Skip main navigation

Introduction to camera positioning

An introduction to camera positioning and images too.
Two girls outside adjusting their camera on a tripod ready for filming
© Into Film 2015

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.

© Into Film 2015
This article is from the free online

Teaching Literacy Through Film

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education