A Medium Long Shot is a camera shot that is primarily from the waist up. It was invented in the late 1800s and remains popular today in both film and television.

In film, there are three types of medium long shots:

  • the Medium Mid Shot (medium length of body shown, showing head and above),
  • the Medium Long Shot (medium length of body shown, showing head to toes), and
  • the Full Long Shot (the entire length of a character’s body is shown).


medium long shot

What Is a medium long shot?

A medium long shot is a type of camera shot in which a significant amount of the subject is visible.

In this shot, the audience can see the physical space between the character and objects around him.

The medium long shot is used to establish where action takes place in film and television 

In a medium long shot, a person might take up anywhere from a third to two-thirds of the frame. This type of shot captures both movements and gestures — like walking or gesturing with hands — as well as facial expressions.

The medium long shot is used extensively in films to show the location where the action takes place and establish the relationship between characters in a scene.



What Is A Medium Long Shot?

A medium long shot, also sometimes called a “full shot,” offers an opportunity for a filmmaker to add more depth and detail to the scene by including all of the characters present in the show.

While it might sound like the equivalent of just another pretty picture, it actually serves a purpose.

As its name suggests, the medium long shot (MS) falls somewhere between the medium shot (“MS”) and the long shot or “wide shot” (“WS”).

Under normal circumstances, you’ll see it appear as either the first or second take in a sequence of shots that center on just one character or action.

It can also be used as a transitional device to introduce some action that will take place later in the scene (such as introducing an actor who will be speaking later).

The mid-range distance allows both characters and objects to be clearly seen, while at the same time not distracting viewers from what is going on.

What Is A Medium Long Shot Used For?

The Medium Long shot is typically used to show a character on top of a building, a skyscraper or even a mountain. The camera has to be pretty high up as well.

The perspective makes the building look tiny and makes it feel like the character is very small and insignificant. A character can also be looking up at something great in the distance.


The Medium Long Shot is used for a wide range of applications within the maritime industry. It is most commonly used for its ability to provide a wide view of the surrounding environment.

This makes it especially useful at night, when it can function as an effective searchlight and aid in the detection and identification of objects in the ocean or on land.

The Medium Long Shot is a medium close-up which evolves from the Wide Shot. The “Medium” focuses on the subject and his immediate surrounding environment.

A visual transition from the Wide Shot, we can assume that the action has come closer to us. 

Cowboy Medium Long Shot In Film

A medium long shot is a camera angle showing between the waist and the knees of a subject. The Cowboy Medium Long Shot In Film video shows clips from films in which medium long shots are used, as well as similar shots in which larger angles or closer shots are used.

This video was filmed using an HD camcorder and software such as iMovie and Final Cut Pro.

If you are looking for the right cowboy medium long shot, this article is going to help a lot. It all starts with choosing the right lighting, then there is the camera angles and finally, but not least, is having the props.

This innovative new accessory from Cowboy Studio makes shooting a medium to long shot in film or digital easier than ever.

Designed for use with any standard studio light and reflector setup, this device gives you the ability to shoot medium and long shots without having to constantly move your light stand.

You can take a ride in the chair of Harry or Mildred Sturtevant, the stars of my first film Cowboy Bash (1922). Using their own camera, they recorded the action from their own point-of-view.

This powerful medium long shot shows them moving across the open range to meet a couple friends under a billowing tent where they’re holding a cowboy party.

Medium Long Shot

The Medium Long Shot is the perfect pad for all your curves. Sturdy foam construction in a lightweight package ensures stability and easy transport, while the removable cover makes clean up a cinch.

The Medium Long Shot is designed to fit most standard tables, so there is no wrong way to use it.

The Medium Long Shot is a medium size, long distance camera shot that can be used to show an entire scene or use the medium part of the shot to focus on an actor, while a long lens focuses on details of the set or props. Details include (omitted for demonstration purposes):

The main changes in the Medium Long Shot are a slightly higher camera position and a longer focal length. The lower camera position helps prevent whipping your arm back and forth between short and long shots.

The longer focal distance creates a greater DoF (depth of field).

The Medium Long Shot is great for beginners because the arc of the ball is longer and more forgiving. It’s a little bit easier to bridge the gap between the Medium and Long Shots since you’re able to ‘set up’ further from your target.

A medium shot of the entire family in front of the lake, a long shot of the kids screaming as they go down a waterslide, and a close-up of the camera on a monopod being passed around so everyone gets a chance to shoot.

Reasons Cinematographers Choose Medium Long Shots

Medium long shots are the first choice for cinematographers for many reasons. The main benefit of a medium long shot is that it allows you to see the actor’s entire body (or most of it) from head to toe.

The camera can be higher up or down. Anything between 2/3a body and full head will be visible.

Mid and long shots are very common in films. They provide a sense of scale, place, size and movement that is harder to achieve with close ups.

