Arc Shots and 360-degree Tracking Shots

Ever since I saw Moonlight I have been noticing arc shots more and more in film.  They are a common device in the filmmakers tool bag, but I decided to find out what I could about them.  By definition, an arc shot is a camera technique where the camera circles around the subject in a semi-circle, or arc.  To visualize this, imagine that you are the subject and you are standing still and holding onto a length of string.  The other end of the string is connected to a camera that is facing you.  The camera then spins around you and maintains the same distance. It can move vertically up and down, but it stays the same distance away.  A 360-degree tracking shot is an arc shot that rotates a full 360 degrees.  This can create more complex and engaging scene’s by creating movement and changing the background.  Arc shots can also be used to mark transitions, create suspense, add intensity or emotionality to a scene and much more.