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Why the 180 Degree Rule is needed In Filmmaking?


Film Production

Why the 180 Degree Rule is needed In Filmmaking?

Filmmakersfans: What is called 180 degree rule in filmmaking? Why it Needed in filmmaking? Explaining here..


180 degree Rule is a framing rule which is used in Filmmaking in order to maintain the scene Continuity.

Let’s Move Deeper To this subject

Terms Explanation

Line of Action: An action which happening on a Perpendicular imaginary Line is called the Line Of action. Look into the Figure (1) that displayed below, you can see the dotted lines that connects A and B. That Perpendicular line is called imaginary line.

Point Of View: Suppose in a scene there are two Characters A and B, where A looks To B is called the Point of View OF A (Pov. A) and B looks To A is called (Pov.B)

Shots:  It is used in films for the purpose of video Composition on the basis of Shooting script.

filmmaking- 180 degree rule

Practical Section

Lets Illustrate with the Fig (1) (2) &(3)

1st Shot (Fig 1)

We’ve placed two characters A and B on the two portions of a semi Circle, (Fig 1) where A look To B and B looks to A. We placed a camera In Between these two subjects. There is nothing wrong in this scene Composition. Right? Yes

2nd Shot (Fig: 2)

Now let’s place the camera closer to A. As you can see in the image (Fig 2), we place the camera below the imaginary line and the character A is looking to the right side of the camera. This set up is called Pov.B (We Hope you already learned about the term Point Of View Shot from glossary Explanation)

3rd Shot (Fig 3)

Now we placed the camera Near To B, Where B is looking to the left side Of camera. This Set Up is called Pov.A. (Fig 3)

Now we are aligning these three shots; what you are going to see is: – An establishing scene of two characters (1st Shot) and in following scenes character A and B are talking each other in an imaginary line. So the viewers would understand the spatial relation between the characters. So if we break the Rule, then this sequence didn’t seem as effective. 

Things You Must Remember before Filming through 180 degree Rule

  1. 180 degree Rule states that, if character A is looking right at B, then Character B will look to left side of A
  2. 180 degree Rule is principally purposed to match the eyeline shot of two characters. Often the errors are usually occurred when one character is smaller than or larger than other. In such a case to avoid the mismatching, the smaller character must be looking to up and the larger character must look to the downside.
  3. Don’t Place your camera Above the Imaginary Line (See the Figure 4).



You can find good examples of 180 degree rule filmmaking in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) and Martin Scorcese (1976) Taxi Driver.


Where can we apply 180 degree Rule?

  1. Interviews; in television interview shot, 180 degree rule is found useful to make the situation more meaningful.
  2. Two-Shots; Means two characters are looking face To Face, where this ‘line of action’ principle is helps to maintain the spatial relationship between a character and another character.



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