The following list provides possible reasons why cinematographers choose medium and long shots rather than close ups.

Contact us if you would like any help finding the right shots for any style of film.

As a cinematographer, you want your footage to get noticed. Using medium long shots can help your story line and add character to your actors.

You will want to avoid extreme close-ups or else the scene may look congested or the message will not be evident.

It is safe to say that medium long shots are the most practical and widely used focal length of the three options because it gives full body shots of the actors in context with their environment.

A medium long shot is a popular choice for many cinematographers, because it’s a versatile length that doesn’t make the audience feel too far away from the action, but it also gives them some good details and composition to look at.

Reasons Cinematographers Choose Medium Shots

When considering the amount of coverage to use on a scene, there tends to be two schools of thought.

One of them is that the director should shoot more than enough coverage for their film, the other is that there should only be enough coverage for one cut. So what does a cinematographer prefer?

Read on and learn some specific reasons why shooting with medium shots may be an excellent idea for your film.

Cinematographers choose medium shots for several reasons. The medium shot creates a scene that is not too close, not too general and retains intimacy and perspective.

The size of the characters or actors appearing in this shot can also be utilized by the director to bring emphasis to who, what or where the story is focusing upon.

We all know that shooting a film or video with a “normal” lens can be hard. You are always struggling for the correct framing and risk cutting off heads or loosing important pieces of action.

And then it happens– someone in the shot moves, or you want to change the angle of viewing and need to reposition the camera quickly.

With an 80 degree horizontal tilt range, from straight ahead to almost straight down, medium shots become simply the next logical step between wide shots and close-ups.

Medium Shots And How They’re Used

When it comes to filmmaking, the medium shot is just about as basic as it gets.

Every film, from big budget blockbusters to home movies, uses this shot variation at some point or another so in the interest of conserving the valuable time and brain power of our readers, we thought we’d write a quick little guide on simply how medium shots work.

Are you looking for tips on how to use Medium Shots in your videos? In this guide, learn what medium shots are, how to create them, and how to find them.

Make sure to check out the various analyses included for even more audio mixing information!

Medium shots (or medium-long shots) are used to show people doing their thing, as it’s typically not the sort of scene that can be easily condensed into a close-up or wide shot. They’re an excellent choice for establishing a setting or a character’s surroundings.

Plus, they can also be edited to create dramatic effects similar to those achieved by breaking the 180-degree rule.

Defining medium shot is not as easy as it might seem. Even though the name of this type of camera shot refers to the distance from which the shot is taken, how you interpret that information can be a little more complicated.

Creative Uses Of The Medium Shot

Have you ever photographed a model who had this blank stare like what are you doing? Have you ever wondered how to use the medium shot in your photography?

This video will share with you some creative ways that I have used the medium shot in my work.

In filmmaking, the medium shot is any shot which is neither a close-up nor a long shot. Film teachers often instruct their students to “get in the medium” when they are filming a scene, meaning that they should compose at a height which will not produce unflattering results.

A good frame of reference for understanding medium shots is to think about using this lens from your own perspective; placing your subject somewhere between you and your own nose.

You want to use a medium shot, but you don’t know how. Not exactly; you know what you want the audience to see, but now what?

The truth is, there’s a lot of ways to turn your idea into a visual.

Great Medium Long Shot Examples In Films

Welcome to the complete list of great medium long shot examples in films.

Medium long shots are one of the three main types of long shots, where the camera is not so far away as to include most or all of the characters in frame, but not close enough that they’re occupying a small part of the frame—they should be in proportion.

A medium long shot is a camera shooting that is one of the three basic types of film shots. It is between a close up and a long shot but allows more room to show the subject in detail than a close-up.

You know how some movies, or even scenes, just have that one special feel to it, that grabs you and draws you in. What really makes that scene so great? How is the dialogue written?

How is the acting? What is the Director doing with the Thriller? 

Long shots show the vastness of a large space and look great in sweeping landscape or cityscape shots. These three filmmaking/editing tricks will help you achieve this camera angle and know how they were used in classic films.

Medium Shot Example: “The Hunger Games”

In 2012, “The Hunger Games” was released. The film is based on a novel by the same name written by author Suzanne Collins.

The novel is the first in a trilogy (Collins later decided to split the final book into two films). “The Hunger Games” follows Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take place in the games.

These games are violent and purposeful, as they are a facade for revenge against the government. Katniss quickly becomes a symbol for hope that can outsmart The Capitol and their evil game makers.

Audiences enjoyed this feature because it explored themes of morality, sacrifice, and human nature.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Two story lines involving two groups of teens from different socio-economic backgrounds are being led by their districts in a fight to the death.

Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be a tribute for District 12 in the 75th annual Hunger Games in order to support her family.

After many casualties, she emerges as the winner and is awarded with a life of luxury. She realizes that this sort of power can be dangerous and makes it her mission to start a revolution in Panem.