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Hitler Cam

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I'd like to thank all the little people.

Refers to the practice of shooting a solitary figure from a slightly lower angle. This magnifies the figure's height and presence in the mind of the viewer. Together with the Scully Box and clever wardrobe, it can also make shorter figures appear larger than they really are.

The inverse of the Hitler Cam is to shoot the figure much higher than normal, looking down on them to make them appear smaller or more insignificant. The two varieties are often combined to emphasize the extreme difference in size or power between two people.

Named for the 5'9"note  Nazi dictator, who insisted on being filmed in this manner. The Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, in which Hitler was shot this way repeatedly, popularized the technique. Talk about your "significant influence." A more sesquipedalian (and palatable) synonym is "subordinated viewpoint." Also, Hitler asked for careful staging to make the much bigger men around him in ceremonial occasions to appear about the same height.

When shot all the way from the floor, this is known as a Worm's Eye View, a term for the technique originally coined by Orson Welles.

See also Big Little Man.

Compare with Dutch Angle (the camera is sometimes aiming upwards, and must be canted/tilted to create an uneasy atmosphere), Knee-High Perspective (where the camera isn't angled but is still close to the ground, creating the impression of a small perspective), and Low-Angle Empty World Shot (the camera is angled upwards to hide nearby scenery).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council President and apparent Big Bad Satsuki Kiryuin from Kill la Kill is regularly shown from this angle (it helps that her favorite perch on top of the highest point of the academy.)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: During his famous "Sieg Zeon" speech given at his brother Garma's funeral, Zeon supreme commander Gihren Zabi is shown using this method even in-universe. Fitting, since Zeon is analogous to the Nazis and Gihren himself is the Hitler. In fact, his own father compares Gihren to Hitler, and while Gihren has no idea who Hitler is he still takes the comparison as a complement.
  • Used in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing to make Zechs look even taller and more imposing than he already is, especially relative to the protagonists, (and give the fangirls a gratuitous crotch shot in the process).

