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Old 06-06-2017, 06:21 PM   #1
cinemachick
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Question 180 Rule

I'm a beginning filmmaker and wanted to know everyone's thoughts on the 180 Rule. I have a new short that I'm working on and have shot several scenes where I've jumped the 180 line. The shots made sense to me, therefore, I shot them that way. Even when I show the clips to others, they don't notice the difference. It's usually my other filmmaking friends that notice. Will something like this keep you out of festivals? Do you ignore the 180 rule and if so, how often? Thank you!
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:55 PM   #2
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinemachick View Post
I'm a beginning filmmaker and wanted to know everyone's thoughts on the 180 Rule. I have a new short that I'm working on and have shot several scenes where I've jumped the 180 line. The shots made sense to me, therefore, I shot them that way. Even when I show the clips to others, they don't notice the difference. It's usually my other filmmaking friends that notice. Will something like this keep you out of festivals? Do you ignore the 180 rule and if so, how often? Thank you!
I never ignore this "rule".

But it's not a "rule" that will keep a movie out of festivals. Let's change
the word too "guideline". My thoughts on this guideline is that following
it allows the viewer to stay oriented in the scene. When the filmmaker
chooses to disorient the viewer not following this guideline makes sense.
You chose to do it for a reason. In that case it is your creative option to
do it.

You say most who have seen the clip so far even notices. That's because
the "rule" isn't a rule. Relax; make your movie the way YOU want to make
them. Not everyone will like everything. If your filmmaking friends don't
like it that's good for you to understand. If you enter the movie in festivals
an you do not get accepted because you chose to ignore this guideline then
you can make a different creative decision on your next film.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:46 PM   #3
Quality
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The 180 degree rule is a good guideline not to confuse the audience with random shots of the characters. Position is ever important to show the actor's awareness. Even though Marvel breaks this rule is almost every MCU film.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:19 PM   #4
cinemachick
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Thank you so much directorik and Quality for your quick replies! Just the type of info that I'm looking for. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:02 AM   #5
gorillaonabike
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I think film making is about knowing when to break the rules. In fact, I love it because every so often, a film maker comes along and tears up the rulebook and we have a truly amazing piece of film making.

So break away if you can make it work.
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Old 06-07-2017, 05:51 AM   #6
WalterB
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I agree with all of the above.
The 180 rule/guideline is part of the structure, syntax and grammar of filmmaking and just like language: you don't always use the same structure to say something.
Most important is: does it convey what it is meant to convey?
This question often replies with why it is good to apply the 180 rule. And sometimes to 'break' it.
Knowing why you 'break' this 'rule' implies you are aware of the emotional* impact your choices have on your visual story.

*) Emotional can be seen very broad here:
it can impact the viewer, it can say something about the character(s) or the scene.

When you master a language, you can write better poetry :-)
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:58 AM   #7
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorillaonabike View Post
I think film making is about knowing when to break the rules. In fact, I love it because every so often, a film maker comes along and tears up the rulebook and we have a truly amazing piece of film making.
I'd love a few examples.

What is the movie and what rules were broken?
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:23 PM   #8
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Breaking the 180 rule is a great way to subtly make the audience feel uneasy. Obviously, this should be paired with story moments where uneasiness would make sense.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:03 PM   #9
joelhall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
I agree with all of the above.
The 180 rule/guideline is part of the structure, syntax and grammar of filmmaking and just like language: you don't always use the same structure to say something.
Most important is: does it convey what it is meant to convey?
This question often replies with why it is good to apply the 180 rule. And sometimes to 'break' it.
Knowing why you 'break' this 'rule' implies you are aware of the emotional* impact your choices have on your visual story.

*) Emotional can be seen very broad here:
it can impact the viewer, it can say something about the character(s) or the scene.

When you master a language, you can write better poetry :-)
Best answer.
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Old 07-14-2017, 04:23 PM   #10
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I think 4 people at a square table provides the best example, but here are some stills from my short, ROAD RASH. I actually caught myself shooting the guy looking in front of the camera, after I established the eyeline behind it. I didn't even tell the actor I screwed up, I just said, "Do it again, but look over here."


He's not really looking at the engine, but because I crossed the line, he appears to be.








Quote:
Originally Posted by cinemachick View Post
Will something like this keep you out of festivals? Do you ignore the 180 rule and if so, how often?
I guess it could keep you out of festivals, if it disorientates or irritates the person screening your movie. It could call attention to an amateurish quality, when they are looking for the best stuff. If you want the actors to look engaged and the performances to stand out, the scenes can lose power, if it looks like they aren't making eye contact when interacting.

I was just discussing this on another thread. For instance, if there is a chase scene and your protagonist is being chased by the villian, you need to show them going the same direction, otherwise, it may look like they are running away from each other. Sometimes, you can horizontally reverse the image to make the sequence flow right.
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Last edited by Scoopicman; 07-14-2017 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
I'd love a few examples.

What is the movie and what rules were broken?
Wes Anderson does not follow the rule of thirds. Ever. Tarantino does not follow any rules of screenwriting. I'm sure we could name quite a few more, but I think it's a moo point.

I agree with G-Bike's sentiment. I think art, in general, is all about breaking the rules. Without that, we have no innovation. Learn the rules. Follow them when you want to. Break them when you want to. I do.

To the OP, it's difficult for me to comment on your question without being able to see the video in question. I don't know this to be the case, but it's possible that your non-filmmaker friends were thrown off by your breaking of that rule, but they didn't know why they were thrown off, and were just being polite by not mentioning it. Maybe. Or, maybe your breaking of that rule works just fine. Feel free to post your video if you'd like a more detailed response.
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