The medium shot places the action and the characters significantly more than the wide shots. You can find there one or several characters of the head to the feet, as well as various elements of the decor. With this type of plan, the audience will really focus on the characters and their actions. The decor does more than secondary information. The medium shot allows actually to distinguish a character of what surrounds it, to focus on its physical aspect, his speed.
The medium shot can be used for many scenes such as the introduction of a character or simply to show an action that a protagonist that is already known. The duration of the average plane is then dependent on the amount of information that one wishes to communicate to the viewer or the importance of the game actor.
The angle of view, the most frequently used is the ordinary and the positioning of the horizon at eye level of the character.
A few examples
This medium comes in the middle of a fight scene between The bride, the heroine of the film, and an army of yakuza. This plan, in addition to we do discover the bride in the position of fighting, is the action. It has already killed several yakuza but they are still very numerous in the face. The fight is not over.
This medium shot shows us William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson in a bad posture, since it is surrounded by several armed soldiers. Each step it performs (well visible on the screen) the approaching of the danger to which he would have to face.
This plan could have been tightened on the girl in the red coat. Why Steven Spielberg did it chose to use a medium shot ? By showing us other characters, Germans and jews, he draws a strong contrast between them and the little girl. He makes this character even more unique and strong as if he had preferred a plan more close.
To go further
If you want to deepen your knowledge on this subject and develop your expertise, you can purchase the books “plans for the cinema : the big effects movie that every filmmaker needs to know” and “Carry out his films shot by shot“, two books that are both comprehensive and complementary in their approach.
Keywords: medium shot film, medium shot definition