Time - Camera moves around the scene as the image is in slow motion
  • Camera Abuse - Shaking or apparent damage to the camera
  • Camera Chase - Approaching the camera or having the camera follow the person as they walk
  • Camera Sniper - Subject of an image appears as if in the sights of a sniper rifle
  • Chroma Key - Using a solid color background (like blue or green screen) in the background to allow other visuals to show in place of the screen behind the person(s) or thing(s)
  • Circular Drive - Drive or move objects or people in a circle around the camera to make it look like there are lots more things than there actually are
  • Close-Up on Head - Extreme close up on head, often followed by a backup reveal showing an unusual view behind it
  • Advertisement:
  • Color Wash - Oversaturation of colors or a change of palette as an effect
  • Compartment Shot - view of a container being opened from inside the container
  • Cucoloris - Use of a flat opaque object with holes in it for light diffusion
  • Cue the Billiard Shot - close up of someone shooting pool
  • Cut Apart - Scene in which a cutaway produces an effect not what the viewer expected
  • Crystal Clear Picture - The view of a television image is much sharper than normally expected
  • Demonic Head Shake - A person's head moves in an unusual or very fast speed
  • Desolation Shot - View of abandoned city or other ruined or otherwise trashed area
  • Discretion Shot - Something implied but not actually shown
  • Double Vision - Someone playing two or more roles so they can appear to be in two or more places at once.
  • "Down Here!" Shot - Looking down at someone small
  • Driving a Desk - Sitting at a stationary object while the appearance of motion occurs behind them
  • Dutch Angle - Shots taken from a slanted/tilted camera angle
  • Eat the Camera - Camera zooms into someone's mouth
  • Epic Tracking Shot - camera movement that defies typical expectations, with unusual complexity, length or "impossible" movement
  • Extreme Close-Up - cameras zoom up to the face of the character in focus, sometimes zooming right in their eyes
  • Eyedscreen - Specialized focus on something, by using black bars on the area of the screen above and below it
  • Face Framed in Shadow - A face half-covered by shadow,
  • False Camera Effects - A shot that looks as if it had been filmed on a set with an actual camera using an unusual lens or other camera trick.
  • Fake Video Camera View - Video appears to be through the viewfinder of a camera as if we were watching someone the camera is recording
  • Filming for Easy Dub- Making sure the character's mouth can't be scene so potentially different dialogue can be dubbed in later
  • Fish-Eye Lens - extremely wide-angle lens used to produce a sense of disorientation
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending - Something in the decides to start flying, and comes straight at the camera
  • Flyaway Shot - Camera slowly zooms out and gives an aerial view of the setting
  • Forced Perspective - exploitation of the camera's 2-D vision so that close objects appear larger and distant objects appear smaller
  • Framed Subject - The subject, usually a person, is framed by something in the background
  • Gaussian Girl - Person shot through a soft-focus filter, a piece of translucent plastic, or blurry material such as vaseline smeared on the lens
  • "The Graduate" Homage Shot - Person looking through a window at a wedding banging on the glass and calling the name of the bride or groom
  • Grasp the Sun - Character who is about to attempt some superhuman feat reaches out towards a celestial object with their hand, as if to grasp it
  • Half-Empty Two-Shot - A shot of one character is composed asymmetrically, as if the character is in a two-shot with an invisible second character
  • Hand of Death - Horror film-style view of a hand or a pair of hands, and possibly the murder weapon itself
  • Hat-and-Coat Shot - Let the audience know that the story is over and it is time to grab your hat and coat and go home
  • Hollywood Darkness - A character switches off the last light in the room, a vaguely bluish weak light switches on
  • Holy Backlight - A character is lit from behind by a blinding light, usually making the figure indistinct
  • Huddle Shot - characters form a huddle; the camera POV switches, looking directly upward at the characters' heads
  • In-Camera Effects - Effects the camera itself produces, such as black-and-white in a color camera
  • Impairment Shot - Camera trick used to indicate that the character whose POV we are seeing is drugged, poisoned, sick, injured, or otherwise incapacitated
  • An Insert - Close-up shot of hands, a document, a murder weapon, and so on
  • Insert Cameo - An Insert of the creator's hand (or, rarely, some other body part), usually standing in for that of one of the regular actors
  • In-Universe Camera - camera actually present in the "world" of the story
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot - Juxtaposing half the face or body of two characters in the middle or putting them beside each other and showing only half of each person
  • Kuleshov Effect - A single dull facial expression taking on deeper meanings based on context
  • Lens Flare - Glare causing a chain of circles, on an imaginary line from the object through the center of the frame
  • Low-Angle Empty World Shot - Shot intended to make a crowded or busy area look deserted
  • Matte Shot - Filming in front of a painting, most often used to portray a non-existent vista
  • Medium Two-Shot - A shot of two characters, framing their head and torso
  • Melting-Film Effect - Appearing as if the film being watched is melting
  • Menacing Hand Shot - Framing shot meant to dramatically show that one character means to threaten or attack another
  • Mood Lighting - Use of filters or digital post-processing to change the tint of the film
