Shot Reverse Shot : Easy Definitive Guide


Filmmaking is an art. It involves story, ideation, plot, screenwriting, casting and so many other steps. It is like creating visuals of what is in your head. We often see films with brilliant concepts getting flopped on a big screen. So many times, we have felt that the story was nice, but they failed in presenting the concept on-screen. 

How to shoot shot reverse shot

This is why good direction is one of the most important factors in the filmmaking process, and to make the vision of a director live on the screen, shooting plays a very crucial role. Your viewer should be able to interpret exactly what you are trying to show, from emotions, ideas to movements. A film basically comprises of series of shots.

In filmmaking, shots are an important part of production and editing. In simple terms, shots are basically everything you get after rolling a camera. Different camera angles and shots are very important for a good narration, to create a theme, to set a mood and put life into your film.

Cinematographers and directors have their unique ways of shooting each scene so that it could deliver the right message, feel and expressions. How the scene is going to be shot is a creative process and varies according to the director’s vision and creativity of a cameraman. 



  • Full Shots
  • Wide Shots
  • Medium Shots
  • Long Shots
  • Extreme long Shots
  • Close-up Shots
  • Extreme Close-up shots

In addition to these shots, there are some more advanced shots involves in filmmaking, including cowboy shots, reaction shots, over-the-shoulder shots, dolly shots, zoom shots, Pan shots, tilt shots, point of view shots, shot reverse shots etc. In this guide, we are going to focus on shot-reverse shots.


A Shot Reverse Shot is used in the scenes where the director wants to show that one character is looking at another character and then that other character is looking back at the first character. It is more like action-reaction shots. Shot Reverse Shots are mostly preferred to shoot scenes with dialogues where two characters are looking at each other.

How to shoot shot reverse shot

For example, you want to shoot a dialogue sequence between two characters, ‘X’ and ‘Y’. You shoot ‘X’ first looking at ‘Y’, and then there will be an off-screen or over-the-shoulder Shot. And now you shoot ‘Y’ looking at ‘X’ followed by again off-screen or over-the-shoulder shot. Shot Reverse Shots are for maintaining continuity to make the scene look like it is happening in real life. 


At first you need to have a good understanding of the 180-degree rule and over-the-shoulder shot to know how to shoot shot reverse shot. 


According to the 180-degree rule, a cameraperson needs to imagine a straight line between two characters. A camera should stay on one side of this line to establish the connection between characters and to make clear where everyone is located in the scene for the audience. 

How to shoot shot reverse shot


In an over-the-shoulder shot, you take the front of one character and the back of another one in the frame. The audience gets to see the face of one character and the other one's back, shoulder, and head.

If you are good with over-the-shoulder shots and 180-degree line rule, it becomes fairly easy to shoot shot-reverse shots with help of a camcorder. There are a few basic techniques you can keep in mind while shooting a shot-reverse-shot. It all depends on your creativity and vision of how versatile you can get this shot.

  • You need to have at least two cameras.
  • Rest both the cameras on an imaginary 180-degree line
  • Both the cameras will first focus on one specific actor in the scene.
  • Now take over-the-shoulder shot effectively.
  • Then shift focus on another character.
  • You can use different lightings or even complete darkness to set a particular theme.
  • In some movies, we have seen a character talking to its alter-ego. Cinematographers have effectively used a mirror to create this scene on-screen by using an over-the-shoulder shot first and then reverse-shot where the rest of the conversation has been shot in the mirror reflection.
  • A skilled cameraperson can shot versatile shot-reverse-shots using smooth movements of the camera.
  • You can shot beautiful shot-reverse-shots by changing the frames while you need to keep the camera still. Yan can place characters on opposite sides in the frame. Focus on one character first, and then without moving, the camera takes another character in the frame.
  • You can use the Dutch angle to capture the shot-reverse-shots more creatively


Shot-reverse-shot makes the scenes more dynamic, robust and powerful. Your audience gets to know about the tone, theme, story, characters more closely. It establishes the connection between two characters and makes the scene real and visually appealing.

You should watch and refer to some classic shot-reverse-shot scenes from Hollywood movies like the opening scene of “The Godfather”, mirror conversation scene from “Spiderman 2002”, meeting scene between Jordan Belfort and Mark Hanna in “The Wolf of Wall Street’’ etc. With experimentation and continuous practice, you will see your shots getting improved day by day.


I'm Xavier. I am a professional writer and blogger. It all started when I fell in love with my camera, which was presented to me when I was ten as a birthday gift. Since then, I wanted to become a cinematographer and also succeeded in that. So I am here researching and reviewing the filmmaking gadgets and giving out my top gadgets from the market.I hope you find my review articles interesting and helpful.

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