OVER THE SHOULDER- Over-the-shoulder shots are just what the name says: a shot with an actor’s shoulder in the foreground, out of focus. I will tell you right away that good over-the-shoulder shots are some of the most time-consuming to shoot correctly, because you need to make sure that there is neither too much nor too little shoulder in the frame. However, in my opinion no serious filmmaker can afford not to learn this technique because it is narratively essential in many cases. Some directors openly say that they never shoot over-the-shoulder shots precisely because it takes ages to get the look they want and frequently can’t do it at all, but in my opinion they are missing out.
TILTING SHOTS Tilting up or down is one of the simplest camera techniques there are. Due to its simplicity it tends to be overused and/or poorly executed. The truth is that well-executed tilting, combined with some interesting action and with perfect coordination between the camera operator and the action, can be incredibly elegant in their simplicity. If you want to see further examples of tilt shots and the circumstances that make them appropriate, check out pretty much any film by Steven Spielberg, especially “Schindler’s list.”
PANNING SHOTS- Panning the shot is the horizontal equivalent of tilt shots. Like tilt shots, panning shots are conceptually simple and therefore usually overused and/or poorly executed. Exactly the same best-practice considerations made for the tilt shots apply to panning shots: try and design them in such a way that you can lock off the tilt axis in order to keep the panning pure, and hire a competent camera operator, especially if your shots require precise timing and framing accuracy. Once again I will refer you to any of steven spielberg as an excellent source of well-executed panning shots, that are so well-motivated and well-executed as to be almost unnoticeable (because they draw you into the story as opposed to distracting you from it).