    Comic Strips 
  • Used in Get Fuzzy to make it look like Bucky is posing with a real car, as opposed to a small model of one.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Shrek, evil dictator Lord Farquaad is introduced with dramatic music and a Hitler Cam... and then he walks by a pair of guards, revealing him to be about three feet tall.
  • In The Lion King (1994), the Villain Song "Be Prepared" gives us a Hitler Cam shot of Scar. Bonus points for the hyena troops goose-stepping across the screen in this shot.
  • The Mansions of the Gods: Various camera tricks are employed to make Obelix seem that much more terrifying, sometimes appearing to be three meters tall.
  • Used in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie when Plankton has his newly formed army of mind-controlled Bikini Bottomites seize Squidward.
  • In Turning Red, after Mei cuts short the red moon ritual and runs off to the concert, the camera moves in close to Ming, on her hands and knees, struggling to control her rage. When she stands up, the camera doesn't move with her; it stays low and pivots to look up at her. The worm's-eye perspective makes her look much taller than the rest of the family around her. The end of the shot has the furious Ming in the foreground, standing up rigidly straight with fists clenched and a truly terrifying expression on her face, looming over the others in a way that says "she's out of control" more clearly than any dialogue could.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Triumph of the Will was not the first use of this technique, but it was the first famous use of it.
  • Used in Hell's Angels to portray an anarchist protesting against World War I.
  • Sergei Eisenstein's 1927 film October pioneered the technique in its depiction of the representative of the Provisional Government. The man even sports a Hitler 'stache twenty years before it became chic for dictators to do so, hilariously enough.
  • Orson Welles liked this trope.
    • Used and subverted, both to great effect, in Citizen Kane. In one notable shot Orson Welles as Kane looms over the camera and seems to be of a height with the windows behind him — until he walks towards them, when we realize that the room has a thirty-foot ceiling and the sills of the windows are higher than Kane's head. Welles would go to extreme lengths to set these up in Kane. One day a studio executive wandered into the set to find Welles tearing holes in the floor so he could get a satisfactorily low angle, as depicted in RKO 281.
    • The Trial uses this shot for almost every scene in the movie.
    • Welles used this in The Stranger when the good guys are interrogating the maid about her mistress's new husband, who happens to be a Nazi war criminal.
    • Chimes at Midnight gives Henry V the benefit of this at his coronation ceremony, making Falstaff look puny in comparison.
  • In Entrapment, the chairman of International Clearance Bank is introduced in this way.
  • Referenced in the movie version of High Fidelity, where one of Rob's ex-girlfriends is talking at a school cafeteria, apparently about Gene Simmons and his use of this trick.
  • Used on Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith after his reconstruction, since Hayden Christensen is shorter than David Prowse.
    • When Vader makes his first iconic entrance in Star Wars: A New Hope the camera is near the floor, as if from the perspective of a defeated Rebel soldier.
  • Appears in Surf Ninjas.
  • The trope-naming General Ripper in Dr. Strangelove is shot from this angle from time to time, especially when outlining his agenda.
  • Used with great effect in Jurassic Park. In the first half of the movie, actors and actresses were filmed with camera angles at head level or slightly below. But after the dinosaurs appeared, they were filmed from slightly above - not enough to notice, but enough to enhance the notion of puny humans against gigantic dinosaurs.
  • Clu in TRON: Legacy is shot in Triumph of the Will style when he gives his speech on the Rectifier, and he stands on a levitating platform so all his soldiers can see him.
  • Used in The Good Son to make Henry seem more intimidating.
  • Used on Katya in Stilyagi when she denounces Mel and throws him out of the Komsomol.
  • M includes a sequence where a man bumps into a very large, scary man on the street. The tall man is shot very low to emphasize his height, and the normal man is shot very high to seem much shorter than he is.
  • In The Super, Joe Pesci's character comes face to face with a very tall basketball player, "the Milkman." From Pesci's perspective, the Milkman is shot using a Hitler Cam to seem incredibly tall. From the Milkman's perspective, Pesci is shot from above to look puny.
  • Used in Battlefield Earth to emphasize the height of the giant alien Psychlos. At least it was less corny than those big elevator boots the actors wore.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Saruman is shown high up on a tower, giving a speech. The camera then sweeps back to a Riefenstahl-esque shot of a massive army.
    • Frequently used throughout The Lord of the Rings to make the elves look taller than the humans: particularly Liv Tyler (who is not model height the way most of the actors playing elves are). This is in keeping with the canonical description of elves being on average taller than humans (the shortest elves are around six feet tall, a tall elf would be approaching seven). Also used on the already tall Cate Blanchett playing Galadriel: in keeping with her canonical description as being unusually tall for a female elf. Also frequently used on the orcs to make them look both larger and more intimidating.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies the Big Bad Carver uses this. With massive posters of his face, and his over the top speech.
  • Daredevil (2003) uses this trope and Scully Box to make the already 6'5" (196 cm) Michael Clarke Duncan look superhumanly tall as the Kingpin.
  • This is used throughout the cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R. to make the titular robot appear more menacing.
  • Used in the Harry Potter films:
    • Used to make the 6'1" Robbie Coltrane look superhumanly tall as Rubeus Hagrid.
    • Used in the massive banner of Cornelius Fudge, hanging in the Ministry of Magic in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Given the content of Fudge's actions in the story, the shot invokes Hitler deliberately.
  • Bigfoot 1970 makes heavy use of this to build the titular monster up. As Roger Ebert pointed out, when you see Bigfoot without this, he's revealed to be about 5'10''.
  • In Electra Glide in Blue, full-of-himself detective Harve Poole is introduced this way as he stands outside his car.
  • Used in A Field in England to emphasize the power the alchemist O'Neil has over the group of deserters.
  • In Dollman, this is used when Brick, who is a little over a foot tall, looks up at humans.
  • In Bigger Than Life, Ed Avery is twice shot at an upward angle, once after fellow teacher Wally Gibbs tells him the positive effects of his cortisone treatment make him look "ten feet tall", and once when he is unknowingly suffering from 'roid rage (a then little-understood side effect of steroids) and is forcing his son Richie to solve a mathematics problem before he will allow him to have dinner; in the latter shot, he is even lit from below to cast an enormous shadow on the wall behind him that towers over his wife and son.

