If you’ve already taken the plunge into video production and marketing, good thinking. If you’re still holding out, trust us, it’s time to get into it. No matter your mission or message nor the specific kinds of viewers you’re trying to connect with, video can help.
However, whether you haven’t started creating video yet, you’re new to the process, or you’ve been at it for a while, things have changed. Viewers know what they want and what they don’t want, and any old video won’t cut it anymore.
But as NY / NJ video production pros, it’s our job to set our videos apart from the rest, and to know of all the tricks and tools that can help us do it. Camera angles are one of those tools, and the choices you make in that area may have bigger consequences than you think.
The angle is more than just a viewpoint.
Yes, the angle at which you choose to shoot your subject(s) will dictate the way viewers see it and whatever else is on screen, obviously, but that’s not all your choice of camera angle will do for them.
There’s more information being supplied, namely emotional information. The angle helps to set the mood and tone of the scene, and it’s not like you have to be a film buff to feel the effects.
We’ve all been watching films and videos for a long time now, in one way or another, and in that time we’ve become conditioned to interpret certain messages and meanings from certain camera angles.
So, whether you believe it or not, the bottom line is that the angle at which you choose to point the camera in your film or video will send very clear messages to the audience about what’s on screen and how they should feel about it.
The highs and lows.
You may just think it looks kind of cool to shoot your subject(s) from high or low angles rather than eye level, and you’re right. It can be really cool, but like any other creative choice, it should be motivated.
So, why shoot at a high angle? Basically, high-angle shots make the subject(s) look or appear smaller, weaker, and/or more vulnerable. They can help to give the subject a more sympathetic look, too.
And shooting from a low angle has the exact opposite effect. It makes the subject appear larger and more dominant, powerful, sinister even, which is why it’s a great way to empower the subject(s) or establish him or her as an antagonist.
Now, the degree of the high or low angle you choose will obviously alter the effects. That’s why extreme low or high angles tend to be used more sporadically. The effects can be overpowering.
All the way up.
There is something of a limit to how high you can take your high-angle shots and still have the same effects. Go all the way up, and you end up with an overhead shot. That has an effect all its own.
The overhead angle, or the bird’s-eye view, doesn’t tend to make the subject(s) look weak, smaller or vulnerable. Well, it can; it’s just that that’s not the overall emotional impact. Overhead shots tend to put the focus more on the space than the subjects.
The result is unique, as it gives viewers a somewhat unnatural point of view. Think about it, it’s not how people tend to look at things, so it immediately lets them know that they’re seeing things this way for a reason.
What is that reason? It may be to give viewers an idea of the positions and/or movements of multiple subjects on screen or possibly to show them something that the characters cannot see. Or it could be to show an entire landscape or all the action happening at once.
The dutch and POV camera angles.
From there, you can shoot your subject(s) from a slanted angle, aka a dutch angle, and take it from us as longtime NY / NJ video production pros, it has an emotional impact all its own.
Similar to how the overhead shot lets viewers know that something’s unnatural and that there’s therefore a reason they’re seeing things this way, the dutch angle gives them an immediate hint that something’s off.
But with the dutch angle, it’s not about getting a lay of the land or seeing the whole scope of action. It’s about messing with the balance of the frame and giving viewers the feeling that something’s not just off, but wrong, strange even.
You can also choose to treat the camera like the eyes or mind of a character in the scene with a POV or subjective shot, which will give viewers the sense of being the characters and experiencing what’s happening to them on screen, first hand.
It’s about more than just perspective.
Then there’s the eye-level angle, which allows the viewer to relate to the subject(s) on screen on a more intimate, personal level. It helps them identify with the state of the subject and his or her experience in the video.
The bottom line, though, is that the angle at which you choose to shoot your subject(s) does far more than just alter the way the audience sees it. Yes, you can just worry about getting everything in frame, but that’s a wasted opportunity.
If you know how to properly use different angles to convey different moods and emotions, then it’s just another tool to add to the tool box, and a highly useful one at that.
For more on how to use the camera to convey emotion in general, check out this post, How to Use the Camera to Convey Emotion on Your Film & Video Productions.
About Us: KVibe Productions, a New York/New Jersey full-service film & video production company, can handle every aspect of the production process. Whether it’s a commercial, corporate video, or a feature film, etc., at KVibe, we always create to inspire.