Camera Techniques

180 degree rule

The 180 degree rule is ultimately a cinematic technique which can act as a guideline that two characters in a scene should keep to the same 180 degree side of the camera throughout the shot to maintain consistency. Through crossing over this line or even changing the angle to be left or right of the camera and it can change the audiences perspective on what’s happening and confuse them.

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‘180 Degree Rule’ Wikipedia (2016) 

Shot Reverse Shot

Shot reverse shot is a film technique used usually to show a conversation with two people in which the camera will go back and forth between each character, showing both their perspectives when each character is looking at the other.

‘Shot reverse shot’ Tal. S (2013)

Over The Shoulder Shot

An over the shoulder shot is when the shot is taken from the perspective of over the shoulder of another person. The back of the persons sholder and their head is what frames the shot and is usually used to show two people having a conversation, howevr can be used if the character was looking at a background or something else. It can be used to create an almost third perspective from the cameras POV which can allow viewers to feel like theyre involved.


‘POV and over the shoulder shots’ Baird. O (2015)

Match On Action                                                

Match on action refers to a film editing technique in which the editor cuts from one shot to another shot that will match the action of the first shot so that it makes sense to the audience. For example someone walking up to the door and turning the knob, before opening the door and entering the room

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‘Match on action and 180 rule’ Shaw. J (2012)


We created a brief story board before carrying out our task so that we could plan out each shot before actually taking them. This ensured that when it came to carrying out the task we could make sure all the shots we needed to include were part of the story. The first planned shot was an establishing shot to show the audience the situation and the 180 degree angle. The next two shots we planned were over he shoulder shots of both characters to highlight the fact that they are having a conversation and o show their emotions, one being angry he other being surprised. The next two planned shots were shot reverse shots to show the conversation from both character’s perspectives. Lastly we planned two match on match action shots to emphasise the slap and prepare the audience through the camera work.


The Practical Task

180 degree rule


We started out with an establishing shot to introduce the characters and clearly show the background as well as it being a 180 degree shot. We also used a wide angle shot to ensure everything we would want the audience to see was in shot. This also clearly shows that one of the characters is angry which would prepare the audience for what is about to happen. We chose to keep the characters to the right hand 180 degrees of the camera so we would have an effective background and once we had decided which side of the camera we were filming on we had to make sure we kept this consistent throughout the rest of the shots.

Over The Shoulder Shot


We then took an over the shoulder shot from the innocent character’s perspective, allowing the audience to see the expression on the girl’s face more clearly, emphasising her anger. The OTS shot also emphasises it being a conversation as we can see the shoulder and head of the character being spoken to and the camera almost acts as a third perspective so that the audience feels they are watching the conversation first hand.

Over The Shoulder Shot


We then took an over the shoulder shot from the angry character’s perspective, to show the other girl’s facial expressions and body language more clearly.  From her hands you can tell she doesn’t know what’s going on and her facial expressions look confused. I decided to use a high camera angle to show the angry characters dominance over the character she’s talking to as it makes the other girl look inferior.

Shot Reverse Shot


We then went on to shoot the shot reverse shot photos in attempt to show the conversation from both characters perspective. We decided to place the camera closer to the subject’s  face in order for this idea to come across. Personally I feel these photos were slightly too similar to the OTS shots and if I was to re-do the shot reverse shots I would place the camera closer up to the character and less to the side so that the pictures look more like they’re from the other perspective.

Shot Reverse Shot


We then took the other shot reverse shot, switching the perspective to the innocent character’s. If we were to have actually filmed this the camera would have gone back and forth between the two characters more than twice to show the different perspectives a few different times throughout the whole scene to emphasise the fact that the characters are talking to each other.

Match On Action    


We then attempted to create some match on action shots for when the character slaps the other in the face. I decided to do one shot focused on her hand before the slap and then another of her slapping her face to prepare the audience for what is about to happen.

Match On Action    


As you can see from this shot, the action in this matches the action from the picture before which was our way of showing match on match action. This is done in order to make the action make more sense to the audience, if there had not been a shot showing her hand about to slap her the end shot may have seen to be out of nowhere and have confused the audience. I don’t feel that these shots show match on action as well as they could as we already know the character was angry so without seeing the before shot of her hand, the slap may still have made sense.  I feel that what went well throughout the task was that we kept all the shots within the same 180 degree angle of the camera that we picked for our first shot so the continuity was consistent throughout all the shots, making sure that if this was a video the audience wouldn’t get confused by changing angles and it doesn’t look like one character is talking to themselves.

Harvard Reference

‘180 Degree Rule’ Wikipedia (2016) – Last accessed 19/10/16

‘Shot reverse shot’ Tal. S (2013) – Last accessed 19/10/16

‘POV and over the shoulder shots’ Baird. O (2015) – Last accessed 19/10/16

‘Match on action and 180 rule’ Shaw. J (2012) – Last accessed 19/10/16

‘The 180 degree rule, looking space and eyeline match’ Barrance. T  (2013-16)  – Last accessed 19/10/16