Bit of a rant this I’m afraid, but since the decline of the traditional shoulder mount camera there has been an annoying (to me at least) shift of the standard shot shooting angle from eye height to chest hight. The upshot of this is that once upon a time the majority of shots looked directly into the talents eyes from a normal eye level, so it mimicked what most of us see with our own eyes, day in day out. But now with more and more cameras being used hand-held at chest or even waist height a very large percentage of shots end up looking up peoples noses rather than straight into their faces.
Don’t get me wrong, when the shot benefits for creative reasons from being shot at a low angle I have no objections whatsoever. But I really don’t like looking up someones nose just because its harder to hold the camera at eye level. What’s more I’m starting to see this phenomenon creep in to ever more shots as tripods get used at lower levels because camera operators are used to, or find it easier to look down at their LCD screens.
Camera gimbals and stabilisers are also helping this trend as the camera is often used hung below the handles, handles held at chest height, so now we have cameras at waist level or even groin level. One of the great things about the original stedicam is that the camera ended up at around eye level, so during a walking-talking shot you had the impression that you were walking with the subject, not grovelling along on your hands and knees.
So, please everyone, consider this when your setting up your shots, which looks better, eye level or lower than eye level and then adjust your shooting height to get the best shot. Consider getting a monopod to help you hand hold your camera a bit higher or one of the many other contraptions available today that will help you support your camera at eye level.
2 thoughts on “Look in to my eye’s….Not up my nose!”
Alister I agree with your comments, thanks you for posting/ranting!
I have also always hated the hold the camera at waist level style of film making. Very popular with the shooting producer! Recent camera form factor hasn’t helped either, making many cameras very difficult to hand hold for long periods of time without a rig. The simplest solution, as you say, is a decent monopod. I got one about a year ago and found it liberating, quick to use and can get my camera in places that were previously very difficult to achieve.
Are you likely to look at the GH4? I would be very interested to hear you opinions.
I couldn’t agree more. Some rules are meant to be broken. And some are there for a very good reason.
My questions is: Did you mean to drop this pun into this piece? ” The UPSHOT of this is that once….” That was pretty sly.