Friday, May 2, 2014

180 Rule in Film

So there is this rule in film that is called the 180 rule (I don't follow rules!). For people who do not know what the 180 rule is or just want a refresher on what exactly the rule is, I have the perfect blog for you!
In film making, the 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. An imaginary line called the axis connects the characters, and by keeping the camera on one side of this axis for every shot in the scene, the first character is always frame rightof the second character, who is then always frame left of the first. The camera passing over the axis is called jumping the line or crossing the line.

There are a couple of times though that the 180 rule can work to your advantage! 


The imaginary line allows viewers to orient themselves with the position and direction of action in a scene. If a shot after the original shot in a sequence is located on the opposite side of the 180-degree line, then it is called a "reverse cut." Reverse cuts disorient the viewer by presenting an opposing viewpoint of the action in a scene and consequently altering the perspective of the action and the spatial orientation established in the original shot. 


There are a variety of ways to avoid confusion related to crossing the line due to particular situations caused by actions or situations in a scene that would necessitate breaking the 180-degree line.


Either alter the movement in a scene, or set up the cameras on one side of the scene so that all the shots reflect the view from that side of the 180-degree line.

Camera Arch move

One way to allow for crossing the line is to have several shots with the camera arching from one side of the line to the other during the scene. That shot can be used to orient the audience to the fact that we are looking at the scene from another angle. In the case of movement, if a character is seen walking into frame from behind on the left side walking towards a building corner on the right, as they walk around the corner of the building, the camera can catch them coming towards the camera on the other side of the building entering the frame from the left side and then walk straight at the camera and then exit the left side of the frame.

Buffer shot

To minimize the "jolt" between shots in a sequence on either sides of the 180-degree line, shoot a "buffer shot" along the 180-degree line separating each side. This lets the viewer visually comprehend the change in viewpoint expressed in the sequence.

The 180 rule is REALLY important, everyone but me needs to follow it!

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