Low angle shot definition

As the name suggests, the low angle shot is a cinema- and photography technique in which the camera is positioned below the eye level.

Low angle shots are the standard camera angle in films. They can be used to link the general and close-up shots. Wide angle lenses are best for this type of shooting – it’s better to capture extra space in the frame, since you can always edit out the unnecessary parts. Also, such lenses visually enlarge the characters.

Low angle shot examples

This technique can be used to have a varying effect on audience, such as:

  • Visually raising and increasing the size of an object or a person to make them look more grand and powerful. You can see it commonly used to film “heroic” shots in superhero movies.

    In this screenshot of Alain Chabat’s movie “Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra”, Cleopatra reprimands main characters who are framed for an attempt to poison her and the use of a low angle gives her more authority.

  • Low angle close-ups. They are used to convey a sense of dramatic tension and to heighten the character’s importance in the shot.

    In this scene of Stanley Kubrik’s “Shining”, the camera is set up on the floor and the shot is filmed in such a way that Jack practically fills the frame, looming over the viewer, and you can feel the threat he poses.

  • An extreme low-angle shot offers a sharper contrast in the shot. It can be used when you want to show the POV of a child or a small animal.

    In Chris Columbus’ “Home Alone 2”, such a shot is used when Kevin encounters Harry and Marv, his foes from the first movie, and seeing them through Kevin’s eyes helps us to understand the fear that a child could feel in situations like this.