In filmmaking, the 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene.
By keeping the camera on one side of an imaginary axis between two characters, the first character is always framed right of the second character. (see image below)
When To Break The 190-Degree Rule?
It doesn’t happen very often, but indeed it does happen.
A good example of this as noted on blog.frame.io was a scene from the film, Requiem for a Dream (2000), shot by cinematographer Matty Libatique and director Darren Aronofsky. As shown below.
Another great example is from filmmaker David F. Sandberg. On one of his early films called “Lights Out (2016)” he does break the 180-Degree rule.
If you think you never heard of David then you might remember some of his other films such as:
- Closet Space (2016)
- Annabelle Creation (2017)
- Shazam! (2019)
So here is a video where he explains how he broke the 180-Degree rule in Lights Out. And in this case, it did make the scene play out a lot better.
If you don’t want to watch the whole video fast forward to 17:00 (DON’T GET SCARED) well… he actually starts talking about breaking the 180-Degree rule at 19:00, but watch from 17:00, so you can get the jest of the story a bit better on what he’s talking about and why he did what he did to break the rule.