What Is Shutter Angle and How Can You Use It to Improve Your Filmmaking?

If you’ve heard about the 180-degree rule and aren’t sure how it works — or perhaps you have a vague idea of how it works but would like to know why — check out this short video from filmmaker and educator Mark Bone.

Shutter angle is a mysterious term, and while many filmmakers will know how to set a shutter speed based on the frame rate, you might not know why this works and how you can change it to get different results. While some might stick to it religiously, the 180-degree rule is there to be broken, and there are a few different reasons as to when you might want to do it.

Perhaps one of the most important points covered by Bone is why filmmakers tend to avoid changing the shutter angle to adjust exposure. Through habituation, our brains are wired to see movement in a certain way, and playing with the shutter angle can be jarring, and can also make your footage feel inconsistent if the shutter angle keeps changing. There is a solution, however, and inevitably, there’s a vast array of choice from B&H Photo.

When do you break the 180-degree rule? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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3 Comments

Deleted Account's picture

Video is weird...