Camerawork and filmmaking is heavy on the angles. Find out how you can achieve seamless scenes by using the 30-degree rule here!

We recently looked into what jump cuts are in film editing, and the stylistic impact they have on a piece of film. Although they have been used in popular, contemporary cinema, they are not the go-to when editing scenes. An entire film of jump cuts would be real hard on the old peepers.

Ordinarily, films aim to transition smoothly throughout scenes, immersing the audience in the film and not distracting from the action or story. If you’ve been brushing up on your filmmaking with filmmaking lessons on Skillshare, you may have come across the 180-degree rule. This rule focuses on the spatial relationship between characters on-screen, and works off of an imaginary axis. By remaining within 180 degrees along this axis, you ensure that the talent is always looking in the right direction. It also prevents you crossing the centreline of the action.

But, what about its cousin, the 30-degree rule?

What Is the 30-Degree Rule?

This is another guideline that helps you achieve visually pleasing shots. It advises that when filming a subject, your cuts should always rotate at least 30-degrees around the subject. If not, you end up with jarring cuts that can take your audience out of the story.

Of course, everything in moderation. It is possible for you to use too big of an angle. This results in a cut that disorientates and unnecessarily reveals too much of the scene. The same can be said for super wide angles, then jumping in tight on the subject. Too large of a contrast detracts from the slickness of a scene.

As this rule is such a visual point, it is best to have examples you can see. This video from The Film Look illustrates the 30-degree rule perfectly.

Since filmmaking relies heavily on style, you absolutely can break these rules. Defying convention and experimenting with techniques is what makes art so exciting and varied.

Next time you’re working away on your favourite video editing software, experiment with cutting together shots of varying angles, and watch your film transform instantly!

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