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Behind legs

Behind legs

Camera height makes a huge contribution to storytelling. While it’s most conventional to position the camera around a character’s eye level, getting the camera close to the ground can often create some interesting effects. Often used in westerns and fight scenes, filming a character from behind the legs of another character has the effect of making their opponent seem indomitable.

In Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is overpowered by an enormous Nazi officer. As they fight, Spielberg cuts a brief shot of Jones on the ground, bloody and shocked by a punch from the Nazi officer. This shot is filmed from behind the legs of the Nazi officer, his boots dominating both sides of the frame as he towers over Indiana Jones.

You’ll also notice this shot in the boxing scene of Cool Hand Luke (1967) and in The House of Flying Daggers (2004) during the fight in the bamboo forest.