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What is a Tilt Shot? - Team Beverly Boy Productions

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Date published:

January 14, 2021

What is a Tilt Shot?

A tilt shot is one of several camera movements that aspiring cinematographers attempt to master and since it’s a relatively easy movement, you’re likely to master it rather quickly. But what is a tilt shot and how is it captured? Follow along as we outline what a tilt shot is exactly and how you can capture critical moments and deliver emotional footage to your audience via the tilt shot.

BBP camera crew 1-10

Tilt Shot Definition

The definition of a tilt shot is basically to use tilting in which the camera remains fixed but moves up and down along a vertical axis or plane to capture a different angled view of the subject.

Tilting is a motion that is much like the motion that would take place as you raise your head to look up at the sky or lower it to look down at your feet. Notice how your head is stable on your neck and only moves up and down?

This is the same type of motion that occurs with a camera that is maneuvering a tilt shot.

How is a Tilt Shot Different than Panning?

The tilt shot is not the same as panning the camera. Don’t get the two confused! Unlike panning the camera, in which the movement from left to right will take place while the camera sits on a fixed location.

The tilt shot involves an up and down movement that is enabled with equipment such as the tilt-shift lens which allows for vertical camera motion to occur.

Why Do Directors Use a Tilt Shot?

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Understanding why directors use the tilt shot and why you should know how to use tilt shots in your video productions is key to using your camera shots and angles to tell your story in a creative manner that will captivate your audience.

The tilt shot may be used for a variety of reasons or purposes including:

  • Bringing the viewer into a location using the tilt shot as the establishing shot.
  •  
  • Providing a downward observation of action that is taking place over a larger area.
  •  
  • Providing an upward view of the character such that there is a predisposed assertion of weakness or inferiority of character.

Practical Movement

The tilt shot is used regularly for various purposes. And, since it’s a rather practical movement we see it used frequently. Although not quite as often as we see camera panning take place.

Achieving the Tilt Shot

Mounting the camera on a tripod can help you to achieve the tilt shot. Unless you prefer to use a handheld camera and simple tilt the angle of the camera up and down.

The tilt shot is much more dramatic than a standard straight-angle or similar shot. As such, you can use the tilt shot to grasp the attention of the audience as you move from one area of the scene to another.

This method is often used as the establishing shot to bring the audience into the scene.

Shaping a Scene

To achieve the tilt shot, consider tilting the camera down toward a character to produce a sense of superiority as if one character is viewing down on another.

This is a great way to create a sense of character vulnerability in your video. Without having to necessarily use dialogue to support it.

To show a large building that can be seen as potentially overwhelming. Or to create a sense of a scene that is larger than life. Tilt the camera upward as it views the scene to create a sense of superiority.

In Summation

Mastering the tilt shot is pretty easy overall. Once you find the answer to the question “What is a tilt shot?” and how it can be used to evoke powerful emotion between your characters or scene and your audience, you’ll find yourself wanting to use this method more often.

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