Monday, March 10, 2008


Not sure exactly what this blog entry is supposed to be about because Point of View is a broad subject. I'm just gonna wing it and discuss film and POV.

Most viewers will never even think about POV when watching a movie. It's just a thing that has been trained into our brains from growing up with television and movies that we don't notice it. Walter Benjamin says in "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" that film is a more exacting form of visual media, as opposed to the stage. The director can chose the POV he wants us to gaze from; whether it's the inside of a train car, the bottom of a toilet bowl, an ultra-wide birds-eye shot of the city, or a close up of a person eating their breakfast, it is completely up to the director and editor. On the opposite end we have theater. The audience is only allowed one POV, their own. If they have bad seats they aren't able to see the show as it was intended. This gives a more personal experience with the art, but is extremely limited in its POV options.

I find this utterly mind blowing. I never thought about it like this, but it is true. There is no way anyone would ever be able to see the Earth from space, but that shot might be perfect to tell the story of an alien invasion. It's all about telling the story effectively. Use any POV you can to get that message across and, if you can, have it connect emotionally with the viewer. We all love movies that tug at our emotions, and the right POV can make or break a scene. That is why editing and directing are true artforms.

Next time you're watching your favorite flick take a moment to analyze the POV in a specific scene. Most movies follow only a handful of POVs (the main characters), but we don't see the film through their literal "Point of View." There isn't a successful movie out told from the "eye" of one character. I know this can be done for special effect in a particular scene, but it is not used exclusively (at least that I am aware of).

Point of View is a powerful tool! Behold the power of P.O.V.!

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