Video Production Tips

What is a point-of-view or POV shot?

Posted May 30, 2021
Written by Clipchamp

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If you’re a video editing enthusiast, you’ve probably heard the term "POV shot" thrown around a few times. It stands for "point of view" and is a powerful camera technique that can help filmmakers connect their characters with their audience.

Let's understand the POV shot better:

  • What is a POV shot?

  • Why is it important to understand a POV shot?

  • When to use a POV shot?

  • How to use a POV shot?

  • How is a POV shot used in social media videos?

point of view shot on a bicycle

What is a POV shot?

A POV shot a camera technique that allows the audience to see things from a particular character’s perspective. This POV shot definition is a helpful way of summarizing it:

“A POV shot is a camera technique that films from a particular angle. It shows the audience what the character is looking at from a first-person perspective. This is most often established with a shot of a character looking at something, followed by a shot showing the character’s reaction.”

A point of view shot can also be called a "perspective".

Why is it important to understand a POV shot?

The POV shot is one of many different camera shots a filmmaker may use to establish a narrative and engage their audience.

Having a wide selection of different camera and storytelling techniques in a film ultimately helps create more powerful and complex narratives.

When to use a POV shot?

Only when it suits your video's storyline. The POV shot can be used anytime you want to throw your audience into the center of the action.

Let's look at some examples of when the POV shot has been used well by directors in different genres.

How to use a POV shot?

In Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg uses the POV shot in the haunting Omaha beach scene in the drama genre. The audience sees the chaos and destruction through the eyes of Tom Hanks’ character as the camera flips between shots of his POV and his reaction. It establishes the inhumanity and despair of the entire war.

Perhaps one of the most famous POV shots in the horror genre is known as the “killer POV.” John Carpenter established this shot in his film, Halloween. It lets the audience see the narrative through the villain’s perspective and builds tension very well.

Is a POV shot used in social media videos?

The POV shot is also incredibly popular on TikTok. The videos trend under the hashtag #POV and tell various stories ranging from funny to dramatic.

Learn more camera shots

Now you know the answer to what is a POV shot and how helpful it can be to immerse your audience further into your plot. But the POV shot is only one of many different camera techniques. Learn about establishing shots, master shots and more easy tactics to improve your video production skills!

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