title what does high angle shot mean

What Does High Angle Shot Mean?

The high angle shot is one of various cinematic techniques that are used to evoke powerful emotions and connect with your audience. We’re outlining the way a high angle shot is used in cinematography to give characters a weakness that helps the audience to see them as powerless or out of control and struggling in their current situation. Let’s take a look at what a high angle shot means and how it is used in film production.

woman looking up for help

What Does High Angle Shot Mean?

High angle shots are utilized by cinematographers and directors to produce weakness of character. Anytime a high angle shot is listed in the shot list, you can expect that the scene will include a character that is to appear powerless or unfortunate. The camera angle in the high angle shot pears down to the character from above to create a vulnerable appearance.

Types of High Angle Shots

dog looking up at high angle

Various types of high angle shots are used throughout video production and have been seen in movies over the years. The high angle shot can be used to evoke a sense of depression, suppression and downright weakness that no other shot can produce in this way.

Common types of high angle shots include:

Narrative High Angle Shot 

This shot sets the scene by coming in from a high angle above and providing the viewer with a broad view of the scene or crowd. We see this when something terrible is about to happen to the crowd. Narrative high-angle shots do not generally draw a lot of audience attention and are often subtle.

Visceral High Angle Shot 

This shot sets the scene by giving the audience a sense of vertigo. The shot is often referred to as a Bird’s Eye View or may be called the Overhead Shot or Straight Down Shot depending on the director’s choice in wording.

The Visceral high angle shot doesn’t provide a lot of information about the scene’s location but it can be used to create strong emotional connection with the viewer and will usually build on a sense of uneasiness or anxiety about what’s about to happen.

Character-Driven High Angle Shot 

The character-driven high angle shot uses a mix of the narrative and visceral high angle in which the character will appear small and weak in the scene as the shot pears down in connection to the character’s vulnerability.

High angle shots convey various themes throughout cinematic productions.


We see the use of the high angle shot peering down on the subject to produce powerful emotions. Think of when a shot looks down on a character that is about to fall. The connection you feel, as you want to scream, “NO, Don’t DO THAT!” is powerful, isn’t it? That’s the power of a high angle shot!

Capturing a high angle shot can be done with various equipment. A drone can be used to capture the footage from above or a crane is sometimes used. If the shot is not for a large area of the scene, sticks may be used to capture the high angle sufficiently.

Depending on how you are filming, the high angle shot will require some basic careful planning to ensure the best end solution.

Collaborate with Team Beverly Boy

Contact Beverly Boy Productions at 888-462-7808 to connect with a cinematography crew that can produce captivating high angle shots that will evoke a sense of helplessness of your character and connect deeply with your audience. We can’t wait to work with you on a shot list that’s ideal for your project!

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