Camera Angles
Objective and Subjective:
How to Grab Your Audience's Attention!

Camera Angles Objective and SubjectiveGrabbing Your Audience's Attention!

By using objective and subjective camera angles you can do the one thing that every film or video maker wants to do with his audience… Grab and hold the audience's attention!

Here's how…!


One way to draw the audience into your story is to give the audience unique views of the scene.  Objective and subjective camera angles (in combination with the other angles) can be used to do this. 

You can create impact and real emotional reaction in your audience just by your choice of camera positioning and placement.

By using different camera angles... plus expert video editing... You can set a mood or tone that will help the viewer better understand and feel a part of the emotional environment presented to them from one scene to another. If done expertly - your audience will be emotionally involved and feel like they're " right there" in the flow and action of the video.

The Objective Camera View...

The objective view (angle) is the most common view you will see in a movie.

"Fourth Wall"

The thin line that exists between a story and reality. When a character in a story tells the audience in some way that they know that they are a character in a story, that is called 'breaking the fourth wall'.

Urban Dictionary

This is the exterior "observers" point of view.

This angle gives your audience a viewpoint of being in the scene as though they were part of the action but also are "safely removed", as though they were there "invisible".

The illusion is that the audience is like a "fly on the wall" and that the characters cannot see them.

This illusion is maintained as long as the actors never look directly at and/or directly speak to the camera lens. If an actor were to do this (called... in acting... breaking the "fourth wall"), then the audience is no longer an exterior observer watching the scene from a distance but are now "in" the movie themselves and part of the scene.

This is not to say however that there are some filmmakers that haven't done this for effect.

Filmmaking – The Fourth WallBob Hope and Bing Crosby – The Road to Morocco 1942

Just watch some of the old "Road" movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby and you'll see that breaking this illusion can be done with great comedic effect.

The Subjective Camera View…

In the subjective view the audience sees the scene as though they were looking through the eyes of the subject.

Camera Angles Objective and Subjective View – in a CarSubjective Camera View – Sitting in a Car

This device gives the audience the illusion that they are  the character in the scene and not just looking at it from an exterior view.

They are now not only part  of the action – they are  the character in the action!  Being in the subjective view means the audience is not able to "know" or see "everything" that's happening in the scene (as they are in the objective view) which can create mystery, danger and/or tension for the audience.

Camera Angles Objective and Subjective View – from A BicycleSubjective Camera View – Riding a Bicycle

The subjective view is used much less than the objective view as this view can be disorienting to the audience if it is not used and edited correct. But, if it is used correctly, it can be a powerful plot device.

Horror films make great use of this device to build anxiety and tension. It can be used to shock or disorient the audience by rapid intercutting with objective shots. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at using this device and anyone who wants to use the shot properly would do well to watch his movies.

A specialized form of this view is called the "Trunk Shot". It's a shot that the great director Quentin Tarantino has used often in his films to create a unique sort of tension in the movie scene. It's really just a low angle shot but used in this way becomes very effective in capturing the audiences attention.

The Point of View Camera Shot…

Camera Angles – the Point of View ShotThe Point of View Shot Can Be Objective or Subjective!

The point-of-view shot (abbreviated POV) can make use of both the objective and subjective angle.

This shot is when the camera is positioned so that you see exactly what the character in the film or video would be seeing from his perspective, however the shot may show some part of the subject (such as looking over a shoulder) or the camera may be positioned so that the audience view is that they're "standing alongside" the subject.

In this shot the audience gets put "into the head" of one of the actors and sees exactly what the actor sees in the scene but from a slightly more objective view.


When using this camera angle the other actors in the scene may look directly into the camera to create the illusion that the audience is now the character. The shot is used very effectively in portraying dangerous moments in the scene to let the audience get the sense of the fear felt by the subject as he or she enters into a dangerous situation.

Sometimes, a point of view shot is shared and represents the joint point of view of two or more characters making the view even a little more objective and subjective.

Point of View ShotPoint of View Shot

The point of view shot many times actually falls between the objective and subjective shot as the angle of the shot gives the impression that the viewer (audience) is standing "cheek to cheek" with the subject of the shot.

Point of View ShotPoint of View Shot

It's like the viewer is standing alongside the subject but still sees exactly what the subject sees. 

When used in this way, the camera angle still remains objective, since the viewer is still an unseen  observer in the scene but he is close enough to the subject that he is seeing exactly what the subject is seeing. This view is also often used in interviews.

As with all objective and subjective views, the point-of-view shot if not expertly planned and edited can disorient the audience and break the continuity of the film or video for the viewer.

Video Editing – a blend of objective, subjective and point of view shots.

These views take thoughtful planning and storyboarding and must be edited precisely to have their intended effect. If poorly done they can break the continuity of a film or video, disrupt the timing of the story and disorient the audience. Here's a look at a blend of Objective, Subjective and Point of View shots.

But... if done expertly… they can pull an audience into your movie or video and you will have their rapt attention to the end...!

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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