Written By:

What is Subjective Camera in Film?

Interesting enough, the use of different camera angles and framing conventions directly impacts how your audience reacts to your film. Want to give your audience a direct connection to your protagonist’s mind? Give them the opportunity to get inside the protagonist’s head with subjective camera. But how? And, what is subjective camera in film?

[blog-contact email = "email" label "Get a quick quote now!"]
Interview Team Beverly Boy

Like many of the tools at the cinematographer’s disposal when it comes to visual storytelling. Subjective camera and other styles of shot composition can be used to give your audience a glimpse into your characters’ lives. It’s all about perspective.

Point of View & Perspective

Much of the visual storytelling process is determined either by the use of subjective, or objective, point of view. Together, these make up the perspective from which a story can be told, both visually and in written or oral form.

Determining which point of view to use when sharing your story can be challenging, but fun!

Most importantly, don’t believe that you are stuck with just one point of view or another. Perspective can change throughout a film. It all depends on the dynamics and underlying nuances of the narratives which play out on the screen.

The Character’s Eyes

POV shots are filmed from an angle. Which provides the audience with a glimpse of what the character is looking at.

Compare this to a written narrative. In which the character describes for the reader exactly what they see, through their perspective.

The camera operates as the eyes of the character and the audience sees through their point of view or perspective.

Emotional Perspective

When these shots are captured in such a way that the audience is directly connected to the character. Sensing the character’s emotional perspective on the scene and how the character feels. You’ve captured a subjective camera shot.

It’s subject to the perspective of the character, and the experience is thus directly impacted by the character’s history, background, and underlying emotions.

Subjective Camera vs. Objective Perspective

Exactly what is subjective camera in film? It is NOT the same as a POV shot, however it is a shot that provides perspective. A POV shot is used to give a glimpse of the scene EXACTLY as the character sees it.

Technically, a POV shot is an objective camera angle which falls between both subjective and objective perspectives.

The Difference

Moreover, the easiest way to understand the difference between all of these different camera angles is to think of them exactly how they play out on the screen for the audience.

Subjective shows the audience the scene the way the character sees it. And includes the character’s emotions. But excludes anything that the character himself cannot see, hear, learn, etc. Subjective camera POV, but POV is not always subjective.


Objective perspective is the opposite of subjective camera. Such that the camera work delivers more of an observational view of the characters.

But, it allows the audience to see things that characters cannot see or to see the scene from a perspective that the characters cannot see. This is similar to an author or narrator.

For Example

If you were to film a main character that walks into a bar using a wide-angle roving shot, it would be considered a POV shot.

Now, to film subjective camera, you would show what your character sees as they carefully look around the bar. In a way in which your audience can sense the nervousness of the character.

The Takeaway

Finally, if you were to cut to another shot. In which a lonesome woman is sitting at the bar possibly awaiting the arrival of the man. And there’s no real emotional connection to what the woman is thinking. But the narrator fills in the perspective, this would be an objective shot.

However, if the last shot cut to what the woman was seeing, and thinking, when the man walked in, this would be a POV shot as you would connect your audience to what the woman is seeing.

So, what is subjective camera in film? Subjective camera is a POV shot that gives a direct connection to the character’s emotions as the scene is viewed through their eyes. 

If you’d like to learn more about POV Shots, we think Studio Binder provides a fantastic explanation!