Whereas shot sizes direct who and what we see, camera angles affect how we perceive it. Is a character going to appear dominant and tall? Or short and weak? A strong weapon in the cinematographer’s arsenal is the ability to position the camera in relation to the subject or scenery.
An eyelevel angle is the one in which the camera is placed at the subject’s height, so if the actor is looking at the lens, he wouldn’t have to look up or down. Eyelevel shots are incredibly common because they are neutral. They often have no dramatic power whatsoever, thus they are ideal for romantic comedies and news casting.
Low angles are captured from a camera placed below the actor’s eyes, looking up at them. Low angles make characters look dominant, aggressive, or ominous.
In a high angle, the camera is above the subject, looking down. This position makes characters look weak, submissive, or frightened. They are also good POVs of an adult looking at a child:
Also called canted angle, a Dutch tilt has the camera leaning sideways, transforming the horizon into a slope. A Dutch tilt changes horizontal and vertical lines into diagonals and creates a more dynamic composition. Though rare, canted angles can be employed with great artistic effect to disorient and disturb the viewer.
As the name suggests, point-of-view shots are angles in which the camera incorporates a character’s eyes. POVs are usually preceded by a close-up of the character’s eyes.