Perspective – RESEARCH
I HAVE READ THROUGH THIS AND TO PROVE THAT I HAVE READ IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF MY RESEARCH, I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED IMPORTANT PARTS THAT I FOUND MIGHT BE EFFECTIVE DURING MY FILM.
The term ‘perspective’ in this context means the representation of three-dimensional bodies on a two-dimensional plane, in this case, on a screen. To make sure that an image does not appear flat and boring but has spatial depth, solidity and contours, a few principles on how to create an image need to be kept in mind and the laws of camera perspective to be observed.
Traditionally, a picture is divided into three parts: fore-, middle- and background.
The main action takes place mostly in the middle-ground, whilst fore- and background help the viewer to place the action in three-dimensional space.
Hence, the main subjects in any one frame should not be placed in a horizontal line in front of the camera but one in front, one behind. Bodies, including faces, which are shot either full-front or in profile, directly in front of the camera axis, appear flat and not very vivid. If the position of the subjects cannot be altered, then the camera should be placed in different positions to provide different perspectives.
Diagonal lines help our imagination to interpret depth into a two-dimensional space. Streets, a row of houses in alignment, railway lines or similar objects are important aids for the viewer in orienting him/herself in any given space.
The lighting has, apart from its dramatic function of setting the action ‘in the proper light’, a large part to play in creating the spatial effect of an image. It is therefore important to ensure that at one area in the background is lit, or that a ‘natural’ light source is visible there – a street lamp, for example.
Finally; all these considerations of factors such as lighting and images will be of no use, if the camera cannot capture the depth and feeling of space you are trying to achieve. Shots using a telephoto-lense will always seem flat as they have a little depth of field and the background appears to be squashed together. Wide-angle lenses are therefore better suited to creating an impression of space.
Varying the camera perspective is an important tool used by the filmmaker to dramatise his /her material. Which perspective s/he chooses depends entirely on what the filmmaker wants to express, as things or people can appear more or less important, more or less circumstantial, depending on the camera angle.
A neutral perspective is achieved by positioning the camera at the same height as the object, e.g. in an interview the camera is positioned at the eye level of the speaker. A view from below makes the object appear larger, more significant – and more threatening, too. If the camera is placed very low, this is known as a ‘worm’s eye view’.
Conversely, placing the camera above the object makes it seem small and more unobtrusive. Hence, children will appear smaller than they are in reality if the camera is on a higher level. When shooting a scene with children, the camera should be positioned at their eye level. Finally: a ‘birds eye view’ is the term used to describe scenes shot from a tower.
‘Subjective camera’ means that the camera shows a situation from the point of view of one of the characters involved, rather in the way one of the actors observes what is happening. This perspective has a highly emotional effect on the viewer as s/he feels that s/he is experiencing the action at first hand.
Authors: Robert Lambrecht and Berti Schwarz. © Robert Lambrecht and Berti Schwarz.
PERSPECTIVE IS VERY IMPORTANT WHEN FILMING. I’VE LEARNT THAT THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE CHOSEN FOR A SHOT, WILL KEEP THE VIEWER ENGAGED SO IT IS HIGHLY IMPORTANT TO GET THE PERSPECTIVE OF A SCENE/SHOT RIGHT.