Screen Direction & 180 Degress of Coherent Storyboarding Tips
WHAT IS THE 180 DEGREE RULE?
The human psychology is a vast and beautiful thing. Human beings have their powers of attention and their own acumen of focus to be able to comprehend and compute that which they see before them.
Being able to maintain the buy-in of your audiences attention is where the 180 degree rule comes in handy to maintain the suspension of disbelief you are selling to the absorption of your audiences attention.
The 180 rule is a filmmaking technique that helps the audience keep track of where your characters are in a scene. When you have two people or two groups facing each other in the same shot, you have to establish a 180-degree angle, or a straight line, between them.
The 180 Degree Rule can also be dubbed the “line of action” that enables you to maintain your level of integrity in consisten screen direction between the shots throughout your scenes.
It could be imagined as an imaginary line that draws from one character to the other character with whom they are interacting. If the character is in motion, then line will be drawn along the direction in which the character is facing or travelling.
For clarity of purpose in exposition all visual storytelling, this rule states that all forthcoming shots in a scene ought to only be viewed from one side of this imaginary line so as to uphold the suspension of disbelief and not to confuse or distort your audience in anyway.
What Happens If You Break the 180-Degree Rule?
The 180-degree rule is broken, and your suspension of disbelief takes a knock.
You can cover a reverse cut with a cutaway. If you catch it on set, you can choose to move the camera around the characters before the cut, or have the characters themselves move during the preceding shot.
Unless you have delineated and well thought out reasons for the emotional and psychological impact of what your story points convey, it is best to adhere to the 180 degree rule.
Breaking the 180 degree rule is not arbitrary in its application, unless of course it is a result of lack of knowledge – as it was for me in my first storyboarding studio gig I had several years ago. ll.
Thankfully, I had a sunshine vibrant human for a Director and he was the kindest dude about it and enabled me to learn, rather than feel deficient in some way. I had been taught about it, but in its application of tight deadlines, it was always a sweet feel to have a fresh eye to let you know when you get off track. You are human, afterall.
It is a sweetfeel to have the kind generosity of well respected and precedentedly successful creatives as well as keep gaining in your knowledge and awareness of visual storytelling tools.
Keeping a list of the things you have to keep track of while implementing your visual storytelling frames is a handy vibe until your subconscious becomes attuned to a pattern of understanding.
Remember you are highly creative and are a channel for the conduit of your own unique expressions of creativity.