Within this session, we’ve been looking into the various different types of ways the camera can be used within films to be effective and how the 180 degree rule is effective.

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The 180 Degree Rule (Oli Does Cinematography, 18 December 2014)

180 Degree Rule

The 180 Degree Rule has a line of action that goes straight through the characters within the scene, usually from a birds eye point of view – it’s where the camera looks and what it can see (180 degrees). It’s where the filming takes place where it’s only recording on one side, and crossing the line would look like a mirror image, shifting the position. If it was switching back and forth between the two different sides, it would look confusing to the audience and would look like someone is talking to themselves. This can be effective sometimes, for example from the clip shown below, however, if it does happen, you have to have some form of an establishing shot to show that it will be happening.

Sneaky Little Hobbitses - The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (5/9) Movie CLIP (2002) HD (Movieclips, 2011)

Over the Shoulder

There is another type of shot where the 180 Degree Rule is effective: The Over the Shoulder shot. This is effective in various different ways as it shows that we can have two people talking to each other easily, It links the two characters to know that they are speaking to each other, and it’s like the audience/viewer is watching from a third person perspective and listening in on the conversation over the persons shoulder. It cuts back and forth to show the perspectives of the two different characters effectively.

Shot Reverse Shot

This could also link to the Shot Reverse Shot. Shot Reverse Shot is when it has a shot of people talking and it’s going back and forth between two different people. This shows that there is dialogue between the two characters and usually goes from one shoulder to another.

Rudderless Movie CLIP - Angel In Disguise (2014) - Billy Crudup Music Drama HD (Movieclips Coming Soon, 2014)

Within this clip, there are various different points where Over the Shoulder shots are used.

Match On Action

Match on Action is when there is a form of continuity to the shots. It allows the scene to flow as shown in the clip below, working effectively.

Match on Action (TRCMEDIASTUDIES, 2013)

Within the clip we can clearly see that it flows very nicely and allows the audience to see that it looks like it’s only been shot once (even though we know it’s been shot multiple times) and the camera has moved making it flow.

We were asked to practise some of the tasks on creating some form of a conversation using the 180 degree rule, so we decided to storyboard an idea as a group of what we could do to effectively create the scene:

Our Story Board, created on storyboardthat.com

Of course the storyboard itself isn’t going to be 100% accurate, and we may change a couple of things from it e.g the background that we use within the shot, however, generally it should be similar to this.

From this storyboard we can gather an idea on what we want our shots to look like, and here is how they came out:


For this shot, we kept the idea of keeping the lockers in the background, and we wanted to portray that the person to the right of the shot (Marwan) was excited and happy about something, whilst the person to the left (myself) wasn’t that interested. We tried to keep to the 180 degree rule for all of our shots as it allowed us to gain more knowledge about it and how it’s used effectively, as well as keeping the two of us in the lines going down by using the Rule of Thirds.

2 This shot here is an Over the Shoulder shot to show the expression and how my character really isn’t interested in what’s occurring and looks fed up with it, for this we made the focus of the camera on myself, and we tried to make Marwan less-focused to try and gain a better effect of the main person within the shot.


From here, we used another Over The Shoulder shot to portray the idea of how it looks like a conversation between the two characters, and of course I’m out of focus as this part isn’t controlled by me, and Marwan is in focus as the shot is about him, as he seems happy about something that he’s found out and keeps “persisting” on saying more.


Within this shot, we decided to keep using the Rule of Thirds as much as possible, and moved my character away from the lockers to show that I’m going to be moving closer towards him or walk away, and he’s starting to realise that I’m not happy with what’s happening.


This then moves into another Over the Shoulder shot which could also be similar to a Shot Reverse Shot as it seems the conversation has begun to escalate forward. Within this shot we decided to move myself starting to push Marwan away whilst slightly breaking the 180 Degree Rule by making it seem like an establishing shot as well as Over the Shoulder.


Finally, within this shot we tried to show the expression and how annoyed the character was at Marwan’s character for continuing to go on about what’s happened, keeping in line to the 180 degree rule rather than creating a mirrored image.

What went wrong:

We did cross over the 180 Degree rule after using our establishing shot, however, we could clearly tell that it didn’t work as well as planned.


As shown within the shot above, we tried to create the “pushing” over effect, however, we could never get the angling right, the lighting didn’t work too well, the hair was covering my face which couldn’t bring out the features, and we had a common problem that people were close to getting in the shots. We also had a lot of above the characters showing, a big part that clearly wasn’t needed within our shot. To resolve this, we went and re-shot in the original location rather than keeping to this shot.

Within this task, we were able to represent some of our shots in various locations. I personally feel that this task was great as it allowed us to start understanding the 180 degree rule in more detail, as well as allowed us to simply learn about Over the Shoulder and Shot Reverse Shot more gaining more knowledge.


Oliver Tillery (18 December 2014), Oli Does Cinematography. Available at: https://olidoescinematography.wordpress.com/ (Accessed: 12 October 2016)
Movieclips (2011) Sneaky Little Hobbitses – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (5/9) Movie CLIP (2002) HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_aziIIp8U8 (Accessed: 12 October 2016)
Movieclips Coming Soon (2014), Rudderless Movie CLIP – Angel In Disguise (2014) – Billy Crudup Music Drama HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ38N8Lx6tg (Accessed: 12 October 2016)
TRCMEDIASTUDIES (2013), Match on Action. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qq9vGSOr5Y (Accessed: 12 October 2016)