Exercises in visualising subjective POV


Imagine the situations described below. Place yourself in the scene; don’t think about what is there objectively, but what you would see if you were there.

  • You are talking to someone in a shop
  • You are knocking on a door
  • You are a soldier in enemy territory

I began by making brief notes outlining what I could ‘see’ at various points within each of the three scenarios. Then, for each of the scenes, I imagined a series of frames, sketched basic impressions of what I ‘saw’, and annotated the pictures detailing what was included, what was excluded, and why I had made those choices.






Logbook 1 – 12/4/17


You are talking to someone in a shop

The person is facing you talking in an animated way, using their hands.


Knocking on a door

You knock on the door. You wait. The door is opened.


You are a soldier in enemy territory

You see ahead of you a group of enemy soldiers. A sudden sound behind you causes you to glance round.


The exercises became more demanding as I worked through the three tasks. The first task, a scene in which I was talking to someone in a shop, was fairly straightforward and required only three frames to tell the story. Extending on from this, the second task required five frames to tell present the scenario of knocking on a door and waiting for it to open. The third task required considerably more images to present the scenario of a soldier in enemy territory in which, due to the introduction of a ‘complication’, a sudden sound taking my ‘gaze’ away from the enemy soldiers within the scene.

This was a very useful series of exercises. It demonstrated how, when adopting a subjective point-of-view, the camera can become a ‘character’ in a moving image. In addition to showing how to use storyboards to help visualise a subjective point-of-view, it highlighted the importance of carefully considering what should be included in and left out of each frame, and why; the things I deliberately choose not to ‘see’ within the frame, and why; and whether or not the viewer would be aware they were there. All of which shows how it is possible to manipulate the way in which the story within a moving image is told through a careful and considered use of framing.