Bit of a rant this I’m afraid, but since the decline of the traditional shoulder mount camera there has been an annoying (to me at least) shift of the standard shot shooting angle from eye height to chest hight. The upshot of this is that once upon a time the majority of shots looked directly into the talents eyes from a normal eye level, so it mimicked what most of us see with our own eyes, day in day out. But now with more and more cameras being used hand-held at chest or even waist height a very large percentage of shots end up looking up peoples noses rather than straight into their faces.
Don’t get me wrong, when the shot benefits for creative reasons from being shot at a low angle I have no objections whatsoever. But I really don’t like looking up someones nose just because its harder to hold the camera at eye level. What’s more I’m starting to see this phenomenon creep in to ever more shots as tripods get used at lower levels because camera operators are used to, or find it easier to look down at their LCD screens.
Camera gimbals and stabilisers are also helping this trend as the camera is often used hung below the handles, handles held at chest height, so now we have cameras at waist level or even groin level. One of the great things about the original stedicam is that the camera ended up at around eye level, so during a walking-talking shot you had the impression that you were walking with the subject, not grovelling along on your hands and knees.
So, please everyone, consider this when your setting up your shots, which looks better, eye level or lower than eye level and then adjust your shooting height to get the best shot. Consider getting a monopod to help you hand hold your camera a bit higher or one of the many other contraptions available today that will help you support your camera at eye level.
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