Common Camera Angles
Over the Shoulder
Over the shoulder shots can add interesting depth and variety to otherwise static shots. While you won’t be able to use this shot often, because we don’t have many rear conversation animations (talk_rear is the only one), it’s nice for shorter conversations or backgrounds specifically designed to have a character in a rear position in the foreground, facing a character layered behind them and facing them.
Let’s look at 2 examples...
Open the story “Advanced Directing Guide” and click button “Over the Shoulder”
*To follow along in the script, open:
Then jump to “label tenone”
Example A: We use an over the shoulder shot for a short conversation between two characters here, to add depth and visual interest.
Example B: We use an over the shoulder shot here because the background specifically is designed to accommodate that. These are best, though, when we also have shots that accommodate closeups of each character, as is shown in this example. It can get tiresome for the reader to see a character in talk_rear for too long, since there’s no variety to it.
We don’t have many backgrounds that are specifically created to accommodate an over the shoulder shot. This is because it requires building three separate backgrounds. One being the over the shoulder shot background; another being the same background or perspective, but without the chair in the foreground or whatever object is creating that over the shoulder shot; and the third being the background that the character who’s in a rear position in the foreground would be situated against. So whereas we normally can work with one flat background of a room, we suddenly need to also have the other side of the room available to make this back-and-forth type of shooting work. Overall, over the shoulder shots have to be used somewhat sparingly.
Characters in the Foreground
Occasionally, a scene will require that your main characters be placed further back on the screen, leaving space in the foreground. This can be a great opportunity to add interesting visual depth by adding characters into the foreground. But be careful about adding anything that will distract from the main action of the narrative!
To direct characters into the foreground, use the spot directing and z-order/layer techniques in Sections 2.1 and 2.2, respectively. Remember to place the characters low enough on the screen after sizing them up (i.e. if your character has been resized to around 1.6, they’ll likely need be spot directed to a Y axis of -350 or so).