Camera angles

It is important that you do not confuse camera angles and camera shots. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of setting, themes and characters. Camera angles are used to position the viewer so that they can understand the relationships between the characters. These are very important for shaping meaning in film as well as in other visual texts.

The following examples will help you to understand the differences between the different camera angles



A bird’s eye angle is an angle that looks directly down upon a scene. It is a very unnatural and strange angle and puts the audience in a godlike position, looking down on the action. People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things. This angle is often used as an establishing angle, along with an extreme long shot, to establish setting.






A high angle is a camera angle that looks down upon a subject. It is not as extreme as the bird`s eye angle. A character shot with a high angle will look vulnerable or small. The camera is elevated above the action using a crane to give a general overview. This type of angle often used to demonstrate to the audience a perspective of a particular character.




An eye-level angle also known as a neutral angle puts the audience on an equal footing with the character/s. The camera is placed in such a way that it seems as if a human is actually observing a scene. This is done by placing the camera five to six feet from the ground. Let it be known that this angle is the most commonly used angle in films because it allows the viewers to feel comfortable with the characters.




A low angle is a camera angle that looks up at a character. This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character. This can help the responder feel empathy if they are viewing the frame from another character’s point of view.


Another camera angle that you might come across is a Dutch angle.



A Dutch angle is used to demonstrate the confusion of a character. Sometimes the camera is tilted (ie is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability (very popular in horror movies). This technique is used to suggest POINT-OF-View shots (ie when the camera becomes the ‘eyes’ of one particular character,seeing what they see.


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