  • Mouthscreen - A person's mouth and lips are pretty much all showing on the screen
  • Motion Blur - Indicate that something is moving really fast by showing it as just a blur
  • Multi-Take Cut - The exact same action filmed from various angles then edited together with Jump Cuts
  • Nostril Shot - Close-up shot taken from a low position upward toward the actors, so as to flaunt their nostrils
  • One-Eyed Shot - One-Eyed Shot is a camera trick where a person's eye is shown onscreen
  • The Oner - One very long, uninterrupted camera shot
  • Orbital Kiss - Two characters kiss, and the camera rotates a full 360 degrees around them as this happens
  • Orbital Shot - One subject around whom the camera circles, so as to provide a rotating view from all sides
  • Over the Shoulder - Frames a dialog speaker with the shoulder and back of the head of the character being spoken to
  • Overcrank - Frame rate at which the film is being shot is higher than normal, so that when played back at a normal speed the action is in slow motion
  • Paddleball Shot - Playing with 3D effects by making people and objects appear to reach out from the screen at the audience
  • "Pan from the Sky" Beginning - The view pans down from the sky at the beginning of an episode or movie.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending - Used at the end of an episode or movie, wherein the view pans up to the sky upon conclusion of a story arc
  • Picture-Perfect Presentation - Focus at a picture of a location or scene, then the photo dissolves into a view of the identical spot
  • Plummet Perspective - Someone is hanging on a ledge when an unimportant object falls, the camera moves into position to show it falling hundreds of feet
  • Puzzle Pan - When a video game has a complex puzzle to solve, the game's camera will frequently pan around the screen, silently tracing the correct route
  • Rack Focus - Changing the point of focus from one character or object in frame, to another character or object that is closer to or more distant from the camera
  • Raster Vision - Flicker caused by the mismatch between the framerate the video being recorded is at and the framerate of a TV set or other video onscreen
  • Reaction Shot - Character says or does something and the camera cuts away to another character to show them react
  • Red Filter of Doom - Where everything shifts to a basically white-red-black spectrum, is often used to facilitate a change in mood
  • Repeat Cut - The same action, line, or brief exchange is shown more than once in immediate repetition
  • Reveal Shot - A partial view of a scene expands to show something else, which significantly changes the situation
  • Roundabout Shot - Character (or several) would spin around; while they are doing this, said character(s) is/are shown in close-up
  • Round Table Shot - Character focused in at a table when the camera rotates left or right to the next character
  • Scream Discretion Shot - Something horrible is visited upon a character but the viewer doesn't see it directly
  • Screen Shake - Shake the screen to emphasize what is happening
  • Second Person Attack - Someone attacks the victim through the POV of that victim
  • Shadow Discretion Shot - Alluding to something bad or unpleasant by showing it in shadow
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam - Using the camera to represent the POV of some fast-moving object or creature
  • Shot/Reverse Shot - Repeated Over the Shoulder shots interrupted by the occasional Medium Two-Shot
  • Skyward Scream - Camera is placed directly over the actor, pointing down, while the actor looks up into the camera or at the sky overhead and screams
  • Slow-Motion Drop - character receives some shocking news, causing them to drop something, and we follow its fall in slow motion
  • Slow-Motion Fall - A person falling backwards (or forwards) in slow-motion
  • Slow-Motion Pass-By - Two persons/vehicles pass by each other in opposite directions and the video is slowed down
  • Snowy Screen of Death - Screens giving a visual feed have gone full of static
  • Social Semi-Circle - Characters sit in an awkward semi-circle around a table so as to avoid anyone sitting with their backs to the camera/audience
  • Split Diopter - A filter that works similar to a magnifying glass, making a lens focus closer
  • Split Screen - Showing two or more people in different locations onscreen at the same time
  • Split-Screen Phone Call - Both people on a phone call are shown simultaneously
  • Split-Screen Reaction - To show the reactions of all involved in some event, the screen is split into sections
  • "Spread Wings" Frame Shot - A character is framed so it appears to sprout wings
  • Stairwell Chase - Someone is being chased up or down a flight of stairs
  • Staggered Zoom - Three or more shots, varying in distance but focused on the same point, cut together rapidly
  • Stalker Shot - The camera reveals someone stalking another character without their knowledge
  • Stop Motion - Animate models, one frame at a time
  • Stop Trick - Stop the camera, change or add something to the shot, and start it again with everything else in the same positions
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion - Visual metaphor where a person is passively submerged in an ocean, pool, or other body of water for symbolic reasons
  • Talking Heads
  • Three Cameras
  • Time Lapse
  • Tracking Shot
  • Traitor Shot
  • Trunk Shot
  • Undercrank
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting
  • Unreveal Angle
  • Vertigo Effect
  • Visible Boom Mic
  • Walk and Talk
  • Warm Place, Warm Lighting - Using an unnatural orange or yellow Color Wash to denote a setting's heat
  • Wet-for-Dry
  • Whip Pan
  • Widescreen Shot

Various kinds of "Cams"

Standard shot mechanics and terms



Alternative Title(s): Camera Tropes