The Most Natural Cut in Cinema is a POV shot
Point of view shots, also called subjective camera or first person camera for the more tech minded filmmaker let the director show us what the character is looking at. This is a technique that is widely used in today’s cinema, in everything from Jaws to Breaking Bad. Filmmakers have deployed creative uses of the POV shot for dramatic effect for a long time, even more than we realise. In fact, Jean Luc Godard called it “the most natural cut in cinema”.
In this video from ScreenPrism, they examined four different uses of the shot from 51 movies…that’s a lot of movies. So what makes a POV shot powerful rather than simply informative? Which characters and genres benefit the most from the use of subjective camera?
Hidden Monsters, Drugs and Space
There are a lot of scenarios that the POV shot is perfect for, it can help to exaggerate an emotion or circumstance. For example, if your character is on drugs, then there’s not many better ways to show that than through the eyes of your protagonist. If you’re making a Sci-Fi space epic and your astronaut is floating aimlessly and hopelessly into the black abyss, a POV shot will convey that emotion very well.
As with all shots and styles, it’s a great technique to learn and master but it is just a tool. So learn how to create and master the POV shot so you have it in your filmmaking arsenal, sure. But it is just a tool for you to use. To really pull off a shot like this in your film, you have to understand why you are using it.