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Two girls outside adjusting their camera on a tripod ready for filming

Introduction to camera positioning

Another facet of camera work that can have a big impact on our interpretation of a shot is the position of the camera.

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 positions below to familiarise yourself with their names and how they might be used.

Top shot/Bird's eye view - A bird's eye view shot is film from above the characters. Filming from this angle can give the audience an overview of setting. High angle - A high angle shot is filmed from above eye level. Filming from this angle may make your character appear smaller or more vulnerable. Eye level - An eye level shot is filmed at the character's eye level. Filming from this angle is usually a neutral position and allows the audience to become comfortable with the characters. Low angle - A low angle shot is filmed from below eye level. Filming from this angle may make the character appear larger or more powerful. Worm's eye view - A worm's eye view is filmed from ground level, looking up at the character. Filming from this angle creates a dramatic effect.

Can you identify any of the camera positions in stand-out scenes from some of your favourite movies?

Add to the comments section below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Literacy Through Film

The British Film Institute (BFI)

Get a taste of this course

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