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Fish Eye Lens
A typical fisheye shot.

The extremely wide-angle lens. Used to produce a sense of disorientation.

The lens in a door's peephole is a fish-eye, so this lens is used when a visitor is viewed outside an apartment. Makes anyone look ugly. May also be used from a low angle to spice up long-winded dialogue sequences in anime.

Also frequently used when shooting skateboarding and other extreme sports, as it can make big air look bigger from the appropriate angle.

Since less-expensive security camera set-ups are often fitted with wide-angle lenses to allow one camera to cover more area, the resulting footage may show a fisheye effect. Simulated security-camera footage, therefore, is also often shot with a fisheye.

Note that when seen in an animated format it is often a False Camera Effect, although a technique for drawing this way exists independently and can be used for the same sense of disorientation.


  • Pani Poni Dash! used this effect to emphasize Miyako's gigantic forehead.
    • The same gag is used on Yue in Negima!?, as both were made by the same studio - one of the OAVs opened a scene with a fish-eye view of Nodoka as she talks to someone, then pulls back to show it was the reflection off Yue's Forehead of Doom.
  • The first two Patlabor films have this on occasion, usually (but not always) when a character is getting reamed for screwing up.
  • Done a couple times in Naruto when a character is going crazy or about to succumb to his dark side (or both).
    • Mostly it's done just to show off, it seems, as many of the shots are completely gratuitous..
    • The manga often uses this for the traditional effect, or a lesser version for particularly intense full-page spreads (this is probably the best example).
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion did this often in Shinji's internal sequences, to heighten the sense of isolation around him.
    • They're used in real-life scenes as well. There's a shot in episode 11 that's used to emphasize the implied menace of a locked door AND to visualize Asuka's self-centeredness.
  • In Ghost In The Shell Standalone Complex, the Major and Batou are shown this way while they're piloting Tachikomas.
  • In Digimon Tamers this is used both to enhance the idea that the world shown is a mindscape (When focused on a character) or that the characters are alone (when focused elsewhere). The technique is used sparingly.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was quite infamous for using the fish-eye effect on the most mundane of scenes, such as, for example, when a character is standing besides a fridge. These were fixed on the DVD version.
  • Invoked for a moment in Magical Pokaan, to make you think Aiko had snapped. She didn't, but it was terrifying nonetheless.
  • Used a few times on Kyubey in later episodes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
  • Becomes increasingly frequent in Steins;Gate with Okarin's close-ups whenever something particularly traumatic happens or he gets closer to snapping from stress.

  • A shot like this occurs in The War Of The Worlds (1953), when the scientists are testing the Martian probe viewer device.
  • The film Hot Shots! had a character afflicted with "Walleye Vision" that made the world appear this way. This was a problem because he was a pilot.
  • HAL 9000's POV shots in 2001: A Space Odyssey. His infamous glowing red eye was in fact made with a real fisheye lens.
  • The entirety of How the West Was Won was shot through two paired fisheye lenses, a purposeful choice by director John Ford to show the open, sweeping landscape of the West. It works beautifully for its intended purpose, but when used for close-ups inside buildings... not so much.
  • Just about every scene in Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme uses it.
  • Used in Ernest P. Worrell to make Ernest look all the more obnoxious.
  • Enter the Void
  • Brazil
  • Requiem for a Dream
  • The City of Lost Children
  • Action sports Films, such as skateboarding, used fisheye lens to capture the ride tricks while still be able to see the surroundings and the riders themselves in the action.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who director Graeme Harper has done this with nearly every new series story he has directed. Example from "Journey's End".
  • When Kramer decided to put his peephole in backwards (so people could see in his apartment), we saw him like this.
  • This is often used in establishing shots on TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive, because massive, all consuming piles of stuff apparently aren't freaky enough on their own.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Mind's Eye" used fisheye lens in a scene featuring Geordi La Forge when he was being manipulated via mental reprogramming to assassinate a visiting governor.
  • As Tosh0 shows, everything looks cooler through a fish eye lens!
  • Used in The Conditions of Great Detectives in the "backstage" room where only characters who are aware of their fictional existence can discuss the story.


Music Videos
  • This technique was used a lot by music video director Harold "Hype" Williams in the mid- to late-1990s, especially ones that he directed for Busta Rhymes' songs.

Video Games


Web Original
  • Appears in Marble Hornets as the chestcam Jay and more recently/earlier on (as the 'recent' footage is actually supposed to be from old tapes around 7 months ago), Alex wears.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons once had Marge look out the peephole at Skinner to produce this effect.
  • The Critic also did this, with Jay's ex wife looking out the peephole at a grotesque Jay. She was even more disgusted to find he looked exactly the same when she opened the door.
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast has one of these with Gaston through a peephole.
  • One episode of Home Movies revolved around Brendon trying to buy a fish-eye lens to use in his movies.

Faux First Person 3DUsefulNotes/Graphical PerspectiveForced Perspective
Filming For Easy DubCamera TricksFly-at-the-Camera Ending
Firemen Are HotImageSource/PhotographyFlag Bikini

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