Reflection Paper: Importance of 180o Rule or Action Axis in TV and Film Production
180o Rule or Action Axis is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the subjects, it is called crossing the line. The new shot from the opposite side is known as reverse angle.1
Below is diagram how the 180o Rule or Action Axis looks like:
The said principle is also based on the exchange of looks between the actors, either from left to right (of camera) or right to left (of camera).
Also, the 180 degree rule enables the audience to visually connect with unseen ...view middle of the document...
Without understanding this concept, one would find difficulty in shooting his film.
For aesthetic purposes, I do think that the180o rule will help emphasize the facial expressions of the actors or talents and make the audience feel that the conversation between them more sincere, serious, and realistic. The speed of switching of cameras (still, applying the Action Axis) will also help the audience feel the atmosphere in a given scene. For example, if the switching of cameras between two actors in a conversation is slow, it will somehow make the audience feel that they are talking about something serious, dramatic. For example, the scene would be in a hospital. A doctor would tell to his patient that he only have few days to live. Thus, it requires a slower switching of cameras to make the audience feel the atmosphere in the scene and sympathize to the patient who’s going to die.
If the switching of the cameras is faster, it will give the audience and intense and heart pounding feeling. These are common for action movies (especially old Filipino action movies like of Fernando Poe, Jr. and Rudy Fernandez). Before the protagonist and antagonist of a story will fire each other, they would have their conversation first, and the switching of camera between the two characters is a bit faster compared to normal.
Again, 180o Rule or Action Axis is as important as learning the ABCs for media arts students. It helps determine the camera positions, blocking, and creating the atmosphere of a scene. Indeed, this principle is a must-learn.