Good Camera skills and techniques is a vital part of the filming production, as it not only is absolutely necessary for a quality film production, but it is also responsible for communicating to the audience what is going on in the film in a clear, understandable yet visually appealing way. Three very essential camera techniques that are used in all filming productions are the 180 degree rule, the over the shoulder shot, the shot reverse shot and the match on action.
The 180 degree rule, or the line of action is a key concept that is absolutely essential for any filmmaker to know. It can be explained as an imaginary line drawn through a scene to connect the two opposite sides of action. In his blog, Tom Barrance rightly stated that it is used to help the audience understand exactly where everything is positioned in a particular scene. The best way display this line of action is to have a picture of two people facing each other at a birds eye angle. The line would go straight through the two peoples heads, thus, from one side of the scene to the other. When filming an over the shoulder, shot reverse shot of these two people, where ever one decides to place the camera, it must stay on that side of the line of action throughout the scene, as if it is randomly switched to the opposite side of the 180 degree line, the position of where the characters are supposed to be will be confused.
IMAGE 1: This image displays the line of action, and where the cameras were chosen to be positioned when filming the over the shoulder shot. (Film Riot 2012)
Furthermore, having understood the 180 degree rule, it is easier to apply and understand the over the shoulder shot. This is a shot that is filmed, quite frankly, over the shoulder of one character to show who he/she is looking at. It is meant to act as a third person who is looking over the shoulder of one actor to look at another. It establishes the position of each person in the scene. This shot helps to establish the position of each person, and “get the feel of looking” at one person from the other’s point of view. They also create a feeling of intimacy and involve the audience in the story. This is illustrated in the images below .
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Moreover, Shot Reverse Shot is mainly used for dialog between two characters. This technique also uses the 180 degree rule. The film historian David Bordwell defines the film technique “wherein one character is shown looking (often off-screen) at another character, and then the other character is shown looking “back” at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer unconsciously assumes that they are looking at each other.” (Bordwell) . The video clip below illustrates this perfectly.
Lastly, Match On Action has a lot to do with the editing as well as the filming of a shot. It involves one shot cutting to another shot, therefore presenting the action in the first shot. This links the two scenes and creates a feeling of continuity. It is often described as a “visual bridge which draws the attention away from the slight cutting continuity issues” (joe940 Match on action, 180 rule, shot reverse shot).
In the practical part of this section, the task was to create a storyboard of a scene where two people confront each other, and then take still pictures to illustrate it. This assignment was meant to portray the 180 degree rule (line of action), the over the shoulder shot, the shot reverse shot and the match on action shot.
These pictures illustrate an over the shoulder shot.
This picture, as well as the previous and next one, show a shot reverse shot.
This picture and the one that follows show a Match On Action Shot, as while this one shows one of the characters raising her hand to in preparation to slap the other…
Tom Barrance (2016). The 180 degree rule, looking space and eyeline match. Available at: http://learnaboutfilm.com/film-language/sequence/180-degree-rule/. Accessed 12/10/16)
Online Film School (2016) Cinematography, 180 degree rule. Available at: http://production.4filmmaking.com/cinematography4.html. (Accessed 12/10/16)
Film Riot (2012) Quick Tips: Understanding The 180 Degree Rule! Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bba7raSvvRo. (Accessed 12/10/16)
LAVideoFilmmaker.com (2016) How to Frame Over-the-Shoulder shots: a Detailed Guide, with Pretty Pictures! Available at: http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/filmmaking/how-to-frame-over-the-shoulder-shots-detailed-guide.html (Accessed 12/10/16)
aotg.com (2016) For the Sake of Conversation: On shot reverse shot. (Available at 12/10/16)http://www.aotg.com/index.php?page=shotreverseshot. (Accessed 12/10/16)
Image 1: Film Riot (2012) Quick Tips: Understanding The 180 Degree Rule! Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bba7raSvvRo. (Accessed 12/10/16)
Image 2: Film Riot (2012) Quick Tips: Understanding The 180 Degree Rule! Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bba7raSvvRo. (Accessed 12/10/16)
CohanDigitmatta (2009) Syriana – Corruption Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuBstLZINco. (Accessed 12/10/16)
tumblr_inline_mtupjbeYjI1qeknve (2016) Available at: http://tentaklingon.tumblr.com/post/62542200853/the-180-degree-rule. (Accessed 12/10/16)
tumblr_inline_mtupmfnVyi1qeknve (2016) Available at: http://tentaklingon.tumblr.com/post/62542200853/the-180-degree-rule. (Accessed 12/10/16)