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XLS (Extreme Long Shot)

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What is an Extreme Long Shot (XLS)

An Extreme Long Shot (XLS), also known as an Extreme Wide Shot (EWS), frames the subject from a distance and focuses on its surroundings.

The full body of a person can fit in this shot, with plenty of room left over for other things to be seen. Because it shows so much, a lot happens in an EWS shot.

In movies, the XLS helps to establish a location or setting fully. You get to see where everything happens and how all people move around there. Sometimes, this shot makes people look small if they are far away from the camera or if they are among big things like buildings or mountains.

John Ford was famous for using XLS shots in his films. They showed wide views that were very beautiful and made people seem small inside them.

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Frames the subject from a distance and focuses on the surroundings

In an extreme long shot, the camera is placed far away from the subject and captures them from head to toe.

The main focus of the shot is not on the subject itself but on their surroundings. It helps to establish the setting or show the size and expanse of a location. This shot gives viewers a sense of the environment and context in which the scene takes place.

Purpose and Usage of an Extreme Long Shot

The purpose of an Extreme Long Shot (XLS) in screenwriting is to convey contextual information to the viewer and highlight the scale of the object shown. It is commonly used in establishing the setting or indicating size.

Conveys contextualizing information to the viewer

An extreme long shot, also known as an extreme wide shot, is a camera shot used in filmmaking to show the subject and their surroundings from a distance. It is taken with the camera at a considerable distance from the subject, capturing a large area of the frame.

The purpose of this shot is to provide contextualizing information to the viewer by establishing the setting or indicating size or expanse. In an extreme long shot, the focus is on showing the surrounding environment rather than focusing on specific people or objects within it.

This type of shot allows viewers to understand and appreciate the relationship between the subject and their surroundings. Directors like John Ford often use extreme long shots in their films to convey a sense of grandeur and emphasize scale.

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Highlights the scale of the object shown

An extreme long shot (XLS) or extreme wide shot (EWS) in screenwriting is a camera technique that highlights the scale of the object or subject being shown. By capturing the entire subject from head to toe and placing them in relation to their surroundings, the XLS emphasizes how small or large they are within the frame.

This shot is commonly used in filmmaking to show vast landscapes, cityscapes, or crowd shots, giving viewers a sense of the object’s size and grandeur. The XLS helps establish the setting and provides visual variety and depth to storytelling by showcasing the subject’s relationship with its environment.

Commonly used in establishing the setting or indicating size

An extreme long shot (XLS) or extreme wide shot (EWS) is often used in filmmaking to show the surroundings of a subject and establish the setting. This shot helps the viewer understand where the story takes place and gives them an idea of the size or expanse of the location.

By framing the subject from a distance, an XLS can make people or objects appear small compared to their environment. It’s like zooming out to capture a larger picture, showing more than just close-up details.

Whether it’s a vast landscape or a crowded city street, an extreme long shot helps set the stage for what’s to come in the story.

Examples and Benefits of Using an Extreme Long Shot in Screenwriting

An extreme long shot can create a sense of grandeur and expansiveness, emphasizing the relationship between the subject and its environment. This shot provides visual variety and depth to the storytelling in screenwriting.

Creates a sense of grandeur and expansiveness

An extreme long shot or extreme wide shot creates a feeling of greatness and vastness. It shows the subject in its entirety, capturing the surrounding environment as well. This type of shot highlights the scale of what is being shown, making it appear larger than life.

By presenting a wide area of the frame, it emphasizes the relationship between the subject and its surroundings. This helps to convey a sense of grandeur and expansiveness, immersing viewers in the cinematic experience.

John Ford’s films are well-known for their use of these shots to create epic landscapes and cityscapes that leave a lasting impression on audiences.

Emphasizes the relationship between the subject and its environment

An extreme long shot (XLS) in screenwriting helps emphasize the relationship between the subject and its environment. This shot frames the subject from a distance, showing their entire body and placing them within their surroundings.

By capturing the subject in relation to their environment, such as a vast landscape or bustling cityscape, the XLS showcases how they fit into the larger picture. It highlights scale and provides visual context for viewers, creating a sense of grandeur and depth in storytelling.

John Ford’s films are known for utilizing this shot to convey this relationship effectively.

Provides visual variety and depth to the storytelling

The extreme long shot (XLS) is a powerful tool in screenwriting that provides visual variety and depth to the storytelling. By capturing the subject from a distance and focusing on their surroundings, the XLS offers a unique perspective that adds interest and richness to the narrative.

This shot allows filmmakers to showcase vast landscapes, cityscapes, or crowded places, giving viewers a sense of scale and grandeur. It also emphasizes the relationship between the subject and its environment, contributing to the overall visual storytelling experience.

Directors like John Ford have mastered using XLS shots to create breathtaking scenes that captivate audiences with their stunning visuals.

Using an extreme long shot can be an effective way to transport audiences into different worlds within your story. Whether it’s showcasing towering mountains or bustling city streets, this cinematic technique brings a level of immersion that draws viewers further into the narrative.

With its ability to convey contextualizing information and highlight object scale, the XLS is an invaluable tool for establishing settings or indicating size within your screenplay.

Incorporating this shot into your storytelling arsenal can add another layer of depth and visual interest that enhances your overall film production.

Conclusion

In conclusion, an extreme long shot (XLS) in screenwriting is a wide-angle shot that frames the subject from a distance and focuses on their surroundings. It conveys contextualizing information to the viewer and highlights the scale or expanse of what is being shown.

By utilizing an XLS, filmmakers can create a sense of grandeur, emphasize the relationship between the subject and its environment, and add visual depth to their storytelling.

FAQs

What is an XLS in screenwriting?

An XLS, or Extreme Long Shot, is a film term that means the camera is very far from the subject. It is often used as an establishing shot to show the full scenery.

How does an Extreme Long Shot differ from other shots?

Unlike close-up shots where we see details of a subject, an extreme long shot shows all of the area around them and may not even clearly show the main subject at all.

When might a filmmaker use an Extreme Long Shot?

Filmmakers can use extreme long shots when they want to give a lot of context about where something happens. It’s often used in opening shots to set the mood and tone at the start of the scene.

Can you only use Extreme Long Shots outside?

No, while many extreme long shots are exterior ones showing landscapes or city skylines, any shot that’s zoomed out enough to display whole settings could be considered an extreme long shot regardless of inside or outside placement.

Are there any special angles with Extreme Long Shots?

Extreme Long Shots offer many possible angles depending on what’s needed in your script: bird’s eye view, high angle, and wide-angle views are common choices for this type of camera distance.