Are the camera angles and shots you use in your videos sending the wrong message about your business? What effect do specific shots have on your viewers?
Unlike the written word human beings don’t have to be taught to decode visual language. We decode the visual world around us every day with out thinking about it.
This translates into the way we view video. We may not realise that certain camera angles and shots are making us feel or react in a specific way but they are. They act on our subconscious.Certain camera angles and shots make us feel or react in a specific wayClick To Tweet
Let’s look at some of the most used camera angles and shots you can use in video and what they mean
This is part of series of tips on creating better online video
What equipment do you need to star a YouTube channel? Find my budget equipment list here
How do you make a storyboard for a video? Watch the video and download the worksheet here
How do you free memory on your phone for shooting online video? More on that here.
1. High angle shot
As any woman (or man) with a spare chin will know a high angle shot is more flattering, it hides those extra chins and elongates your face.
If we shoot for vanity we tend to choose that higher angle shot but it could be a mistake.
When you shoot with the camera above eye level your audience is looking down on you. You look less authoritative and vulnerable.
2. Low angle shot
In a low angle shot, you appear to be looking down on your audience. Yes, it’s good to look authoritative but you don’t want to look condescending, patronising or frightening. Having the camera slightly below eye level can make you look authoritative without the negative effect. It’s a tricky balance to strike. If in doubt set the camera up at eye level.
3. Big or Extreme Close Up
It’s not a good idea to shoot an entire video in big close up but this kind of shot can be used to emphasise a point or an emotion.
Think of the Blair Witch Project, would it be as terrifying if the first person close-ups showing the protagonists fear weren’t in it?
4. Zoom in
Professional filmmakers rarely use the zoom during a shot, instead they will move the camera closer to the subject during a shot to add emphasis. The zoom can be used on online video effectively but be aware of its almost comedic value.
A zoom during a shot does the same as cutting to a big close up, it emphasises a point or emotion.
5. Zoom in and track back at the same time
This is a hard technique to master on your own with a mobile phone but if you zoom in at the same time as you move the camera back you get a disorientating shot that isolates the subject in the frame and demonstrates fear.
It’s a technique pioneered by Alfred Hitchcock in the film Vertigo to show the protagonists fear of heights. It’s an amazing effect if you can recreate it.
Slow mo is often used to emphasis a moment or emotion. It shows that something important is happening. It could be a fight move (think the Matrix) or a change in state or emotion.
We can use this in online video for the same effect. Maybe you want to show shock or happiness.
Sped up video represents the passing of time. It’s great for illustrating a long drawn out process, travel or to illustrate that things have moved on.
8. left and right of frame
The right-hand side of the frame is generally thought to be the strongest. We read left to right so our eyes naturally rest on the right-hand side. Place whatever is most important in your shot there.
If you are interviewing someone they should be on the right hand side of the frame. If you are using two shots for an interview make sure you are on the left hand side of the frame looking right and your subject is on the right looking left. This will cut together to appear you are sitting opposite your interviewee looking at each other.
Download my storyboard template and plan a video shoot using some of these camera angles and shots for effect.