Many times in filmmaking, finding the right angle for your shot will help you convey your story to the audience. The more you know about camera angles, the better equipped you’ll be to create a compelling story. Incorporating several different camera angles will also help to add dimension to seemingly stagnant scenes.
Personally, I tend to be more creative with camera angles during scenes involving dialogue, where I feel the audience needs a little help to stay in tuned with the story. This also helps retain audience attention when using inexperienced or nonprofessional actors.
THE 6 MOST COMMON CAMERA ANGLES
Here are the 6 most common camera angles used when composing a shot.
- Normal Angle - This angle is usually set at at eye level of the subject and gives the audience a natural or normal feel for the scene. Use this angle when there are no abnormalities or distractions in the scene. Comedies employ this angle very often because it does not distract the viewer from the comedic performance of the characters.
- Low Angle - A low angle is usually set below the normal angle and features the camera looking up at the subject or object. This angle can be employed when one character or object is physically or psychologically larger than another character. The subject or object that is being looked up at is usually deemed more powerful, evil, or heroic than if shot at a normal angle.
- High Angle - The high angle is usually set above the normal angle and features the camera looking down at the subject or an object. This angle is helpful when showing the audience that a specific character or object is physically or psychologically smaller than another character. With this angle, the subject or object being looked down at is revealed as weaker, smaller, or intimidated.
- Birds Eye View – This angle is used to showcase a large area or reveal a great distance between two objects. A birds eye view shot can be very creative and also add higher production value to your film. This is why quad copters or drones are becoming more popular among independent filmmakers.
- Point of View - or POV, is shot from whatever perspective the filmmaker is trying to portray to his or her audience. This can be an animal, such as a dog or bird, or an object, like a car or bullet. Basically, the audience lives through the perspective of that character or object for the moment.
- Dutch Angle – An awkward angle that adds a slight tilt to the camera in one direction or the other. This angle is used to distort the perspective of the scene and can be combined with any of the five previous angles to add an awkward and uneasy feel to the scene.
By adding these six angles to your filmmaking bag of tricks, you can add creativity and dimension to your movie. Keep in mind there are a few exceptions when using each of the angles, but the end goal is creativity and entertainment.
If you want to take your Film Production Career to the next level, you can learn about camera angles and much more at F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Film School in Orlando, FL. F.I.R.S.T. Institute offers Small Classes, Hands On Learning, and Career Focused Training.