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Filmmaking: Techniques and Timing for Utilizing High Angle Shots in Video

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High angle shots serve multiple purposes, from portraying vulnerability in characters to capturing expansive landscapes and inducing a sense of vertigo. Let’s delve into the techniques to perfect this shot.

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A high angle shot in filmmaking involves positioning the camera above the subject, looking downward. This intriguing shot is commonly employed to portray characters in an unfavorable manner, showcase the scale of a location, and even create a feeling of vertigo in the audience.

Although filmmakers often rely on expensive equipment to execute a high angle shot, YouTubers and TikTok creators can achieve the same effect using more affordable methods. Once you understand how to set it up with the resources available to you, explore the perfect moments to employ this technique for the most significant impact.

What Is a High Angle Shot?

A high angle shot is captured by positioning the camera above the subject, with the lens angled downward towards them. While a 45-degree angle is commonly used, there are no strict rules, and the angle can vary from above the subject’s eye level to a drone shot taken high above a crowd.

How to Take a High Angle Shot?

To create a high angle shot, position the camera higher than the subject and angle the lens downwards towards them. Depending on the desired level of elevation, you may need additional tools or support to achieve the desired height for the camera.

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For shots slightly above eye level, a sturdy tripod can be effective, but for higher angles, using a camera crane may be necessary. However, for most individuals, investing in such equipment might not be feasible. Instead, make the best use of your shooting location to achieve the desired high angle shot.

Achieving the desired high angle shot can be as simple as filming from the top of a staircase or a second-floor landing. Additionally, utilizing a ladder can also prove useful in elevating the camera to the desired height.

For those seeking more advanced options, drones have become a popular choice among amateur filmmakers as a cost-effective alternative to helicopters or cranes. Nowadays, there are drones available for every budget, offering an excellent opportunity to experiment further with capturing stunning high angle shots of expansive scenes.

Knowing when to incorporate a high angle shot can enhance your video’s visual appeal, regardless of whether you’re using a film camera, GoPro, or filming with your iPhone. Identifying these pivotal moments allows you to make your video truly stand out.

Utilizing a high angle shot

Utilizing a high angle shot on a character frequently portrays them in an unfavorable manner. This effect is achieved by literally looking down on the character, implying a lower status. Additionally, the shot can create a sense of vulnerability or helplessness by visually diminishing the character’s size. It provides an opportunity to depict power dynamics in a relationship or convey a character’s weakness or peril.

Capture a Large Scene

Another purpose of using this shot is to showcase a vast and expansive scene that would be challenging to capture within the frame otherwise. This technique is akin to high angle photography, aiming to portray the scale of a location or the distance someone must traverse.

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For instance, consider some of the iconic battle scenes in film and television, like those in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. To portray the immense size of the armies lined up on the battlefield, filmmakers often utilize high angle shots.

While you might not be filming a battle scene yourself, you can apply the same principles to capture breathtaking landscapes or capture the grandeur of large crowds. This is especially relevant in travelogue videos, where showcasing the sheer size of a location can greatly enhance the viewer’s experience.

7 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Camera for Filmmaking

Embarking on your filmmaking journey? Selecting the right camera is paramount. Here’s a guide to help you make the perfect choice.

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Are you ready to dive into the world of filmmaking? Congratulations on taking this exciting step! Whether you’re pursuing it as a career or simply as a fulfilling hobby, filmmaking offers endless creative possibilities. However, selecting the right camera is crucial, and beginners often struggle with this decision.

Choosing a filmmaking camera that aligns with your specific needs is vital, as it can significantly impact the quality of the footage you capture. Additionally, opting for a camera that is too cumbersome or impractical to carry around might discourage you from using it regularly and hinder your filmmaking journey in the long term.

What factors should you consider when selecting the ideal camera for beginner-level filmmaking? Let’s explore the key aspects to look out for.

1.Consider Your Filmmaking Style

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Developing your unique filmmaking style is a journey that takes time, just like in photography. However, at the beginning, you probably have a general idea of the types of videos you want to create. If not, observing prominent YouTubers may reveal a consistent theme that resonates with you.

