The 180 Degree Rule in Film (and How to Break The Line) #180degreerule

The 180 Degree Rule in Film (and How to Break The Line) #180degreerule

Have you ever finished a video project
only to find that your edit is just off? The cards don’t flow together. The edit is disorienting. Chances are, you may have broken one
of the oldest rules in production. The 180-degree rule. The 180-degree rule
refers to an imaginary straight line, you draw between
two subjects in a scene. Basically, you want to keep
all of your camera setups on the same side of that line. Otherwise,
you’ve crossed the line. In this video,
we’re going to show you examples of how to follow
the 180-degree rule. How to break it. And how to bend it. Before we get started,
make sure to subscribe and don’t forget
to click the bell, to get looped in
on future videos. “There you go.” By following the
180-degree rule, you establish orientation
and screen direction. This is a scene from “Heat.” “I do what I do best. I take scores.
You do what you do best. Trying to stop guys like me.” The 180-degree line
runs across the table, through Pacino to De Niro. Look at their eyes. Pacino looks camera right, De Niro looks camera left. You do this, so that the viewer can attain
a sense of orientation during the scene. It looks like they’re
looking at each other. “That`s an interesting point.” But what happens when you have
more than two people in the scene, how would you follow
180-degree rule? It helps to think of
it like a stage play. Just keep your
camera in the seats and you’ll be okay. “Wow” But what happens,
if you break the line. If following the rule
achieves tranquility, breaking the rule
achieves chaos. In this scene, from “25th hour”, Ed Norton’s character is
surprised by a DEA inspection. “We`ve got a warrant to
search your apartment.” This situation is chaotic and Spike Lee visualizes it by
breaking the 180-degree rule. See how Ed Norton is
looking camera left, and the detective is
also looking camera left. Here is a scene
from “Paper Moon.” The line is established,
as the waitress walks away. When we cut to our first scene, Tatum O’Neal looks camera left, Ryan O’Neal looks camera right. “I get you some relish.” When Ryan O’Neal reaches
across the table, we cut across the line. We are now on the
other side of the line. In doing so, the director gradually
changes the tone and power relationship. “I want my money.
You took my $200. -Will you quiet down here. -I want my 200$.
-Hold on. You understand how
to follow the rule, you know how to break the rule. Now,
let’s show you how to bend it. So how do you bend
the 180-degree rule. One way to do this is
through a neutral shot. This is when you
cut away to a shot that will reset the line. Here, you can see Goebbels eye
line is headed from left to right. When we switch behind Shosanna, this is a shot directly
on top of the line. His eye line has
switched right to left. Another clever way
to bend at the rule is with camera movement. In this scene from “Heat” De Niro’s been caught off
guard by an attractive woman. “What you were eating?” Is she an undercover cop? Maybe FBI, or even an assassin. “Lady, why are you interested
in what I eat or what I do?” But once he’s convinced,
she’s a book store employee, we see that transformation
play out visually, “I don’t mean to be rude.
I didn’t recognize you.” The camera crosses the line. “My name is Neil.” We have moved from the backs
of our characters to the front. Away from danger and suspicion,
to a place of openness. Keep in mind. The 180-degree rule is like
any other rule in the world. It’s there to protect you but breaking it safely,
can give you some unique results. Now, you understand
the 180-degree rule, how to follow it,
how to break it, and everything in between. Use StudioBinder
shot list features to plan your line breaks
more deliberately. Storyboarding helps to
visualize the line breaks too. We’ve covered breaking the line. In our next video, we cover breaking
the fourth wall. “Oh, hello” The do’s and the don’ts. If you like this
video, let us know. Subscribe and click the
bell for a steady digest of filmmaking techniques
to keep you inspired. And until next time, remember, you have to know the rules
before you can break them. [Music]


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