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Arrow Cam

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A bullet's-eye view of the action.

Any time that the camera seems to be attached to a projectile (arrow, bullet, etc.) and/or chase after it as it flies through the air towards its target.

Real-world military snipers have reported going into a Zen-like trance when firing, during which their perception seems to "ride" the bullet all the way to the target. Also, artillery rounds fired on a flat or nearly-flat trajectory (including snipers' bullets) can be tracked all the way to the target with a telescope near the point of firing.

Usually subject to No "Arc" in "Archery" even in works where that trope is otherwise averted.

If a 3-D video game has a manually controlled projectile weapon, then in general, this trope will be used in order to facilitate better control of the projectile.

See also: Shaky P.O.V. Cam for a similar device used to represent the monster's vision. Surveillance Drone if the device stays in the air or Object-Tracking Shot for following objects that aren't deadly.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Used in the beginning of the opening title for The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. The arrow is aimed at the title character, Oda Nobuna, but she slices it in half before it hits her.
  • Used in episode 6 of Girls und Panzer, as it follows a round fired by Miho's tank towards Saunder's flag tank, moments before her own tank gets knocked out by the Saunder's firefly Sherman tank.
  • In various animated media involving Golgo 13. (There was a homage to this in the animated portion of Kill Bill.)
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Nanoha's first usage of Divine Buster Extension was accompanied by an Arrow Cam that rode the pink beam of death all the way to Vita.
    • A more literal use appears in the A's Portable: The Battle of Aces game, where Signum's Sturm Falken super move has the camera riding the flaming arrow as it's fired from her bow.
  • A similar effect happens in Naruto whenever a member of the Hyuga clan uses the telescopic aspect of their Byakugan vision jutsu.
  • In an early episode of Negima! Magister Negi Magi we have an Arrow Cam without an arrow as Negi mentally homes in on his lost wizard's staff.

  • The A-Team: Shown on Reaper UAV missiles. Truth in Television.
  • In American Sniper, when lead character Chris Kyle shoots his arch-nemesis Mustafa, the camera follows the bullet in flight.
  • Late in The Avengers (2012), an arrow cam rides one of Hawkeye's shots to Loki, who catches it with a smirk ... right before it explodes.
  • Done in Blade: Trinity, but as an amusing anecdote. The actress firing the arrow was not expected to do very well and was told to fire as close to the camera as she could. She put the arrow dead center, and about six inches into the camera.
  • Done for one kill in CarousHELL after Duke gets ahold of a bow and arrows.
  • Cop and a Half invented the "Twinkie Cam" (it's like an Arrow Cam, only attached to a thrown twinkie).
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian does this twice.
  • Used in Demon Knight when the Deputy shoots the Collector with an arrow.
  • The Bill Plympton short Draw! features a western gunfight from the bullet's point of view.
  • Used during the night club shootout in early-90's Heroic Bloodshed film Full Contact between the main character Gou Fei and the villain Judge, except with bullets of course, including one rather explicit moment when a bullet hits someone square in the head and comes out of the back.
  • Sam Raimi used several POV shots in the Evil Dead series, and Army of Darkness featured a literal Arrow Cam when Arthur shoots an escaping captive in the back.
  • In the tabletop RPG spoof movie, The Gamers. In this one the arrow actually stops and looks around at one point before finding its target. "Natural 20!"