Although any camera is better than none, the reality is that your gear can impact your results to some extent. Different camera manufacturers produce a wide range of image types, and while post-production adjustments are possible, selecting a tool that aligns with your needs can make your job much easier.

To find the best camera for your filmmaking style, you can explore various overviews of different makes and models on YouTube. Alternatively, you can opt for one that meets your initial requirements and consider changing it later if necessary.

2.Explore Camera Profiles

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This aspect is somewhat related to the previous one. If you have experience in photography and are now delving into filmmaking, you’ll likely have some familiarity with different camera manufacturers and their various profiles.

Cameras offer multiple profiles that you can utilize while shooting. Many filmmakers prefer using a neutral tone, allowing for more flexibility during post-production. However, you’ll also come across various creative effects that can be applied.

Numerous online resources provide information about the color profiles offered by different manufacturers.

3.Opt for a Camera Body with Interchangeable Lenses

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In today’s world, beginner filmmakers are presented with an extensive array of camera body options. Some vloggers start with a standard point-and-shoot camera featuring a fixed lens, like the Canon G7x series. While these devices are great for on-the-go vlogging or talking head videos, they can restrict your creative possibilities by confining you to just one lens.

If you’re genuinely dedicated to filmmaking and eager to expand your knowledge, opting for a camera body with interchangeable lenses is highly recommended. Most major manufacturers offer a range of cameras and lenses, giving you the freedom to select from zoom and prime lenses based on your preferences.

If you already have experience in photography and possess a decent collection of lenses alongside a quality camera body, you can utilize the video mode on your existing camera for shooting B-roll footage. While you’ll still need to learn about color correction and grading for video, this approach can save you a considerable amount of money compared to investing in an entirely new set of equipment that you may not necessarily need.

4.Consider Your Budget

When selecting the ideal camera to kickstart your filmmaking journey, it’s essential to be mindful of your budget. Filmmaking cameras can be quite costly, and this is only accounting for the camera bodies; many lenses are equally expensive.

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When deciding on a filmmaking camera, it’s crucial to avoid stretching your budget beyond your means. Take a moment to assess how much you’re comfortable spending and focus your search within that range. Remember, you can always upgrade later on once you’ve gained ample experience with your initial camera.

Regardless of whether you have a generous budget or are looking for more affordable options, consider purchasing second-hand equipment instead of brand-new ones. Not only will this save you money, but it also promotes sustainable practices and reduces waste.

5.Explore Supplementary Accessories

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For experienced photographers or filmmakers, it’s common knowledge that investing in the camera and lenses is just the beginning of your expenses. It’s wise to consider purchasing extra batteries, particularly if you anticipate long shooting days without access to plug sockets.

As you invest in valuable equipment, it’s essential to consider acquiring sufficient insurance to protect yourself in case of unforeseen incidents. Additionally, when budgeting for your filmmaking gear, keep in mind the following accessories:

  1. A waterproof camera bag
  2. Additional lighting
  3. Rain covers for your cameras and lenses

6.Is a Camera Necessary to Begin Your Filmmaking Journey?

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If you’re aiming for a long-lasting career in filmmaking, owning a camera will eventually become essential. However, during your early days, it’s worth considering if you truly need one, as you might already have a suitable solution in your pocket.

Modern smartphone cameras have significantly improved and now offer excellent photo and video capabilities. With options to shoot in various qualities, such as 1080p and 4K, some newer iPhones can even rival the image quality found in many beginner cameras.

If you’re uncertain about committing to filmmaking in the long term or haven’t accumulated enough funds for a dedicated camera, a viable option is to start with your smartphone and consider upgrading when you have the means to do so.

7.Take User-Friendliness into Account

Undoubtedly, image quality holds significant importance when selecting your initial filmmaking camera. However, it’s also crucial to consider a camera with a user-friendly interface, especially if you have limited experience with non-smartphone cameras.

Lower-priced filmmaking cameras often come with fewer features, which may initially seem restrictive. Nonetheless, mastering the basics and gradually enhancing your skills with a more straightforward camera can provide a solid foundation for your filmmaking journey.

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