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The Establishing Shot

Film directors use different types of camera shots for specific purposes. An establishing shot is an image shown briefly at the beginning of a scene, usually taken from far away, that is used to provide context for the rest of the scene. One purpose of the establishing shot is to communicate background information to the viewer, such as the setting—where and when the rest of the scene will occur. It also establishes the mood or feeling of the scene. Due to the context that the establishing shot provides, the characters and events that are shown next are better understood by the viewer.

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The reading passage defines establishing shot as a beginning scene of a movie which is usually shot far away and provides context for the audience. The professor brings up an example to illustrate this. He explains a starting scene of a movie that he watched before. The movie started with a scene of a big city with tall buildings, skyscrapers, the cars in the streets were old fashioned, maybe related to 1940s. The city scene was dark, rainy and foggy and there was no sunlight. The only light was related to street lamps. This dark and gloomy scene made the professor think that the events in the movie would be dark and mysterious. When the detectives were talking in the office, the professor’s background of the movie made him to imagine that the office is located in a tall building, in a big city some time in 1940s.