  • It was also parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux but instead of an arrow, Topper used a chicken. It worked.
  • The Last Samurai did this with, if recalled correctly, a javelin or similar weapon.
  • Lord of War has the opening credits played over the manufacturing, shipping, loading, and eventual firing of a bullet using this technique.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring uses this sort of shot to show one of Legolas's arrows killing a Moria-orc while the Fellowship are trying to escape from Moria.
  • Used with somewhat larger projectiles in Pearl Harbor, with air-to-sea Torpedo Cam shots homing in on navy vessels.
  • In the second Percy Jackson and the Olympians movie, this trope is used when Percy throws his convertible pen-sword down the throat of the Colchis Bull. An especially impressive example, as the pen unfolds into a sword as it's hurtling into the mechanical beast's clockwork guts, lodging in the core of its workings and rendering it inoperable.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: As the kraken is attacking the Black Pearl, Will devises a means of driving it off, temporarily at least, by detonating a mass of powder (and rum) hoisted into the rigging where the tentacles are converging. When Jack fires the shot to detonate it, the camera follows the ball to the powder barrels.
  • The last bullet fired in The Quick and the Dead.
  • Perhaps the best-known usage comes from the early-90s Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The shot was originally used only in the trailer, but proved so popular that it was added to the film.
  • Saving Private Ryan contains a very prominent example of this with a bullet.
  • Done in the animated film The Swan Princess.
  • Terminator Salvation introduces itself with what looks like a modern cruise missile on a bombing run towards Skynet Research and Development Facility.
  • At the beginning of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Also seen in the trailer.
  • Inverted twice in Wanted, where we see a person drop dead, then the camera shows the bullet returning to the shooter while action is reminded.
  • Used in tennis film Wimbledon with the tennis balls. There are several shots that follow the ball in the first person during the games, sometimes even in Slow Motion for dramatic effect.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Famously sent up on the sketch series Almost Live! with their "Billy Quan'' sketches; Billy's Finishing Move was a double-foot jumpkick, shot in this fashion, which could apparently home in on his opponent, hover effortlessly in the air while waiting for an elevator, open doors, and so forth. The camera is from his viewpoint, and his legs jut into the shot.
    • They also did a fake commercial for a restaurant called "Burger Gun", which instead of using a dive-up window fired burgers at passing motorist-customers from a cannon; the viewer got "burger's eye view" as the food blasted into a customer's mouth.
  • Better Off Ted uses it to follow two perfectly aerodynamic bagels as they slam into the back of Ted's head.
  • The Brittas Empire: In "Two Little Boys", Brittas accidentally causes a lit firework to go off, with the camera proceeding to follow the firework from behind as it rushes down a corridor and into a large amount of oil being stored in the weights room.
  • When Ross gets hit by a hockey puck in Friends, it's seen from the puck's perspective. And then it happens again, this time when it hits the Battleax Nurse attending him.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Used when Kimberly kills the Terror Toad with her bow.
  • The Australian comedy series Pizza used Arrow Cam constantly, any time anything was shot or thrown.
  • In the sit-com Titus, one flashback had the title character challenge his father to a fight. The point of view then switches to his father's fist (with "Fist-Cam" helpfully flashing the bottom) one-shotting Titus.

