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Old January 28th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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Choosing High-Angle / Low-Angle Shots

I am pretty confident in my shot framing, but one thing that I don’t fell I have a really firm grasp on is when a good time for a high-angle or low-angle shot. I am just rarely-to-never inspired to do it. (mostly here I am talking about shooting people, not objects.) It probably doesn’t help my inspiration that a lot of this that I see turns me off a bit… but every once in a while someone lays out a low-angle shot on someone that blows me away – mostly because it works so well and I know I wouldn’t have made the same choice.

So I guess I’d like to here from the team here on their views of the psychology and design of these shots, and specifically:

1. When do you like to use subtle low-angles?
2. When do you like to use extreme low-angles?
3. When do you like to use subtle high-angles?
4. When do you like to use extreme high-angles?

Thanks…
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Old January 29th, 2005, 08:08 PM   #2
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for the stuff i do (shorts, weddings and corporate) heres my response.


1. When do you like to use subtle low-angles?
hidden camera-esqu shots, sinister backlit compositions, i never use a full wide shot when im low, unless its a danc routine at a wedding or concert.
I also use mid/low angles for corporate profiles, as it conveys the feeling of "looking up" at someone, and the senior managers love this kind of thing as it gives them that sense of height.

2. When do you like to use extreme low-angles?

use a 0.3 wide from the ground up to a vehicle, building, or dancing couple at a wedding. more of an effect/atmospheric angle than anything of real use.

3. When do you like to use subtle high-angles?

vox pops, cake cuts, numerous shots really... can be rpetty much used for anythign..


4. When do you like to use extreme high-angles?

more sinister type "spying on them" voyersistic shots. Actualy its another one of those cutaway type shots thats effective if used sparingly...
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Old January 30th, 2005, 07:23 AM   #3
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Peter,

Thanks for the input... that's all good stuff.

I have usually thought about the subtle low-angle shot as suggesting power as well. I agree with all of what you said, actually.

It was interesting that I asked the question when I did, because last night I went to see "In Good Company." It used a lot of subtle low-angle stuff... seemed like maybe 1/4 of the conversations were that way... I couldn't really find a commone theme in them, really.

One thing I thought of though, is that in addition to the changed viewing angle on the characters you also get to see the ceiling. I thought of this particularly in that movie when the Quaid character met the man replacing him... they were shaking hands and all the shots - the two shot and the two close-ups - were low angle ones. It made me wonder if being able to see the ceiling is part of the psychological effect they were after.

Of course, being able to see the ceiling can be tough on the set people too...

Any one else want to chime in?
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Old January 30th, 2005, 07:47 AM   #4
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Keep in mind that not every technique needs to be used and can
totally depend on your content and style what works or doesn't
in a movie.

I think low angles are used a lot for dramatic effect, to make a
greater impact on something or have someone look larger / more
dramatic etc. High angles seem to be used more to give a grand
feeling or show scope etc. with sweeping shots and whatnot.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 06:59 PM   #5
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try crossing the line once awhile. interesting shot are interesting because we don't get to see it with our 45 degree viewing angle.

ed
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