  • Used in universe in Honor Harrington by villainous Propaganda expert Codelia Ransom. Thomas Theisman notes when he meets her that she is shorter than he expected because of the camera tricks used. Later he has the same reaction to Oscar Saint-Just and he wonders what is about the leaders of his government that they keep pulling this.
  • A Real Life example is mined for Black Comedy in one of the Have I Got News for You books, which says that the Italian people eventually obliged Mussolini's insistence that he always be photographed from below by stringing him from a lamppost.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In Season 3 episode 7, Lord Tywin talks with King Joffrey in the throne room. To show who really holds the power in the scene, Tywin is given a low Hitler cam while Joffrey is shot from above.
    • When Cersei approaches Gregor Clegane to be her champion, the camera is kept at a very low angle to make Gregor tower over her even more. This has an element of Forced Perspective, as while Hafthor Björnsson is very tall (6' 9"); he is much shorter than the character is supposed to be (Somewhere between 7'10" and 8' 1").
    • In season 8, when the Night King approaches Bran (who's in a wheelchair), the scene is shot from Bran's head height, making the Night King's downward look of contempt even more effective.
    • In the final episode Daenerys is filmed from this angle during her victory speech after the Battle of King's Landing where she promises to continue her quest to 'liberate' the people and bring them under her rule. It is combined with a shot of her dragon taking flight as his wings spread out behind her to reinforce her adherence to House Targaryen's philosophy of peace through domination, as well as emphasizing her pride and ego (her main character flaws) reaching their peak.
  • The various Japanese Super Sentai shows that form the basis of Power Rangers use the Hitler Cam on the rubber-suited actor as he stands to show the Monster of the Week growing to skyscraper size.
  • Spoofed in Kamen Rider Decade. When Momotaros gets his body back thanks to a Final Form Ride card, it's shot like a monster-growing-giant scene (even though Kamen Rider doesn't normally use giant monsters). Then we cut to show Decade standing right next to him, showing that he was just being his usual hammy self.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, any time this shot was used in a film that Joel and the 'bots watched, Tom Servo would lampshade it by shouting, "I'm huge!"
  • Stephen Colbert's old opening had a Hitler Cam shot, with him pointing derisively at the camera for being shorter than him, followed by a dove's-eye-view shot where he gives a sour grapes look to the camera.
  • Visually lampshaded on Mad Men during a long conversation about new FCC guidelines on smoking in television advertising. They included the prohibition of shots of smokers from this angle, while the entire conversation was shot from such angles as Don Draper smokes a cigarette. For additional irony, the character reading out the guidelines is Roger Sterling, played by John Slattery, who directed that episode.
  • The eponymous Iron Chefs get this treatment regardless of the chef's height in question, often preventing viewers from realizing that the acclaimed Masaharu Morimoto is a mere 5'3".
  • On The Incredible Hulk (1977), the Hulk was always shot from a low angle. Lou Ferrigno is a very big guy, but they apparently needed him to look taller.
  • Often employed on The Johnny Cash Show, particularly in the opening and closing musical numbers due to the main cameras being located below stage level and having to shoot upwards (the series was taped at an actual theater, not in a studio). Often made Cash look taller and more imposing than he really was.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Once Upon A Time", Naomi Wildman (the only child on board Voyager at that point) is afraid of former Borg drone Seven of Nine. When Seven goes up to speak to Naomi, she's seen from her point of view, towering over Naomi in a menacing fashion.
  • Spoofed in Bargearse (a Gag Dub of Australian cop show Bluey (1976)). Detective Twenty is questioning a midget informer. In exchange for the information he's given, he agrees to make the midget the cameraman in the next scene. Cut to Hitler Cam view of Twenty questioning someone else.
  • Almost always used as the establishing shout for any Ultraman in the Ultra Series. It's used to give an illusion of their great height. During fights, it's often combined with the Worm's Eye View to show what a person might be seeing when watching the giant monster/alien battle.
  • Parodied in Galavant, where a tribe of giants are shot this way to, of course, make it look like the actors are giant-sized until the initial excuse for being confused about it expires and it becomes clear they, uh, are not giant-sized, at all, and they (likewise, a group of nearby "dwarves") are inexplicably convinced that and acting as if they are at an extreme of physical size even when everyone can see it and the camera's not playing along anymore.
  • Luke Cage: The cinematographer deliberately used low-angle shots of Mike Colter to give Luke a more formidable appearance.
  • Used in Hawkeye to make the already very tall Wilson Fisk look absolutely enormous next to Eleanor Bishop.


