Camera Angles for Atmosphere and meaning

In this exercise I have looked at movies that have used camera angles to convey a sense of atmosphere or for / alter the meaning of a scene.

Viewpoint – In the movie ‘The Conversation’ Directed, written and produced by Francis Ford-Coppola, the film begins with a wide-angle shot taken from a high vantage-point looking down on to a public square the POV begins to slowly zooming in on a street entertainer before moving on to build the set-up to the story in this same one sequence. This scene used zoom to develop meaning.


From this scene In Citizen Kane, the young Kane’s future is being decided whilst we see the child of Kane playing outside in the snow unaware.

Brief Encounter, the bars that make up the window-frame suggests prison, punishment, danger.  This scene is when Laura a married women played bu Celia Johnson nervously enters a flat with her would be lover.

From ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to lambs often associated with sacrifice are left alive whilst the soldiers around them all lay dead.

Lawrence is positioned with a classical fresco of a Greek or Roman Hero in the background  comparing past ideas of Hero with modern.


Laura is positioned higher than Alec, (Trevor Howard) who is asking to meet her again, she is in the stronger position to choose therefore has a higher status he is in the humbler position of asking and is in the lower status.

In this scene from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ by David Lean, the Arab who has been left in the desert is photographed from a distance using a wide-angle lens to emphasize his tiny status against the vast empty desert that surrounds him.


The sunset/sunrise silhouetting the figure creates mood and atmosphere (Lawrence  of Arabia).

Same as above (Lawrence of Arabia)

From Lawrence of Arabia, make-up, costume, lighting, color-balance, shallow depth-of-field with actor’s expression combine to create mood.



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