Frame from "Wes Anderson // From Above"

Things no one taught us about composition and framing #3

We all know about subjective or POV (Point of View) shots. Basically, they are filmed in the character’s perspective or that of an object. Not only do they put us in the character’s shoes, seeing what they see, but they’re also a good way to change up the type of shots we’re using.

Noticing how they’re used in some TV shows – like on “Breaking Bad” -, or by some film directors, is amusing… But we’re faced with POV shots on a daily basis while we’re scrolling through feeds on our social networks.

“Breaking Bad // POV” by kogonada

Instagram and GoPro cameras…

They contributed to the growth of popularity of this kind of shots. Maybe we never really gave it any thought, but it’s true. How many pictures do we see on our feeds with this type of composition? The instagram account @ihavethisthingwithfloors shows us how this type of POV (top view) has become popular. The 434 thousand followers and over 150 thousand posts with the same hashtag that it has are proof of that.

Despite that, the great boom happened with the spread of GoPro cameras. And truth be told, it’s irresistible to film crazy subjective shots when we have an action cam in our hands. In fact, it’s what compels so many people to buy it. With the help of the accessories available for the camera, filming shots like this is easy. We can secure the camera anywhere and show a new perspective that normally we wouldn’t be able to see.

Excerpt from “GoPro Hero4: The Adventure of Life”

Excerpt from “GoPro Hero4: The Adventure of Life”

And then the drones…

Aerial views used to be such an hard thing to achieve (€€) that it would turn any project into a “large scale production”… But now it’s pretty easy to show the sky’s point of view! Drones and aerial images are getting more and more popular. With them, one can get highly cinematographic and professional results with a simple purchase of 2299€.

Excerpt from “TFS and TMK aerial cinematography reel”

Excerpt from “TFS and TMK aerial cinematography reel”

How does this influence professionals?

More and more the trump cards of large scale productions (technically speaking) are accessible to any person. With a simple DSLR you can make a high quality movie for web streaming… And if you look around, everyone has one! The same is applied to GoPro cameras, and increasingly more so with drones… And, of course, all of us are instagrammers and post our points of view. POV shots might be easily associated with amateurism but… When it’s done by someone who knows what they’re doing, the results are on a whole different level.

POV taken to the next level

Some directors are especially fond of subjective shots. Some prefer them to film them from below, others from the top. Regardless, what remains evident is that their preference becomes a trait of personality and irreverence in the way they direct.

Quentin Tarantino chooses the ones from below. In the compilation that’s coming up, not all shots are subjective, but will still make you more aware of how often the director uses this type of shots. When it comes to POV’s shots, often times they’re associated with a sense of superiority from the character’s part towards the object. The director also resorts to this type of shots when he wants to hide more shocking aspects of a certain scene.

“Tarantino // From Below” by kogonada
 

On the other hand, Wes Anderson doesn’t let go of POV shots from above, and he knows how to style them up. Wes is known for his use of symmetry, but he also used this top view kind of shots often in his movies. There are many situations in which POV shots are present too: for example, when the characters in his movies move from one place to another. This compilation by Jaume R. Lloret shows us how Anderson mixes vehicles with subjective shots.

“Wes Anderson // From Above” by kogonada
 

With a more styled visual it’s possible to obtain truly interesting results, that in no way feel amateur-like. This video shows us how we can apply POV shots to a culinary video, in its almost entirety, without it ever becoming visually uninteresting.

Andreia Calhau
andreia.calhau@portugalmultimedia.pt

Even with a sleepy face, she’s always ready for a challenge. Highly proactive and full of “scalabis” culture. Audiovisual is her thing and her inspiration sources are endless: from shorts films on Vimeo to the one and only Justin Timberlake.

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