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GETTING THE LOWDOWN
Just to make things crystal clear, we’re talking about getting the lowdown perspective  here! So, if you’re looking for a fresh new angle to spice up your videos perhaps the perspective you seek is right at your feet, or at least in that general neighborhood. I’m talking about getting down with your camcorder and shooting up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how this can really give your scenes a refreshing look and a totally new point-of-view slant. Let’s face it: most of your shots are at eye-level, either hand-held or tripod-mounted. OK, so occasionally you’ll do an elevated shot or maybe even a crane or jib shot, but the vast majority of the time you shoot from a straight- on perspective, right? Well, that’s OK, but you can add the unexpected angle to help break up the monotony and give things a different look. It’s easy to do, you really don’t need anything additional in the way of equipment and all it takes is a bit of creative thinking outside the box. Let me explain what I mean a bit further. Low-angles are useful for lots of different scenarios. You can use a low-down wide-angle for an establishing shot, you can use a low angle for a cut-away, for an approach or a departure shot, for a facial shot during a narrative – well, if you think about it, you can use these lower-than-normal perspectives for just about any kind of situation that you’d like to capture in a new – and often – unexpected way to give your videos a really different look for some scenes. To get these low-down shots, all you have to is position the camcorder lower that you’d normally shoot from – the lower the camcorder
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by Tom Benford
position, the more dramatic the effect will be. I’ve found that small, table-top tripods can be very useful and I’ve also used sand-filled pods for my low shots. The pods are especially use- ful for roadway shots when shooting an ap- proaching or departing vehicle. You can also hand-hold the camcorder from a kneeling, crouching, sitting or prone position to get the desired perspective – what ever works best for you is the best way to go. It’s also important to remember that there doesn’t always have to be a lot of action taking place when you use a low-angle shot; indeed, they come in very handy for those cut-aways and transition shots as well. For example, say your two actors have just said goodbye and as we see one of them get in the car and drive away, you transition to a low angle shot of the other one looking on at the departing car. Drama. Nice. Different. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? How about capturing something fairly mundane in the scene from a low angle to break things up? Let’s say, for instance, there’s a dog in the scene and he’s just been given his bowl of food. While you can use a ‘normal’ shot of him chowing down as you hear your actor’s dialogue in the background, using a low-angle shot of the dog with his muzzle in the bowl gives things a different look. Low-angle shots are also very useful to make scenes that are otherwise unremarkable (although necessary for the sake of continuity) more interesting. As an example, let’s say that the scene calls for your actor to retrieve an important letter from the mailbox. Sure, you can show this action from a normal point of