In movies where we observe from actor's point of view (POV), does the actor actually film the part where he is holding the camera?

  • 1
    There are very few true first-person POV films (as opposed to "person holding a camera" films like Blair Witch Project). Worth distinguishing. Also, neither require much acting by the person whose POV we follow so why would an actor need to be the person filming?
    – matt_black
    Apr 14 '16 at 13:11
  • It likely depends on the actor and the scene. Scenes in comic book/superhero movies where the actor wears a costume that obscures their face rarely involve the actual actor involved, because it's a lot cheaper to have a stuntman/woman in those scenes instead. If you're never seeing the actor's face, and there's no spoken lines involved in the scene, then it's highly unlikely they'd get the actual actor to hold the camera and shoot it; cheaper (and faster) to have a trained cameraman do it. Apr 15 '16 at 9:52
  • Depends on the movie.
    – DA.
    Apr 15 '16 at 20:10

One of the first full-budget POV cinema film is the Russian action, horror, sci-fi movie Hardcore (2015) which is now in cinema.

The movie is very controversially discussed due to it’s brutality and the first person point of view camera, which turns the movie watchers into the shooting hero without the distance of the second person point of view.

Acting contains not only the face, but also the voice, the gestures, the walk…, therefore, it’s nothing totally new for an actor that he can’t use his face for his performance, like Tom Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises or Hugo Weaving in V for Vendetta.

The other point is the camera, which is a head camera with a microphone, as you can see in this POV movie making-of, and the actor has to wear it like a prosthesis during his performance.

  • 2
    I fail to see how this adresses the actual question at the moment. So do the actors normally hold the camera or not? You bring up Hardcore and how walking and looking are part of acting, as if to imply (not say though) that is the case there, but I've heard the movie is actually filmed by various otger people, from the director to cinematographers to stuntmen. So what is the actzal resume of this answer?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 15 '16 at 9:05
  • My answer has four parts and the last part answers your question - at least as I understood it, if "the actor actually film the part where he is holding the camera?"And the above making of video shows that the actor wears a camera and microphone on his head, and we don’t see his face or the camera. My first three comments refer to the answers by matt and Anthony, because Hardcore is the first real POV cinema movie and therefore the only reference we have, while the camera in The Blair Witch Project is a real part of the plot, is the camera in Hardcore invisible. I hope this helps. Apr 15 '16 at 18:08
  • 1
    Is even 'one of'? I think it's 'the only one' at this point. Also, this doesn't really answer the question. It should be noted that in this particular film, the 'lead' is actually played by multiple stunt/camera men.
    – DA.
    Apr 15 '16 at 20:11
  • Ah cool, thx, i didn’t know that these were stunt camera men. However, I don’t know if Hardcore is really the first POV only movie, or just the first POV Ego Shooter movie. It depends also on how you define what a POV movie is, as mentioned above, and in case you are counting movies like Blair Witch Project as a "real" POV movie or these ones from an IMDB list with Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism, Enter the Void, End of Watch, Maniac, [Rec], Chronicle, Paranormal Activity 3, Trollhunter, V/H/S and Quarantine. In addition, the band Prodigy created also a POV music video for Smack my B**ch up. Apr 16 '16 at 1:01

This exact technique used would depend on the scene being shot.

The Channel 4 programme Peep Show makes extensive use of POV shots, these are filmed with the actor standing directly behind the camera operator (video here).

Peep Show

Given the size and weight of a normal video camera, and the complexity of operating one it's unlikely that the actor would hold the camera themselves whilst simultaneously performing.

  • For Peep Show they have to shoot most scenes repeatedly, for each POV. What about filming when the POV character never appears onscreen?
    – OrangeDog
    May 16 '16 at 9:10

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