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View Full Version : What is the 180-degree rule?

Beaker
12-14-2004, 08:17 AM
I have been watching The Ultimate Matrix Collection over the last week. In several of the documentaries they mention a 180-degree rule. What is this?

I can make a somewhat educated guess, but I know the saying about making assumptions.

paulrus
12-14-2004, 08:27 AM
It's an imaginary line that exists in front of the camera. It's a 180 degree sphere that covers everything the camera can see. When you're shooting you NEVER want the camera to cross that line in a cut because you basically reverse the screen and it's very disorienting.

So if you're shooting a shot of someone sitting at a dinner table. They are sitting on your right. You can't move the camera to the other side of the table and shoot so they are now on your left and cut the shots together. You CAN physically move the camera around the table, but you can't just cut from one side of the line to the other.

HTH

Paul

Roundpixel
12-15-2004, 07:50 AM
It's an imaginary line that exists in front of the camera. It's a 180 degree sphere that covers everything the camera can see. When you're shooting you NEVER want the camera to cross that line in a cut because you basically reverse the screen and it's very disorienting.

So if you're shooting a shot of someone sitting at a dinner table. They are sitting on your right. You can't move the camera to the other side of the table and shoot so they are now on your left and cut the shots together. You CAN physically move the camera around the table, but you can't just cut from one side of the line to the other.

HTH

Paul

Adding to this clear explanation, if you need to actually cross the line, you should include a shot showing you are about to move across it, to let the audience see that the camera (their actual POV) is about to move to the other side of the table, or whatever scene might be on. This is usually done with a "kind of" establishing shot taken amidst the line, midway to the other side.
Or else, your camera might be travelling all the way from one side to the other, clearly showing that the POV is about to change.

cheers
JC

tonsofpcs
12-15-2004, 09:29 AM
A nice way that I've seen to do this at a dinner table type setting is actually pulling out [alot] and physically moving the camera backwards, then moving around the scene to the other side in a parabola fashion and then moving it back in for its new shot. I forget what movie I remember this from, but I remember it was a nice way to show the 180 change. Also note, even though you can do this to 'get around' the 180 rule, it is best to keep the 180 rule in place so as not to disorient the viewer. A perfect example of following the 180 rule is a sporting event that is played on a rectangular field (basketball, football, soccer, etc), if you notice when watching one, all of the cameras are on one side, except for 2 sometimes that shoot from the ends (for goalposts and nets), and sometimes one on top looking down, but if you notice, the one on top looking down almost always shows where your previous POV was on the bottom of the screen (makes it look like you just stood up really really really tall and are looking down).

Beaker
12-15-2004, 10:45 AM
Thank you everyone for your responses.

This turns out to be more or less what I thought it might be. I appreciate the clarification and the added information.