Karl Walter Lindenlaub: Motivating a Bird's-Eye-View

From American Cinematographer, This Old House by David E. Williams (August 1999)

After a few takes, the crew quickly reset and a Lenny Arm 2 Plus mounted with a Hothead II was wheeled into position. While the lighting was adjusted, a new shot was blocked out: a bird’s-eye view beginning at about 40’ that swooped down through a cluster of practical chandeliers into a close-up on actress Lili Taylor, isolating her from the others. This would represent the film’s second distinct POV, that of Hill House and the twisted soul of Hugh Crain.

"This is the first film I’ve done in which such high-angle shots are used to good effect. Other directors have suggested them, but there was never a reason to do such shots, because they can actually take the audience out of the story by being so subjective. In this case, Hill House is a major character, and it watches the other characters very closely as they get lost in its maze of rooms. Cutting to that second point of view helps remind the audience that there is danger always looming over everything. These shots were generally done with a crane and a wide lens, usually a 35mm, which distorted things correctly and emphasized camera movement if there was any."

- Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, BVK

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