Production: How To Film at Eye Level

When it comes to video production, differentiating the various types of shots and shooting angles is one of the basic skills any type of director or filmmaker should fully grasp. A cameraman controls what the camera records, understanding how different angles work can change what scenes or emotions are emphasized. The eye level shot is one of the basic types of shots. It is not as dramatic as a low level or high level shot but it does convey the story by showing the dialogue between the characters as well as their facial expressions. Here are the steps in filming at eye level.

Step 1 - Keeping It Steady

A tripod is an accessory which provides stability to the camera. Some filmmakers and photographers believe that the quality of support provided by the tripod will determine the quality of the shots taken. Using a tripod is important as it lessens the probability of making erratic video shots. There are varying sizes and heights available. The legs can be adjusted that is convenient for unlevel terrain. For added stability, you may place additional weight at the center of the tripod such as the equipment bag. The weight must be twice that of video camera. Opt for tripods that can lock into a fixed position. In cases where there is no tripod, the arms can function in the same way. Place the camera flat on your palm, your elbow resting on your ribs for support and leverage. You may also brace against a rock or part of a wall to remove the stress from your arms and shoulders.

Step 2 - Positioning the camera

The eye level shot is neutral as it depicts how a person would normally see their surroundings. It places them on the same footing as the subject being videotaped. When shooting at eye level, the camera is normally placed at 5 to 6 feet from the level of the ground. The distance from the ground varies depending on the height of the subject. It is important to take a clear shot of the person's head when filming at eye level. In the case of kids or infants, the filmmaker will need to kneel or crouch low to the ground depending on the child's height.

Step 3 - Focusing the Camera

Eye level shots are at times associated or interchanged with the term mid-level shot. The mid-level shot can incorporate up to three people in a single frame and no more. This allows the viewer to understand the scene without being overwhelmed by the details. When filming an object against the foreground, the object should be the point of focus. In the case of filming people or animals, the shot should be focused on the eyes, making it the sharpest area out of the entire image.

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