What Is a 50-50 Shot in a Film?

In filmmaking, the term 50/50 shot refers to a scene that portrays two actors sharing the frame, generally facing each other. This type of shot always captures the action from a profile vantage point. So while a 50/50 shot is a form of two-shot framing, it’s more than simply placing two people anywhere in a scene.

How To Position the Camera for a 50/50 Shot

There are no rules regarding camera distance in 50/50 shots, making this type of filmmaking powerful for expressing creative vision.

  • Long shot: This distance allows you to show two archenemies preparing to do battle, or a war-torn hero running to a lover’s arms after years away.

  • Full shot: Provide an objective narrative of a conversation between two main characters.

  • Medium-long or medium shot: Framing from the knees or waist up is common in 50/50 takes, offering facial detail while allowing the camera to capture body language and movement. This is useful for portraying arguments or opposition.

  • Medium close up or close up: Most frequently used in romantic scenes — especially the moments leading up to and including a stellar kiss — close ups with 50/50 framing let the audience see the reaction of two characters simultaneously.

  • Extreme close up: Best used sparingly, this type of shot is very memorable. It shows one character invading the other’s personal space, often uninvited, such as an alien’s sharp teeth too close for comfort.

Advantages of 50/50 Shots

Here’s what a 50/50 shot can do for your directing:

  • Provide an emotionless narrative: Profile shots are useful for political themes and espionage thrillers where the plot is more important than what the characters are feeling.

  • Stand out with eye-catching framing: Their striking nature and smart use of the background often makes these shots unforgettable in films.

Some famous filmmakers use this style frequently as a personal signature, while others prefer more intimate portraits via over-the-shoulder storytelling.

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