Crossing the 180 line (5 replies and 3 comments)
Hey guys. I have a commercial shoot coming up and I could use some advice. I have two actors at a sink doing dishes, the camera is directly behind them (flat space), the OTS shots of them looking at each other are also behind. I want to get a reverse shot of them both through the kitchen window but this will be opposite the 180 degree line. I have planned to dolly one of the OTS angles across the line so I can get that reverse shot without a jarring cut... but I'm curious on opinions as to whether a jump across that line for that one shot is a huge deal. It would save me a headache in post because that move to cross is going to take up valuable time. The ad has a bit of quirkiness to it so maybe that's an OK thing. I'm attaching a map. Hopefully this makes sense and I appreciate any advice. Thank you.
This scene from 'Killing Them Softly' shows a similar dolly move to the one your suggesting: https://youtu.be/Tx2QAX3TSYk»
It works quite well in the context, but I think you can get away with a simple jump across the line if you show a wider shot first, showing the actors in the context and environment, and switching to closer shots.
Another option - if viable for you - is to have one of the actors cross the line for you. If one of them went to the fridge for instance, you could then stay on that side of the line as they approached the sink again.
Thanks! Great stuff!
I wouldn't worry so much about it, it is very common to jump over the line when shooting two people standing side-by-side where their relative position to each other is very clear. One common example would be two people standing on the edge of a cliff looking out and shooting a frontal 2-shot of their faces and a reverse 2-shot with the landscape beyond them. You only have to follow a line when intercutting singles in this case so that they look like they are looking at each other. The 180 rule only exists to avoid confusion in the audience as to where people are and who they are looking at when intercutting, so as long as there is no confusion, then it's not a problem. The red bathroom scene in "The Shining" is a good example of two wide 2-shots done from opposite ends of the room, so a 180 degree flip, but the close-ups pick a screen direction to match to for intercutting.
Thank you, David! Really appreciate your insight. Very helpful!
I would say if you are worried about the coverage and crossing the line then just give one of the characters motivation to create a new line of action, something like dropping a cloth on the floor or reaching for a pile of dirty dishes. Also if you are feeling adventurous you could mock up a reverse shot by framing a mid shot of your talent the same background but place a table there with two big bowls of water and dishes in them so you still give the audience the same effect without jarring them.