P.O.V fundamentals

In this post I want to provide you some basic idea about how it is important to make some decisions before shooting the scene. The decisions on camera set ups can be compared to the cells in the human body.  The camera movements/angles are basic storytelling elements that help director to articulate the story visually.

For example, Several Camera Movements form a Sequence then an Episode – a Scene  – and an Entire Movie.

The camera movements can be very powerful. Today I want to tell you a little bit about P.O.V. shots.

From Joseph V. Mascelli’s cinematography book we learn that: (I recommend you to read this book if you did not get a chance yet)


Point-of-view, or simply p.o.v. is an objective angle, but since it falls between the objective and subjective angle, it should be given special consideration. A point-of-view shot is as close as an objective shot can approach a subjective shot – and still remain objective. The camera is positioned at the side of a subjective player – whose viewpoint is being depicted – so that the audience is given the impression they are standing cheek-to-cheek with the off-screen player. The viewer does not see the event through the player’s eyes, as in a subjective shot in which the camera trades places with the screen player. He sees the event from the player’s viewpoint, as if standing alongside him. Thus, the camera angle remains objective, since it is an unseen observer not involved in the action – Joseph V. Mascelli in The Five C’s of Cinematography

From psychological perspective  P.O. V. creates an effect of first-hand experience for the audience; an effect that leads us to feel that we are actually together with our protagonist in the scene. Compare with subjective shot. I hope that you’re familiar with Mario video game created by Japanese designer Shigeru Miyamoto. In my childhood we played this game seeing Mario from the third-person’s eye like observers. I am sure many of you still remember this game, but freddiew  changed perspective and showed us Mario using subjective camera shots. As a result, we have completely different experience.

Now see the difference in P.O. V shots. Kogonada in his Vimeo video compiled Point-of-view shots in Breaking Bad series.  In spite the fact that the viewer is still involved objectively you can judge how exactly these P.O.V shots provide you a feeling of this involvement. In this video you can see how camera positions from different angles and shots from different objects grab viewer’s attention in a very special way.

Breaking Bad // POV from kogonada on Vimeo.

So, tell us about your experience. Have you ever planned these type of shots for your own projects? We are looking forward to hear from you in the comments.


About zinasemenova

Russian filmmaker and blogger at filmcareer.wordpress.com

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