    Music Videos 
  • This technique was often used in music videos of the 1970s and 1980s, particularly of the heavy metal variety, to emphasize the musicians' status as larger-than-life "rock gods".
  • Done in Visual Kei or Japanese rock videos for a similar reason. Yes, that vocalist IS actually 5"4 at tallest.
    • Glenn Danzig is about 5'4" as well; you wouldn't know from watching any of his videos.
  • We get this shot in Ayumi Hamasaki's music video for “Ladies Night”, which features her dressed as a dictator or military leader, addressing a crowd of clones.
  • Petite female pop singers like Christina Aguilera often use this trick to avoid being dwarfed by their backup dancers.
  • The music video for FKA twigs' "holy terrain" is shot from a bit below twigs' eyeline, making her already-intimidating arcane priestess look even more powerful and otherworldly.
  • Tom Jones employed this technique (though it was closer to worm-eye view) for his music video "Kiss".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • After Tetsuya Naito defeated Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Title belt, Okada, who is taller than Naito, made heavy use of low camera angles while filming himself training for the rematch, to make himself look even larger and more powerful than Naito.
  • The history of Professional Wrestling has been one of routinely exaggerating performers' billed height and/or weight to make them seem literally 'larger than life'. One way this is carried over into the onscreen presentation in e.g. WWE is that during wrestlers' entrances to the ring or when walking backstage they will almost invariably be shot from a low angle to make them look (even) larger and more imposing. Cuts to wide shots occasionally give glimpses of the close-up cameramen scurrying backwards in front of them in a virtual crouch. When it's a wrestler who's The Giant the angles from which they're shown will sometimes be even more extreme to make the effect still more pronounced. In fact, this trope has its own name in the business—the "André shot", after a frequent subject of this camera trick.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Margin for Error, German-American Bund leader Otto Horst discusses being photographed in "the angle that does libelous things to my nostrils."

    Video Games 


    Western Animation 
  • Phaeton, who is obviously Hitler's expy in Exo Squad, gets this treatment in propaganda broadcasts all the time, despite standing over two meters tall without any camera effects. That is, before he contracts the Automutation Syndrome.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Eeny Teeny Maya Moe", Moe gets a girlfriend through an internet dating site; the photo she sends him is taken in this style, of her in front of the Empire State Building and taken from a very low angle (so she appears almost as tall as the building due to forced perspective). When he meets her in person, she's actually about 3 feet tall — made even better when she admits that it wasn't even the real Empire State Building in the background, but that the shot was actually taken at Legoland!
  • Used in-universe in one episode of Rocket Power: while making a video, they actually show the camera being placed low, pointing near-vertically, and talk about how that makes the jumps seem higher.
  • Used in The Legend of Korra "And the Winner Is..." when the Big Bad, Amon, announces the true beginning of the anti-bending revolution, right before blowing up the Pro-bending Arena.
  • Used in the Mighty Magiswords episode "The Incredible Tiny Warriors" to a very positive effect. After being nearly digested by a giant anthropomorphic lion, Vambre sinks into a depressive state, focusing on how tiny she thinks of herself. When her brother Prohyas sings her a Pep-Talk Song about what a big deal she is, there's a low-angle shot of her starting to smile, as she no longer thought of herself as small.

