In this article, we are going to look at what low angle shots suggest in filmmaking.
As a cinematographer, it is very important for you to understand and use a variety of shots when filming all your projects.
The end goal is to ensure you are able to create compelling and interesting footages that will keep your audience at the edge of their seats when they are watching your finished work.
Imagine if you were watching a whole movie that was shot in one angle position; there is no way you are going to understand every detail that is ongoing in the film.
And that is the reason cinematographers, since the begin the beginning; have been using several shot angles to interpret every footage they shot.
Now one of those type of shot angles is known as a low angle shot. And I am going to show you what it suggests in this article,
But before we do so, let us look at the meaning of a low angle shot.
What is a low angle shot?
A low angle shot is any type of camera angle shot that you can take from a position that is low on the vertical axis.
This is any shot angle that the cinematographer takes while looking up from an eye angle.
This type of shot angle can begin from just a few inches below a subject to the ground beneath his or her feet.
In the end, this shot will look as if the cinematographer is lying down while taking the shot or he is shooting a subject on top of a cliff.
What do low angle shots suggest?
You might all along be asking this question: what do low angle shots suggest?
And to simply answer that question, low angle shots are typically used to make a subject appear or look more stronger and powerful.
And unlike the close-up shot that reveals the facials of the subject; the low angle shot normally will reveal the whole subject.
Below are other ways you can use a low angle shot.
- To create an illusion of height.
- Helps you to create depth of field
- Used to isolate your subjects.
- To make your subject visible to viewers
- You can use a low angle shot to make your subject vulnerable.
1. To create an illusion of height.
If you want your subject to appear taller or shorter than they are; you can use a low angle shot to create an illusion of height.
The simple way to do this is to position the camera below the level of the subject; and take your shot.
Depending on where you place the camera; if the subject was shorter, as per height; this technique is going to it look much more taller. And if they were taller, it will make them look much more shorter.
2. Helps you to create depth of field.
Depth of field (DoF) is defined as the distance between the closest and farthest subjects in a scene.
Thus, when shooting, your subjects may seem to be closer or farther from each other. And instead of telling them to adjust their positions; you can use the low angle shot to achieve whatever depth of field you intend for them.
3. Used to isolate your subjects.
At times, you might want your subjects to remain alone or apart from each other. And it is the low angle shot that will help you to achieve that.
Therefore, you need to look for a position that you are going to use to achieve this.
4. To make a part of your subject visible to viewers.
At times, it may be hard trying to use a wide or close-up shot; or any type of other shots to try and show a part of your subject.
Thus, if you want a certain part of your subject to be visible enough to your viewers; the shot type you are going to use to achieve that is a low angle shot.
5. You can use a low angle shot to make your subject vulnerable.
Depending on your story line, the need might arise for your subject to be or enter a certain harm or attack.
So if you want the viewers to be sympathetic towards your subject; you can place the camera from under him and take a low angle shot.
Variations of the low angle shot.
There are several variations of the low angle shot and some of them include:
- Low-Angle Establishing Shot.
- Extreme low angle.
Low angle establishing shot.
Low angle establishing shot is a type of camera angle that reveals the whole landscape or area of the scene.
You can achieve this type of shot by placing the camera on the ground and shoot against your subject.
You can use this shot angles in films, TV show episodes, and video games.
If you want to establish a mood or theme in a particular scene, this shot angle is going to be ideal for you.
Extreme low angle.
The extreme low angle shot is a kind of camera technique cinematographers can use to draw the viewer’s attention to the foreground of the scene.
They usually achieve this by placing the subject in a position they wouldn’t have been normally.
Consequently, an extreme low-angle shot is going to have most or all the subject shooting up at us, and this usually makes the audience feel as if they are on the same level as the subjects in front of them.
How to take a low angle shot.
You can take a low angle shot by placing your camera below a subject and looking up towards him.
You can as well place your camera on its back on the ground in a tilted postition or better still, put it on a stool or chair that you are standing next to.
Also, you can go down on your knees or have someone hold up the camera, and take the shot from the ground up against the subject.
The intention of this kind of shot is always to make the person or thing appear more dominating and powerful.
As a matter of fact, you can use the low angle shot to create an interesting effect with both people and objects.
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