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Transcript of Camera Angles
Birds eye / Overhead
Dutch Angle (Slanted)
By: Alexis Shelswell and eMILY KIM
Types of camera angles
The angle of the camera during a scene can create the mood, reveal vital information, create relationships between characters and develop both the characters and story line. The camera angle gives a viewpoint from a physical location, but also gives emotional information to the viewer to guide their judgment about the character or object in the shot. The camera angle also helps to determine the response of the audience or viewer and provides a better understanding of the film itself.
A low angle is a camera angle that looks up at a character when shot. It makes a character appear to be larger (useful for short actors) and indicates that he/she is more powerful, confident, important or even a bully. It can make the viewer or audience feel empathy if they are viewing from another characters point of view or feel fear and insecurity as the viewer is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.
A good example of when a low angle is used is in Mean Girls. When talking to her parents (top image on the left), Cady is portrayed as being smaller and younger although she is sixteen. This shows how she feels when her parents are talking to her and the audience are immediately filled with sympathy towards her.
Another example from Mean Girls (bottom image on the left) is when the camera is positioned on a low angle to make Cady's teacher and fellow students appear more dominant, portraying Cady and being the weakest.
Near the end of the film, the viewers notice that the low angle isn't used as much showing that the character, Cady, is growing up/becoming more confident.
A dutch angle (also known as a dutch tilt) is where a camera is purposely tilted to one side so that the character or horizon is on an angle. This positions the viewer to feel the confusion of a character while creating an interesting and dramatic effect. It also helps portray psychological uneasiness such as: disorientation, frantic or desperate action, intoxication, madness, etc.
A good example of when this was used is in the Batman series. They used the dutch angle extensively in the series and in the 1966 movie, they had a different dutch angle for every villain.
The dutch angle was also frequently used by directors that have a background in the visual arts such as Tim Burton (in Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood) and Terry Gilliam (in Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Las Vegas, etc.) to represent disorientation, madness and/or drug psychosis.
Dutch angle used in Scream
Dutch angle used in Batman
A high angle is taken with the camera placed in a position above pointing downwards at the subject in motion pictures and photography. This means that the camera man is raised above the action to get a high angle shot. This makes the subject (character or object) that you are focused on smaller and insignificant. This action becomes part of a wider scale. This position the character to look weak, submissive or frightened.
(2006), A high angle was employed to make the little girl appear weak and scared (bottom photo to the left).
* This angle is similar to the Bird's-eye view but not as high up/extreme
In the Matrix (1999), a high angle is positioned over Neo, which pins him in the office space portraying him as trapped (top photo on the left).
A bird's-eye view is an image gained when the position of the observer is significantly higher than that of the subject. It shows the scene from a directly overhead, unnatural and strange angle. It is an elevated view of an object from above as the perspective as though the observer were a bird. The bird's eye view angle is very useful in sports, documentaries, etc.
This makes the subject appear short and gives an overall establishing shot of a scene to emphasize how small or insignificant the subject(s) is/are. This angle is normally used for battle scenes or establishing where a character is.
King Kong, 2005
An eye level angle is one in which the camera is placed at the subjects height. It is a fairly neutral shot and the most common view. When filming, they place the camera in a position as though the character is observing a scene.
It is used to indicate that the character is on equal footing with the audience, suggesting reality. It also shows that the character has no dramatic power whatsoever, thus making this angle ideal for comedies and news castings as we would expect to see them in real life.
The apartment, 1960
As seen in the film clip that you have just viewed, we can see and pick out the different angles that we have just learnt about.
The eye level angle suggested that James Bond was on equal footing with the audience, suggesting reality. It also showed that Bond had no dramatic power.
The low angle is used at the beginning of the film clip to show the whole scene (when Bond is playing poker). It was also used when Bond was observing the drink, portraying it as an important part of the scene as he was poisoned.
The Dutch angle portrayed Bond to be under psychological uneasiness when he was disorientated and in frantic action (while in the toilets).
The High angle made the action in the film clip become part of a wider scale, portraying James Bond to look weak.