Eyeline Matching

A term used to point to the continuity editing practice ensuring the logic of the look or gaze. In other words, eyeline matching is based on the belief in mainstream cinema that when a character looks into off-screen space the spectator expects to see what he or she is looking at.

The eyeline then refers to the orbit of the looking eye. Eyeline harmony creates order and meaning in the cinematic space. For example Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, makes frequent use of eye-level matches.

Effective Eyeline Match Techniques;

  • Matching close-ups
  • Shot Reverse Shot
  • 180 Degree Rule

Matching close-ups: A framing technique that takes two players with the same camera lens, height, distance, and placement, to match their gaze. When arranged together, their matching gaze reinforces the audience as they look at each other and participate in the conversation.

Shot Reverse Shot: An editing technique that shows two characters looking at each other, often shown with a shoulder shot.This "stabilization" applies to the other primary use of eyeline matching, which is shot/reverse shot, also known as reverse shot, commonly used in close-up dialogue scenes. The camera adopts the trajectory of the eye line facing the other person while the interlocutor is speaking, then moves to the other person's position and does the same.

180 Degree Rule: Imagine sitting at a table, talking and chatting face to face. A film director comes between us who wants to shoot our conversation. Now he decides to use cutout to make it cinematic and he wants to show our face as we speak. For this, he has to place his cameras either to your right and to my left, or to your left and my right. That is, cameras should only be placed on one side of an imaginary line that bisects the speakers. Camera placement implies that you should always stay within 180° on either side, as anyone going to middle school will know that a line has a 180° angle at any point along its length.

For more information about camera shots let's check in our blog article;