The 30° rule
is a basic film editing
Film editing is part of the creative post-production process of filmmaking. It involves the selection and combining of shots into sequences, and ultimately creating a finished motion picture. It is an art of storytelling...
guideline that states the camera should move at least 30° between shots of the same subject occurring in succession. This change of perspective makes the shots different enough to avoid a jump cut
A jump cut is a cut in film editing and vloging in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. This type of edit causes the subject of the shots to appear to "jump" position in a discontinuous way...
. Too much movement around the subject may violate the 180° rule
In filmmaking, the 180° rule is a basic guideline that states that two characters in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line...
As Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White suggest in The Film Experience
, "The rule aims to emphasize the motivation for the cut by giving a substantially different view of the action. The transition between two shots less than 30 degrees apart might be perceived as unnecessary or discontinuous--in short, visible." (2004, 130)
The rule is actually a special case of a more general dictum that states that the cut will be jarring if the two shots being cut are so similar that there appears to be a lack of motivation for the cut. In his book In The Blink of an Eye
, editor Walter Murch
Walter Scott Murch is an American film editor and sound designer.-Early life:Murch was born in New York City, New York, the son of Katharine and Canadian-born Walter Tandy Murch , a painter. He went to The Collegiate School, a private preparatory school in Manhattan, from 1949 to 1961...
states: “[We] have difficulty accepting the kind of displacements that are neither subtle nor total: Cutting from a full-figure master shot, for instance, to a slightly tighter shot that frames the actors from the ankles up. The new shot in this case is different enough to signal that something has changed, but not different enough to make us re-evaluate its context.” (2006, 6)
Following this rule may soften the effect of changing shot distance, such as changing from a medium shot to a close-up.
This sequence, 15 minutes (5:43) into Rose Hobart
(1936), suggests a violation of the '30° rule' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQVLLGzhLl0
The axial cut
An axial cut is a type of jump cut, where the camera suddenly moves closer to or further away from its subject, along an invisible line drawn straight between the camera and the subject. While a plain jump cut typically involves a temporal discontinuity , an axial cut is a way of maintaining the...
is a striking violation of this rule to obtain a certain effect.