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Boy in classroom positioning a camera

Camera positioning

Just as important as the shot you choose, and whether your camera is static or moving, is the position of the camera when the shot is taken. The camera position (also known as camera angle) impacts on the way we interpret a film sequence.

Imagine, for example, a silhouetted figure framed by a doorway. This is a classic horror shot and the camera is usually positioned at a low angle, looking up at the character looming above. The camera may also be canted (slanted) which adds to the audience’s sense that things are ‘off-kilter’ or awry.

Take a look at the camera angles below to familiarise yourself with their names and how they might be used. The Camera Angles worksheet is also available to download.

Top shot/Bird’s eye view

Top shot/Birds eye view is filmed from above the characters to give the audience an overview of the setting.

Worm’s eye view

Worm's eye view is filmed from ground level, looking up at the character, to create a dramatic effect.

Low angle

Low angle shot is filmed from below eye level which may make the character appear larger or more powerful.

High angle

High angle shot is filmed from above eye level which may make your character appear smaller or more vulnerable.

Eye level

Eye level shot is filmed at the character's eye level, creating a neutral position to allow the audience to become comfortable with the characters

Think about the one-shot film you created in Week 1. What different angles or movements could you have used to improve your film? Think about the effect each particular angle/movement would have on the audience’s perspective of the subject. How could your film be enhanced if it were expanded into a five-shot film using different shots and angles?

Post your comments in the Comments section.

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This article is from the free online course:

Filmmaking and Animation Online and in the Classroom

Into Film