The distance from the camera to the subject greatly affects the narrative power of a shot. The three basic kinds of shots are long shots, medium shots, and close-ups; more specific examples include the extreme long shot, the aerial shot, the bird's eye shot, the crane shot, the establishing shot, the freeze frame shot, the insert shot, the master shot, the over the shoulder shot, the point of view shot, and the two shot. There is even an American shot, a characterization from French film criticism for a type of shot in certain American films of the 1930s in film and 1940s in film.
Cutting between shots taken at different times is known as film editing, and is one of the central arts of filmmaking.
The average shot length (ASL) of a film is one of its cinemetrical measures. For example, The Mist has a length of 117 minutes and consists of 1292 shots, so the ASL is 5.4 seconds. For US films released in 2007 it was on average 2.5 seconds.
Shots with extremely long durations are difficult to do because any error in the shot would force the filmmaker to restart from scratch. They are thus only occasionally used. Films famous for their long cuts include Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather in which the entire first scene is a long take featuring Buonasera describing a murder which occurred, Alfred Hitchcock's Rope that only cuts at the end of each reel, and does so surreptitiously so that it seems as the whole film is one take. A film that was actually a single take is the recent Russian Ark. Joss Whedon's feature film Serenity introduces the main characters with a long take.