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March 2004, Week 3


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David Tetzlaff <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Mar 2004 11:09:10 -0500
text/plain (45 lines)
I hate to contradict James, but every POV is NOT an eyeline match.

>*POV shot*: a cut from a person looking to what he sees.

This definition is incorrect. A POV shot is just that, a shot, not an
edit. A POV shot represents a character's vision, or so called
subjective camera. Sometimes such shots occur after a shot of the
character, as a sort of reverse shot. But in their most stereotypic
use -- representing the vision of the psycho in a slasher film --
they just appear, unconnected to shots of the character. There are
other examples of this, not in horror films, including (at least
according to film history books-- I've never seen it) the entirety of
Lady in the Lake, and also (have seen it) Russian Ark. Also, when POV
shots ARE edited together with shots of the character whose
subjectivity they represent, the character is not necessarily looking
off screen.

A conventional eyeline match is a cut from a shot of a character
looking off-screen -- viewed from an omniscient 3rd person camera
position, to a shot of what the character is looking at -- often also
viewed from an omniscient 3rd person camera position. This omniscient
position may be distant from the character - as if the camera is in
the audience of a proscenium theater and cuts from left to right of
the stage to follow an eyeline - or more closely aligned with the
character: an over the shoulder position. The two techniques can be
combined of course, as we can cut from an eyeline going off screen to
the character's point of view, e.g. looking-out-the-window shots.


It says something (I don't know what) about the contested nature of
our concepts of 'realism' that so many people responded to my
long-take query with examples from films I would consider to be
anything but realistic -- especially Touch of Evil, Kane, Weekend...

Rope is a good example of one of the problems here, as the film is
very 'stagey'. In one context, with improvised scenes, long takes may
appear more spontaneous, but if the director has any specific ideas
in mind, the long take can become more theatrical, more rehearsed,
more presentational...

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