Video Production Tips

What is a Dutch angle and when to use it? 

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If you're making your way through the world of photography and film production and feeling stuck with all the advanced jargon around angles, Clipchamp has got your back.

Let's explore what a dutch angle is so you can incorporate it into your next creative project.

Dutch angle shot of a family

What is a Dutch angle? 

A Dutch camera angle is a way of tilting the camera along the X-axis. It has a long history that actually began in Germany in the 1920s. Generally, using a Dutch angle is an easy way for directors to tell the viewer they should be feeling unsettled or have apprehension about the coming events. Just like when the music takes on that specific tone and you get that sense of foreboding, Dutch angle is a visual cue to the same thing! With almost every kind of story, there's a rise and fall of action. Dutch angle is important to consider when you are looking to tell a well-rounded and immersive story.  

When should you use the Dutch angle in photos and videos?

It's a good idea to use the Dutch camera shot to bring uncertainty into your filming and photography. Before picking an angle, remember that there are many different types of camera angles to choose from so make sure a Dutch angle is the best choice.

You also have to make sure the supporting elements work with the angle. Things like your lighting can impact whether using a Dutch angle is successful or not. 

What is a Dutch angle selfie?

A Dutch angle selfie is when you apply the Dutch angle techniques to a selfie to achieve a photo that has you and more of a background element in the frame.

It can also add a sense of crazy wonder if the background element is unusual. 

How to use Dutch angle 

It's important to understand several factors behind a Dutch shot to meet your ideal vision. The degree of your tilt can bring forth different reactions and the depth of field can change how emotionally invested the viewer is.

Give yourself time to experiment with the various combinations to find what suits you best. 

Examples of the Dutch angle in film

Starting with a classic example, we'll then look at two more unusual ways to use Dutch angle. 

Dutch angle example from Thor

Thor faces a lot of criticism for its overuse of the Dutch angle. Because it's used so frequently reality starts to feel distorted for the viewer.

This choice works in context. It represents Thor's perspective as this is a completely alien world to him. However, it is polarizing for viewers as it does not necessarily make them feel unsettled. 

Thor dutch angle example 1
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Dutch angle example in Inception

Another film that uses the Dutch angle a lot, but in this case it's to achieve exactly the feeling of distortion that the characters feel.

The camera is tilted because the world is actually tilting. 

Dutch angle example in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The use of Dutch angle achieves exactly what it's traditionally used for. The viewer is unsettled and unsure what could happen next. 

Dutch angle: What comes next? 

Now that you've answered the question, "what is a dutch angle?" It's time to start using it! And there's no better way to upgrade your videos than to use Clipchamp video editing platform.

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