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I've noted in recent times that many YouTube videos show a single person not always speaking directly at the camera. I understand from my limited experience to video production many years ago that looking directly at the camera presents "eye contact" between the presenter and the viewer.

In the case of an interview or in a video with multiple subjects engaged in conversation, having a camera out of line with the face of a particular subject provides for a broader presentation, which can be useful in demonstration type videos.

I've done a few searches to this SE, finding it difficult to determine search terms. The answer presented in the closed question: Why use different camera angles? provides a confirmation of the information in the previous paragraph, in that there is more than one subject involved in the video.

It is disconcerting to see a camera shot from the 2 o'clock perspective (or any angle other than straight ahead) of the presenter speaking to the viewing audience, but not looking at the viewing audience.

I have not found a rationale for this camera position and suspect that it does not belong in any videos of my own creation or in those in which I will be involved.

This may sound like a rant, but it's a search for understanding ostensibly to prevent a future gaffe. It's possible, I suppose that it's a new presentation feature and should be included?

By request and from the camera view, directly to the camera:

directly at camera

Same video, from a camera placed off-line:

off-line view

The video is of a doctor presenting information regarding the Corona Virus from YouTube. It starts a few seconds before the camera placement switch.

  • A screen capture to see the specific usage would be interesting. – Rafael Jan 31 at 22:26
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    added images and video link. – fred_dot_u Jan 31 at 22:38
  • People do it when they have two cameras and feel compelled to use the second one to get their money’s worth, but don’t have any creative ideas about how to use it. Also common when you have a second tripod, but not a second cam-op. It’s a mistake that I think people make when they’re new to video (hey, I’ve done it!), and with more new videographers joining our ranks every day, and SME’s unintentionally lending credence to the practice, you’re likely to see more of it for a long time. – Jason Conrad Feb 6 at 18:41
  • @JasonConrad, pop that into an answer and I'll mark it as answered. Ignorance is a suitable explanation for such an irritation. There's new examples of ignorance in so many realms that I hadn't considered to apply it to video production in this manner. – fred_dot_u Feb 6 at 18:50
  • @fred_dot_u Done. Thanks! – Jason Conrad Feb 6 at 18:54
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People do it when they have two cameras and feel compelled to use the second one to get their money’s worth, but don’t have any creative ideas about how to use it. Also common when you have a second tripod, but not a second cam-op. It’s a mistake that I think people make when they’re new to video (hey, I’ve done it!), and with more new videographers joining our ranks every day, and SME’s unintentionally lending credence to the practice, you’re likely to see more of it for a long time.

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It can be used with different intentions, mainly to give the footage more dynamism.

The off-camera look gives the impression to be filmed like an interview, with an interlocutor in front of the presenter but off-camera.

Of course in this example there is no interlocutor, it is the camera, so it can make the impression of combining some "behind the scenes" footage. It adds a bit of "production value".

Sometimes the second camera does not film the person's face, probably the hands, probably the full body, and sometimes the interviewer, again not present in this case.

Probably a good option is using two off-camera angles.

It is simply a matter of style. Fortunately, the rules are not carved in stone.


One psychological effect from staring at the camera vs off camera angle is that the first one can feel like someone is "lecturing" you, trying to convincing you.

The second feels more like someone is just pointing at "facts" and you can decide or not to take them into account. That is why interviewed people do not look at the camera, but the presenter normally does.

This example probably tries to do both.

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  • dy·na·mism /ˈdīnəˌmizəm/ noun 1. the quality of being characterized by vigorous activity and progress. 2. the quality of a video trying to be less boring. – Michael Liebman Feb 1 at 4:11
  • Personally this style gives me the irrits. It's one of those editing techniques that just draws attention to itself and destroys any illusion of reality. Fine if that's what you're trying to do, but that's not usually the case with interviews. For added style-over-substance points you sometimes see it with the alternate angle in black-and-white. Ugh. – stib Feb 3 at 4:02
  • Seconded on the "ugh". I mentally associate this type of editing with lowbrow "news" magazines and gossip TV. TMZ, ET, half the programming on E!, etc. – B Layer Feb 13 at 2:04

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