Camera Angles
The Dutch Tilt:
Setting a Darker Mood!

camera angle Dutch Tilt

The Dutch tilt camera angle is one of the most unique of all the camera angles. When used well it can have a tremendous impact on your audience…!

Let's take a closer look...!


The tilted shot  (Dutch tilt) is a cinematic tactic where the camera is tilted to its side so that the plane of the horizon meets the bottom of the camera frame at an angle.

It is a "strange" angle for your audience to view from.. And... more so than the other camera angles... certainly gets their attention as they quickly have to figure out why  they are looking at the scene from this particular angle.

This type of slanted shot can be very powerful visually and emotionally to your audience.

This Camera Angle Is Known by Several Different Names…!

The Dutch Tilt ("Dutch" in this sense being a corruption of the word "Deutsche") is known by quite a few other names in film and video production lexicon.

It is also called…

  • The German Angle or Deutsche Angle: Was widely used in the German Expressionist art movement during the 1920s and the shot made its way into the German film industry of the time.
Batman slanted camera angle
  • The Batman Angle: it was called the Batman angle because it was used (and overused to the point of campiness) extensively in that popular TV show back in the 1960s.
  • The Oblique, Slanted or Canted Angle:  Well… Self-explanatory how the shot picked up these names.

The Effect of This Shot on Your Audience…

This sort of angle and shot composition can be used to signify to an audience a feeling of psychological "imbalance" or  "uneasiness" in the shot or scene.

German slanted camera angle film noir

Extensive use of this angle can create a dark mood in a video or film. Some film genres such as the horror film use this angle to great affect!

When the audience is suddenly looking at the scene from a seemingly "strange " or "odd "  angle it puts them on high alert as to "what is coming next" and they start to really pay attention!

It's obvious to the audience that…

If you're looking from such a "cocked" angle or view then…

... Something is up...!

How Did the Dutch Tilt Evolve…?

In the German Expressionist period this camera angle was used to suggest...

Camera angle slanted angle suggesting psychological uneasiness

*   Madness,

*   Insanity and

*   Betrayal...

Which the German filmmakers at the time believed showed the "deep inner emotional reality" and not what was merely "on the surface" of the psyche.

When German directors and cameramen immigrated to the United States in the 1930s they found that the Hollywood studios embraced the expressionist view as a way of making a greater impact on audiences.

There are two movie genres that were especially  influenced:

The Horror Film...

Oblique camera angle - Horror Film

The Film Noir...
(A French term meaning "Black Film" or "Film of the Night")

Camera angle canted angle Film Noir


Both genres lent themselves to dark moods and creative camera angles such as the slanted angle.

Dutch tilt camera angle – movie Citizen Kane

Famous examples of the use of the Dutch tilt in movies include:

  • Carol Reed's:  "The Third Man".
  • Orson Wells':  "Citizen Kane".

Other directors also have been masters of this type of shot.

Such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Otto Preminger, Tim Burton, just to name a few, have all expertly used this shot angle.

Dutch tilts are also popular in MTV-style video productions where unusual angles and lots of camera movement plays a big part of the overall action and visual look and feel of the videos.

Dutch tilt Camera angle - MTV angle

MTV-type use of this angle also shows that it can be used for more than just setting darker or dangerous moods.

In the MTV productions its use is mostly whimsical and lighthearted.

So this angle can work both ways for a creative filmmaker or videomaker.

A Few Tips on Using the Slanted Angle…

Here are a few tips on how to use this angle effectively...

Using slanted Camera Angle Tip #1

* When you shoot your scenes carefully consider these views and how they will impact the viewer. The slanted angle can evoke strong reaction from the audience… so plan it well before you put it into your production.

Using slanted camera angle tip #2

* When you shoot scenes using a slanted angle be sure to shoot the same scene using a regular angle also. That way if the slanted angle "doesn't work" in bringing the desired look to the shot you will have the more regular angle to fall back on.

Using slanted camera angle tip #3

* If this shot is blatantly overused it will communicate campiness, mockery or criticism of the subject. Just make sure that is what you're going for in the scene or shot.

Different camera angles can help you create the exact emotional response you want from the audience to your video...!

Learn them and use them well...!

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Have fun...!  Dan

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