  • Coheed and Cambria: In the music video for "Blood Red Summer", when Claudio is using a compound bow to defend a barricaded house against his zombified band mates, the arrow he shoots at Josh is followed by the camera until it hits him in the chest. Unfortunately for Claudio, Josh only spits up some liquid and staggers a bit before yanking the arrow out and continuing his advance.

    Tabletop RPG 

    Video Games 
  • Most Ace Combat games allow you to follow a missile or bomb after it has been fired. However, the weapon cannot be controlled and the camera is a few feet behind it.
    • Likewise, the Air Force Delta games also feature this.
    • As does F/A-18 Hornet/Precision Strike Fighter, which includes the aforementioned Walleye missile.
  • Batarangs throughout the Batman: Arkham Series — you can not only control the RC batarangs but follow the regular ones.
  • Call of Duty:
    • When playing a multiplayer game in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, if a player is killed by an explosive (eg. Thrown grenade, grenade fired from grenade launcher, RPG rocket, or even bombs from airstrikes), the killcam will track that projectile when replaying the kill.
    • And in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you can remote-control an AGM missile fired from a Predator Drone. It also adds the throwing knife to the above list, which, not being an explosive like the others, can lead to an improbable amount of bouncing around before it hits its mark.
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, all the playable characters have different weapons and abilities. One of them packs a sniper rifle, and has the ability to fire a bullet, whereupon you not only enter a Slo Mo Arrow Cam, but can telekinetically control the bullet. Really fun to just shoot one off and drive it into a demonic monster's skull.
  • In Comanche 3, the camera can change to follow a locked-on missile to its target.
  • Crimson Skies also had a bunch of camera-guided-missile turrets... in the 1930s. Granted, the world of that series is not exactly identical to ours, what with the Divided States of America and all that, but still...
  • Descent II had the camera-guided-missile variety.
  • Dystopia uses this when you fire a rocket in fly-by-wire mode.
  • There is a chance of this happening with any type of projectile weapon fired while in V.A.T.S. mode in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. It most often happens when it is the killing shot.
    • Oddly, the game will occasionally try to do this with buckshot, resulting in a spasmatic camera that can't quite pick a pellet to follow. Luckily, you still get to see the resulting Ludicrous Gibs.
    • Also seen in FNV's intro when an NCR Ranger snipes a raider.
  • Used in SSI's Fighting Steel game. While you never see your salvo's actual shells, with the right options set the camera will every so often follow their arc to the target.
  • Targeting your own bombs in the Freespace video game series allows you to view it in
  • In Heavenly Sword, this happens when you choose to take a certain amount of control of projectiles shot or thrown, in slow motion.
  • The space combat sim Independence War has remote piloted missiles which the player manually flies to the target and detonates. The missile has a large blast radius, so you don't need to actually hit a target to hurt them. Also your ship is not invulnerable while you're busy flying the missile.
  • Done with ranged items and the beetle in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While the former is done largely for the sake of immersion and aesthetics, the latter is done because you are controlling the beetle as it flies through the air.
  • Max Payne:
    • In Max Payne, this happened every single time you hit someone with the sniper rifle. This is a homage to Ringo Lam. It also happens occasionally when you deal a killing shot against an enemy.
    • In the third game, it is done for every kill shot on the last enemy in a group, as well as successful Last Man Standings.
  • MDK and MDK2: Armageddon had a bullet cam when the player went into Sniper Mode.
    • In the original MDK, Kurt actually had three live bullet cams when sniping.
  • The Nikita remote controlled missile is a favourite in the Metal Gear series. Normally, the missile is controlled from a top-down view. However, in Metal Gear Solid, there is an option to go into first-person mode while controlling the missile, displaying full screen the view from the built-in camera onboard, and in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, this is the view the player is forced into for the Nikita.
  • The Slayer weapon in Perfect Dark has a secondary fly-by-wire mode that allows the player to control the missile remotely while watching through an built-in camera.
  • The Visibomb Gun from Ratchet & Clank has a similar just-behind-the-missile-view, and enough range (and steerability) that you can often sit at the beginning of the stage, and hit enemies at the very end. It was subsequently toned down in power when it returned in the sequel, Going Commando.
  • Rise of the Triad featured this with missiles. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, awesoooooooooome.
  • Used when you fire the final bullet to take down the Big Bad in Silent Scope.
  • In Singularity you occasionally get to use a weapon called the Seeker. When fired while aiming down the sights, the game allows you to steer the bullet around in slow motion until it hits something.
  • The Seeker Missiles in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire have a built-in camera that can be enabled or disabled in the options menu.
  • The Multiplayer of Star Fox: Assault includes an example of this with the rocket launcher setting. Both players must use Arrow-Cam missiles, leading to "Jousting".
    • In Star Wars: Battlefront II, guided missiles are controlled like this. It is awarded by earning a Demolition medal or by playing as Chewbacca.
  • In Supreme Commander if you set the camera to track an ACU (commander) and zoom in, you will get an Arrow Cam effect whenever the ACU fires a blast from its powerful overcharge cannon.first-person as it smashes into the target.
  • One of Ram's Loco Moves in Total Overdose is a golden gun, an homage to the The Man with the Golden Gun except that it fires three bullets instead of one. The camera follows each bullet's trajectory to its invariably lethal destination.
