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Lecture Library

POV in movies and commercials
by Survey of Interactive Media

Taking a look at two movies and a commercial that use the POV technique

The Point of View shot allows the audience to experience a movie with limited information.  This often ‘suspenseful’ shot gives the audience limited information as to what is going on in the movie.  For example, in John Carpenter’s Halloween, the audience sees a somewhat voyeuristic like scene of Judy Myers and her boyfriend.  This shot brings us (the audience) in the movie as if we are the one who is looking at the couple.  Later in the film, a Halloween mask obstructs our view which provides more suspense and fear into the film making the audience wonders what is going to happen next. It is later revealed that the killer was young Michael Myers. The audience is then forced to assume what is going to happen based on the suspense of  not being able to see Furthermore, this presents an effective way of using the fourth wall (Irving and Ray 176).


This technique is often used to simulate entering into a new and unfamiliar world. The audience is able to participate as if they were a character.  For example, in Amy Heckerling’s “Look’s Who’s Talking”, we go on a journey though childbirth.  We are taken from the womb, through the birth canal and into the hands of a doctor and back to the mother. This is an effective set up simply because throughout the whole movie, we will be experiencing the story as a newborn and toddler.


A more recent movie, “Splice” directed by Vincenzo Natali take us through a similar path.  We start as a cell immersed in liquid type substance.  We then experience the infamous white light, which represents birth and or entering into a new world.  We are put in to this unfamiliar environment seen through a fish-eye lens of two doctors. There is even a moment in which the two doctors sever the umbilical cord.  Additionally, the movie takes us to a ‘dead’ state in which we have to be ‘revived’ in which we see the ‘white light’ again.  It is later determined that we become some type of alien-human clone.


This POV technique has also worked in advertisement. The third clip, which is a commercial for Playstation’s PSP starts with us being put back into the womb (or box) and wait to be taken out. Once the delivery has been made, we then go on a journey as shown by different characters.  This technique makes the audience wonders what is going on. It is later reveled in the middle of the commercial that this is a gaming device. We then go back to the POV of the device  and experience different settings such as a dentist office, school, pool and a car.



Playstation by Sony (2005) Playstation PSP experiences a new birth for its players
Splice enter the world by USC Sca (2010) Alien-clone thing enters the world for the first time.
Look Who's Talking by CTCS505 (1990) Young child enters the world of confusion and chaos