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Questions about action scenes?

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DaSol Debbie Lim
Questions about action scenes?
on Sep 7, 2012 at 3:58:49 am

Hi, I'm pretty new to cameras and cinematography.
..especially action scenes.
I know you have to use dynamic angles and fast, tight cuts
but I'm really curious if that "180 angle rule" still
applies for action scenes.
Do I just move the camera around over that 180 line
or does it not matter if I jump around the line?
(like is it an exception for action scenes?)

I've seen some reference footage and I think the cameras
were jumping around...but I'm still not sure.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Questions about action scenes?
on Sep 8, 2012 at 11:23:09 am

[DaSol Debbie Lim] "I know you have to use dynamic angles and fast, tight cuts"

tbh, that sounds very "film making by numbers" - what you have to do is decide how you're going to portray the action and film the shots you are going to need to do so.

IMO, you needn't be strict about crossing/ not crossing the line as long as you have the shots to cut yourself around, effectively carrying the audience to another pov. Think about the way your shots will cut together. Don't "just move the camera around" across the line, but don't be inhibited from moving across by the "rule" that one should stay on one side. Try to remember that all rules are really only guidelines, very useful but not inviolable.

I've never really liked the term "180 degree rule" and would encourage a more sophisticated understanding of lines of action. As soon as you have more than 2 characters you have multiple lines of action and the relative dominance of those lines changes as events develop, for example, if you have a shot which is looking over character A's right shoulder, cutting to a shot looking over A's left shoulder can work at one moment but be wrong at another moment.

There's an old maxim "if your shots aren't good enough, you're not close enough". Take the camera to the action, don't try to bring the action to the camera.


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DaSol Debbie Lim
Re: Questions about action scenes?
on Sep 8, 2012 at 6:41:11 pm

thank you so much for your helpful response!
I think I know what you mean by "lines of action",
I've seen tutorials that explained it in depth..
but then it only covered drama scenes, so I wasn't
very sure about action scenes. I wish there are tutorials
about it, because I heard it's difficult enough to have
people specialized in only action scenes.
(I'm in 3d major and I was studying camera by myself)

Now that I know I can violate these rules, I will try for myself..
and study more with reference.

Anyways thank you! I've always been wondering about it.


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