It shows the relationship between people and objects, and establishes the scene’s geography.
Use wide shots and/or aerial shots for geography Show the relationship between characters and the story world Set the tone and mood of a scene - can help foreshadow Show the passing of time
This shot does two things. First, it establishes geography and location. We are introduced to where we are in the scene - the hotel’s dining room. With a wide, high angle, we see the two men, their relation to each other, and their relation to the rest of the ridiculously sized, and otherwise, completely empty room. Which brings me to the second thing this shot does… It establishes tone and mood. This shot is both ridiculous and humorous. It matches the film’s fun and lighthearted tone. In the video above, we have a completely different establishing shot example from The Grand Budapest Hotel, that sticks to this tone. This consistency is inherent in each shot choice Wes Anderson makes.
There are some filmmakers that use the establishing shot in unique ways. They still establish location and tone, but in a way that’s a bit... inverted. The iconic director, Stanley Kubrick has a habit of twisting and turning the audience's minds faster than they realize it's happening. So then let’s take a look at the opening shot in Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s starts as a wide shot, pushing in, taking the audience on a ride through the mountains. Maybe an indication of where the film will take place...
The vast mountain ranges, and rivers abound, initially suggests a kind of freedom, openness, maybe a film about the great outdoors! Instead, this establishing shot serves as a narrative juxtaposition to where it actually leads.
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