The over-the-shoulder camera shot is an unusual camera angle used mainly in television and film, in which the camera is placed directly above the head of an object and often behind the subject’s back.

This shot is used mainly to present close-up, conversational back and forth dialogue between two subjects.

Typically, this shot occurs when the camera shows someone in the front yard or gate of a house as they are talking with another individual. 

In most cases, the person filming will lean over and slightly away from the object while talking to the other individual.

However, some films may use this shot where the subject is actually leaning in the opposite direction from the camera.



What Is An Over The Shoulder Shot?

An over-the-shoulder shot is a type of camera angle where the person in front of the camera is shown from behind, with their body blocking most or all of what’s being filmed. Often, literally, over their shoulder.

The term over-the-shoulder can also refer to footage that shows someone else’s hands typing on their computer keyboard.

This kind of filming technique often sees use in documentary-style productions and movies. It is intended to give viewers an intimate and personal view of the lives or thoughts of those who are being filmed.



What Is An Over The Shoulder Shot?

This type of shot can be very interesting because it is often difficult to tell whether the person on the opposite end of the camera is watching you or not.

Sometimes this results in awkward moments when you are trying to figure out what the subject is looking at.

What is also important to note is that when using this shot in a film, the angle can make the shot look artificially created.

For example, some actors who are simply watching the camera may appear to look like they are looking into the sky.

When these shots occur in a film, you will notice that the faces do not move during the shot.

over the shoulder shot

Understanding The Over The Shoulder Shot

A camera is a pretty basic thing, but when you start to break it down and think about how many tiny parts are required in order for it to function, the concept can be rather complex.

When we talk about an Over The Shoulder Shot, there are actually two different types of shots that people use: one where the subject being filmed faces towards the camera and another where they face away from the camera.

What Is An Over The Shoulder Shot


Over-the-shoulder shot is one of the most common shots in cinema. Its main function is to show another person’s point of view by looking at what they are looking at and hearing through their ears.

The term was coined by French film critic, André Bazin, who used it to describe camera angles that show people’s backs from behind and look over them from above.

A lot of people see over-the-shoulder shots and think they are just a part of cinematic style. But in actuality, these shots can be used to convey a plethora of different emotions.

While some might use it as an example that we are seeing through someone’s perspective, others may use this shot to show how small or insignificant the other character is.

Over-The-Shoulder Shot Definition

A lot of people have the misconception that an over-the-shoulder shot is a wide-angle shot.

This isn’t always the case.

An over-shouldered shot can be used to show depth and closeness between two subjects, so long as they are in separate planes, or it can also be used for close-up detail shots.

An over-the-shoulder shot in a film or television production is a camera angle where the subject’s back and shoulders are visible, while their face is seen as a reflection in an angled mirror.

This perspective provides the viewer with some insight into what the subject sees and also allows for the framing of other characters that may be on screen at the same time.

An over-the-shoulder shot is a type of camera angle that produces the illusion of being “alongside” or behind the person being filmed.

over the shoulder shot

Why Use An Over-The-Shoulder Shot?

It’s no secret that filmmakers and photographers have always been obsessed with the subjectivity of perspective.

In a world where everything is mediated through screens, it becomes even more important to use framing as an opportunity for self-expression.


The over-the-shoulder shot is one way filmmakers can create a subjective experience for viewers without sacrificing the objective reality on screen.

The idea of filming from behind someone’s shoulder has long been used in documentary filmmaking, but this technique has become popularized in recent years by films such as “Birdman” and “Gone Girl.”

This type of shot creates intimacy between the camera and what we see because we are seeing what they see. It also provides an emotional connection to our subject.

It’s also known as a Dutch angle because it was popularized by Hitchcock.

This type of camera angle can be seen in countless films, including “Jaws”, “E.T.”, and “Home Alone”.

Over The Shoulder Shot Examples

There are many instances when this angle can be useful.

For example, if an actor is standing in front of an object and trying to make a comment, this shot may be used.

The actor is leaning forward slightly to comment on something or to ask another actor a question.


In a scene in which the actor is speaking with another character, this shot can be used to give the effect that the character is looking directly at the actor.

In a scene in which the camera follows the character for any length of time, an over-the-shoulder shot may be useful.

In this type of shot, the camera is either placed at a specific distance from the subject or placed so that it is slightly behind them.

This allows the director to have more control over where the shot will go and determine how much movement is required. For example, the shot may be filmed so that the camera pans down slightly each time the character turns around.

Mastering The Over The Shoulder Shot

One of the most popular camera angles in film and television is the over-the-shoulder shot.

This type of shot has been used for decades and it can be seen in many different genres, from comedies to dramas.

What makes this type of shot so popular? There are a few reasons that make it such a captivating choice.

First off, an over-the-shoulder shot provides an excellent way for filmmakers to show how characters’ emotions change throughout a scene, or even throughout an entire movie.

Second, they’re great for showing the tension between two people without needing dialogue; just by looking at each other’s faces, we can see how tense they are with one another.

Thirdly, as viewers, we feel like we get closer to the character partly through camera movement.

Every camera has a perspective, and the angle at which you shoot your subject can have a dramatic effect on how the viewer feels about it.

There are many ways to take an over-the-shoulder shot. The most common way is from behind the subject, capturing their face in profile and then panning up or down to reveal more of them.

A low angle will make you feel like a giant looking at someone small, while a high angle will make your subjects look powerful and dominant.

A lot of people think that the over-the-shoulder shot is a modern invention. In reality, it’s been around for centuries!

It was first introduced in 1839 when Roger Fenton documented Britain’s industrialization with his photography.

When To Use Over The Shoulder Shots

The first reason for using an over-the-shoulder shot is in order to show the audience what’s happening on screen from another person’s perspective.

It also helps create more empathy for your character if they are seen struggling or going through something difficult because it makes them seem more human and relatable.

The second reason you would use an over-the-shoulder shot is for comedic relief within the film by having characters react to things like a joke or gag while not being able to see what prompted their reaction; which can be fun when done right.


The over the shoulder shot is one of the most iconic shots in film. It’s a simple, yet effective way to show two characters interacting with each other.

The viewer can see both their faces and expressions, which conveys feelings of camaraderie and trust between them.

A common misconception about this type of shot is that it only works for close friends or family members who are comfortable being so physically close to one another without touching – but this isn’t true!

An over-the-shoulder shot can be used as a way to add intimacy to any relationship if they’re not able to touch otherwise due to societal norms (such as when filming an interview).

How To Film An Over The Shoulder Shot

There are many different ways you can shoot an over-the-shoulder shot and these range from shooting out of a window to walking backward away from your subject while shooting towards their back.

One of the most common video shots is the over-the-shoulder shot. It’s a very popular style for interviews, tutorials, and other types of videos that involve two or more people.

It can be done either as a side view like in the picture shown above or from behind with one person facing forward and another person facing sideways to show their face.

The one thing you have to remember when shooting this type of footage is that you need an extra camera on your subject’s back so if they move around it doesn’t look weird.

Over The Shoulder Shot Rules

Have you ever seen a horror movie where the killer is just behind their victim and they can’t see them? Well, that’s called an over-the-shoulder shot.

Over-the-shoulder shots are not only popular in horror movies but also in television shows like “Supernatural.”

What makes this type of camera angle so scary is how it creates visual tension.


The audience sees what the victim doesn’t which adds to the suspenseful feeling.

How do you know if your favorite show or film uses an over-the-shoulder shot? To find out, pause on any scene with two characters speaking to each other and watch closely.

Over-the-shoulder shots are commonly seen on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook; however many young adults do not know its origin or importance.