  • Total War:
  • Unreal:
    • The Unreal Tournament games (UT, UT2003, UT2004 and UT3) allows you to take control of a tac-nuke missile known as the Redeemer, with its alternative fire, and guide it around until it explodes. You are left vulnerable, since you can't see what's happening around you in this mode, though.
    • Being gibbed at any point would treat the player to a "head bouncing around-cam" shot in UT and UT3.
    • There's also a mod which lets you actually ride the rocket. Naturally, the mod is called Strangelove.
    • Unreal Tournament 2004 (the ECE Edition and Bonus Pack 2) and Unreal Tournament III features the SPMA vehicle, short for Self Propelled Mobile Artillery. The second fire of the main seat lets you take control of a small missile which acts as both a satellite-like cam (where you choose where to shoot your next swarm of missiles) and a projectile. While it's shooting, you can follow said projectile's trajectory. It has the same drawback as the Redeemer, though.
  • Done with the spears in Vindictus. It fills the whole screen if you aim manually, but just gives a little picture-in-picture window if you let it auto-aim.
  • In some of the Wing Commander games, you can select a missile camera view. However, while doing that, you're unable to see what's happening with your ship.
  • The AT 420 Sentinel in The World Is Not Enough can fire guided missiles using its laser pointer. In Singleplayer when firing a guided missile, a built-in camera will appear, making it easier to hit the desired target. Oddly, the camera has a night vision lens.
  • Some soccer games have a special "ball cam". It is as useless as you'd think.
  • Bulletstorm's sniper rifle allows you to control the bullet as it flies through the air. Its alt-fire mode allows you to keep controlling it after it has lodged itself in an enemy (taking the enemy with it) and then blow it up to take out even more enemies.
  • Archery in Wii Sports Resort does this a couple different ways, first is if you ace a section (all three shots are tens) you will get a replay of the last shot in this view. The other is, in each of the 12 areas there is an alternate target (A overly large fruit, cake, or in one case a timer) that if you shoot in such a way that your arrow will near it, it follows, even if it misses at the far end.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: This was added in the game with a patch. It also applies to kills done via spells.
  • Sniper: Ghost Warrior, during key enemies or headshots, displays a cam that follows the bullet to the target.
  • The Sniper Elite franchise: Various skilled shots will show the bullet flying into your target. In Sniper Elite V2, Sniper Elite III, and Sniper Elite 4, this also includes shots on certain explosive items or certain kill shots on vehicles.
  • Dishonored does this with crossbow headshots.
  • Bayonetta: The finisher for the penultimate boss has Bayonetta load her lipstick into one of her guns and fire it; this trope is used when obstacles start appearing to make sure it lands.
  • Strike Commander had this for missiles and bombs, as did its sister title Pacific Strike for bombs only as it was set before missile technology came into use.
  • Firing a missile in X-Universe series will pop up a small display in the top left or right of the screen showing the missile's view as it flies towards its target. Firing multiple missiles will transfer the camera to the newest missile, and Recursive Ammo missiles will have a random missile selected for the view.
  • North And South begins battle scenes with a cut-in of a cannonball fired by the attacking army over the opposing soldiers' heads.
  • Firing a shell with middle click in World of Warships will make the camera track your shot.
  • In arcade battles for War Thunder, You get a small one that pops up whenever you hit a tank that shows the damage your shot did. Also, when you die, you get a full view one of the shot that killed you.
  • Toy Soldiers:
    • In Toy Soldiers, when directly controlling an artillery gun, a mortar, a tank , or an anti-infantry cannon, you can hold down the fire button after launching a shell to enter shell cam. In shell cam mode, you can speed up or slow down the projectile (this does not change the projectile's trajectory) as well as adjust its direction, though only to the left or right.
    • In Toy Soldiers: Cold War, you get access to the anti-tank tower, which are just some toy soldiers using models of real world rocket/missile launchers as if they were real. When shell cam is used on these towers, you can control the rocket's up and down pitch in addition to turning them left or right, similarly to other remote controlled missiles mentioned above. This, coupled with the speed controls, means that you can hit any target on the map, regardless of elevation or speed. Tier 3 anti-tank towers become anti-EVERYTHING towers when directly controlled due to this, as their missiles will 1-2 shot most enemies with a direct hit. Even bombers are not safe from your TOW missiles of doom.
    • There is also a mini-game based around this mechanic, as you play a game of "thread the needle" with an M27 LAW's rocket, scoring points by flying it through an increasingly difficult set of spinning holes.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon: Pressing 'B' will cause the camera to focus on and follow the nearest projectile, until it hits something.
  • If you shoot a Flare Gun at an especially large group of Taken in Alan Wake, time will slow and the camera will swing around the flare until it hits and its light burns all the Taken away.
  • In Warframe, Ivara possesses an ability that allows the player to steer the projectile of any equipped projectile weapon.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Many modern missiles have cameras built in to facilitate aiming. Expect war coverage on the news to use these shots generously when talking about smart bombs, though those often do not have cameras.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bullet Cam, Missile Cam


Brothers in Arms: HH

A new feature added to Brothers in Arm's: Hell's Highway is an Arrow Cam system that captures the end result of the player's headshots, grenade kills, and tank gun/bazooka kills, showing enemy troops getting messily dismembered in the process.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ArrowCam

Media sources: