What Is An Eye Level Shot?
Film is one of the most exciting and enthralling mediums. It typically has major artistic value while also being accessible and enjoyable for most people (depending on the style and genre of film). One of the ways that film creates powerful emotional effects on its viewers is by employing different kinds of shots. And today, we’ll discuss eye level shots.
The various types of camera shots are so important that they are some of the first information that film schools teach their students. In fact, understanding these are crucial for cinematographers, screenwriters, and film directors. Keep reading to gain an understanding of one of the most significant types of film shots, the eye level shot.
Explaining eye level shots: what are they?
An eye level shot is among the most important and basic types of shots, and is common in all genres for this reason. Interestingly, eye level shots are especially common in romantic comedies. This may make more sense as you continue to read about what eye level shots are used for.
The term itself refers to the camera’s angle and location as it relates to the subject. Eye level shots are exactly what you might guess: they’re shots where the camera is around the level of human eyes. This means around five to six feet above the ground, on average, since that’s the standard range of human height.
Neutrality of eye level shots
In many cases, the emotional effect of eye level shots is pretty minimal–overall, eye level shots have a neutral effect. This is because we ourselves typically view the world from eye level, so the feeling is overall familiar, and seeing the subjects of a film this way feels quite natural. Due to this overall neutrality, it’s one of the best choices for situations where you’re trying to present information directly and without any “spin.” This neutrality means eye level shots can also be helpful in creating more emphasis on other, more unusual types of shots, such as shots from above or below (more on those in the next section).
Eye level shots certainly create a sense of immersion in the scene, as though the people watching are actually there with the characters. And there are also a few other ways that eye level shots can helpfully influence the viewer’s experience. Keep reading to learn more!
Emotional effects of eye level shots
Shooting a character from above can often make them seem weak and vulnerable. And shooting a character from below can make them seem powerful, invulnerable, heroic, and even scary, depending on the context (plot, accompanying soundtrack, and so forth).
The middle ground–shooting right at eye level has neither of these effects. Instead, it can make a character feel more approachable and sympathetic to the viewers. It can even allow audiences to feel like they’re more in touch with what characters are experiencing on an emotional level, even without an inner monologue. When a character is first introduced using an eye level shot, it displays them as they are without adding any layers of judgment to their portrayal.
Relatedly to these effects, eye level shots can also amplify emotional moments, especially when they’re more close up. If a character is feeling significant sadness, rage, suffering, joy, and so on, an eye level shot can make these emotional moments resonate stronger with the audience. Just thinking about it, this makes intuitive sense: being closer to someone’s face, whether as the viewer of a film or in real life with someone you know, makes it easier to experience their emotions and sympathize/empathize with their feelings.
How about finding a space to film?
The various types of shots are a pretty technical and niche aspect of filmmaking. So if you’re researching eye level shots and reading this article, it’s very likely that you’re someone who’s interested in making a film of your own. One of the most crucial aspects of creating a film that lives up to your vision is the location (or locations, more typically!) in which you do the filming.
To find film shoot venues and spaces of all kinds for rental, we highly recommend Peerspace. It’s the most extensive marketplace on the web for these types of rentals, with thousands and thousands of options throughout hundreds of cities in the U.S., Canada, and beyond. These include more formal film and photoshoot studios as well as other types of spaces that might be perfect for the scenes you’re planning to film.
Some examples of incredible Peerspace venues that could be the perfect fit for a scene in your movie:
- This large modern fitness studio in Seattle for a dramatic dance scene
- This 1850s Quaker-built home in Philadelphia for scenes of domestic life
- This luxury penthouse with a view of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco for an at-home scene of a stylish metropolitan character
- This set of seven unusual rooms (including a classroom, TV wall, clock stairway, and hall of lamps!) in Bushwick, Brooklyn for just about whatever your wildest imagination can dream up
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Plus, all the listings include incredibly detailed descriptions of the spaces, high-res photographs, and reviews from past renters. Therefore, you’ll get a clear sense of what you’re looking at before you even see it in person. So at the very least, give Peerspace a quick search to see if it’s a good fit for your needs.
Ready to shoot your film?
Having finished reading this article, you’re almost certain to have a more in-depth understanding of eye level shots, both in terms of what they actually are as well as what they’re used for and when it makes sense to use them.
Equipped with this knowledge, you’re all the more prepared to start shooting a film of your own. Good luck! You may just be the next Alfred Hitchcock or Martin Scorcese.