1. #1

    Anyone else started noticing this with TV-shows?

    So you know during tv-shows, sometimes a character will be talking to another character that has their back to us, to kind of go back and forth between face shots?
    What I've started noticing lately, is that if you look at their angle, they often aren't looking AT the person in front of them, but rather to the side and further of in the distance, to "simulate" that they are looking at the character.
    Is this a new thing, or have I just been blind to this the whole time?
    What is this thing called? I tried Googling it, but I had a hard time phrasing myself to find a good search :P.

    Maybe I am just going insane, who knows!

  2. #2
    No, I've never paid attention to that. I assume that any mistakes in those sorts of shots are just down to editing.

  3. #3
    Teleprompter...sometimes it isn't in front of the camera.

  4. #4
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    Last edited by Masark; 2021-11-07 at 04:46 AM.

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  5. #5
    Stood in the Fire
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    The one that's more annoying to me are the hospital/fire/police drama shows that use the camera style of a jumpy amateur cameraman with a shaky hand on-scene. Not quite Blair Witch Project, but close. ER kind of started that and some shows since have taken it more extreme. I understand that they use it to try to convey the feeling of action or an emergency situation. But it's a bit overboard at times.

  6. #6
    Legendary! Logwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlz0rz View Post
    So you know during tv-shows, sometimes a character will be talking to another character that has their back to us, to kind of go back and forth between face shots?
    What I've started noticing lately, is that if you look at their angle, they often aren't looking AT the person in front of them, but rather to the side and further of in the distance, to "simulate" that they are looking at the character.
    Is this a new thing, or have I just been blind to this the whole time?
    What is this thing called? I tried Googling it, but I had a hard time phrasing myself to find a good search :P.

    Maybe I am just going insane, who knows!
    Been done countless times before. Sometimes the actor/actress in the behind shot isn't the one playing that character as well. If you need one actor/actress to come back in and redo a few lines you aren't going to pay the other actor/actress to come in and just have the back of their head filmed.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowferal View Post
    Teleprompter...sometimes it isn't in front of the camera.
    What others have pointed out - and I'll double this one.

    Even on scripted shows, where you'd expect people to show up who have lines 'memorized' - if they're 'looking away' from the person in front of them while 'also' looking at them - they're reading/reminding themselves of the lines.

    Whether or not its happening more or less would come down to all of our own confirmation biases without outside evidence/explanation.
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  8. #8
    It's a common shot for coverage, which is when you want the person with their back to the camera say something in ADR (after shooting is done) and want mainly to see the other character's reaction.

  9. #9
    I knew a guy like this in college, he could never look you in the eyes, always staring just over your shoulder, but I think his issue was he was drunk and high every night.

  10. #10
    This is a pretty typical cameraman stuff. I guess you notice it more nowadays because a new technique is being applied.

    I remember i once had a book explaining camera shots and one of the angles that stuck to me was that when you see the camera looking downwards on a character, it's mean to symbolize that particular character is insecure or vulnerable at that moment, as if they are struggling to cope with the conflict presented on screen.

    On the contrary, if the camera is below the torso of the character and looking up at their faces, this means the character is presented from an angle of power and control and that they are dominating and leading that particular interaction on screen.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Phayde View Post
    I knew a guy like this in college, he could never look you in the eyes, always staring just over your shoulder, but I think his issue was he was drunk and high every night.
    Met two people like that, alwasys looked up. Felt weird talking to them. I hate looking people in the eyes so I might look around and talking. But I feel it's different when someone obviously looks somewhere else, but just close enough but not really, makes it feel eerie for some reason.

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Spyrith View Post
    This is a pretty typical cameraman stuff. I guess you notice it more nowadays because a new technique is being applied.

    I remember i once had a book explaining camera shots and one of the angles that stuck to me was that when you see the camera looking downwards on a character, it's mean to symbolize that particular character is insecure or vulnerable at that moment, as if they are struggling to cope with the conflict presented on screen.

    On the contrary, if the camera is below the torso of the character and looking up at their faces, this means the character is presented from an angle of power and control and that they are dominating and leading that particular interaction on screen.
    Pretty good example of that here:



    It's aided by the fact that "Brett" is seated while "Jules" is standing...but you'll notice in some of the shots the camera is slightly behind and to the side of Brett's head pointing up towards Jules and, on the reverse angle, the camera is just a little behind of Jules arm while looking at Brett. Even when Jules's demeanor is more friendly...the power imbalance is firmly established before any weapons are drawn.

  14. #14
    Exactly this. Also I'd say that this is probably Samuel L. Jackson's best acted scene in his whole career. Another thing that stands out to me is that when the camera is on Brett, you can see a lot of other things happening. The drinks on the table, Brett sitting, Jules's friend wandering around doing whatever. It's very obvious Brett is stripped of any power and control he might have.

  15. #15
    Mechagnome
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    Tarrentino is one of the masters (IMO) of using/framing shots to help tell the story. That 'unconscious' (our perception) support of visuals to go with the auditory storytelling. His stuff isn't studied in film school for no reason =D.

    Though I also know this isn't really what the OP is talking/asking about. While the above is masterful cinematography - the stuff the OP is commenting on, that we all see too, comes from the opposite side of 'masterful.'

    I do wonder if we see 'more' of the misalignment of shots/misalignment of eye-lines with teleprompters in more recent (last ten years) tv media than we did in the 80s/90s. I know, like the OP, I've 'noticed' it more but I'm also older now to be paying attention so it could be allllll confirmation bias. I mean, I know I knew about this in the 90s and onwards (watched it on Saturday Night Live since day one so even if it was no where else on tv it was there lol) but, like the OP, it does seem to be something happening more regularly/commonly than it use to. But...that's really probably confirmation bias (lol).
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