    Real Life 
  • Josef Stalin, another vertically-challenged dictator of the 30s, used this technique as well to disguise his true height.
  • Stalin's right-hand man and NKVD boss Nikolai I. Yezhov was always photographed from below in official pictures to disguise the fact he was extremely short, a bit above 5ft. His well-deserved nickname had been "The Poisonous Dwarf".
  • Nearly all Queen Victoria's official photos and portraits are shot like this, to hide the fact she was extremely short, below 5 ft.
  • David Miscavige, the leader of a different kind of army, seems quite fond of this. Other tactics to not make him look like a midget include wearing very high shoes, posing in group shots with the shortest members of the Church surrounding him and the tallest members standing way in the back, and standing next to Tom Cruise a lot (which only helps so much: though Cruise is only 5'7" himself, Miscavige is still noticeably shorter).
  • Benito Mussolini would always be photographed from a slightly low angle, as visible in the photo he used for his autobiography. He was only 5'6"...although he still dwarfed the diminutive King, 5'0" Vittorio Emmanuel III.
  • Portraits of Napoleon, as you might expect, were usually flattering, and often made him look taller than he was. Painters sometimes shortened objects near him or cut off his legs while increasing the size of his coat. In reality, Napoleon was of average size for his time. His reputation for shortness originated from a confluence of misconceptions (his bodyguard consisted mostly of 6' or greater strongmen, his wife's exceptional height, and his official height being given in French feet and inches, which were somewhat longer than the corresponding English units) and perpetuated enthusiastically by his archnemesis, Britain.
  • Kim Jong Il tended to do this. He also gave the illusion of height using platform shoes, vertically striped clothing, and bouffant hair.
  • Any photo of the Seattle skyline will prominently feature the Space Needle, its most famous landmark, even though the tower is a mile outside downtown and relatively short. Hence, camera tricks like this are often employed.
    • More often the effect is achieved by perspective, not angle — one tiny park in Queen Anne has the ideal view and position, and most Needle-oriented photos are taken from it.
  • The Gateway Arch really is the tallest structure in St. Louis, but not by the degree to which a lot of photographs of it seem to imply. In pictures taken from ground level on the Illinois side of the river, the Gateway Arch in the foreground appears nearly twice the height of One Metropolitan Square (the second tallest structure in St. Louis) further back, though the actual difference in height is less than 10%.
  • Really, any ad for a political candidate (at least in the US) will tend to employ this trope, as a way to imply that they're a born leader, inspirational, or charismatic. Their opponent tends to get a picture from a higher angle to imply the opposite. This was especially noticeable with George W. Bush during his 2004 race against then-Senator John Kerry. The younger Bush is 5'11" (average height, but shorter than his father), while Kerry is 6'4". In fact, the podiums during two of the presidential debates were intentionally designed and cameras placed to make Bush appear Kerry's height or taller. Same thing happened to a lesser extent during his debates with Vice President Al Gore, who is 6'1".
  • A large number of newsreels from the presidency of George H. W. Bush are shot from this angle to make him appear like a giant. At 6'2" (180cm), he is above average for American males, but not that above average. Of course, the White House briefing room has a (short) dais to allow all the journalists to see the speaker, so cameramen on the floor are standing about 8 inches lower than the speaker is. Unless the cameraman is freakishly tall, there's naturally going to be a bit of this.
  • The way the Russian propaganda machine uses this and other techniques to cultivate a tough-guy image for Vladimir Putin, you'd never guess he's only 5'7".
  • Douglas MacArthur used this a great deal, insisting that photographers only take his picture this way, which he believed reinforced his image of resolute authority.
  • Michael Bloomberg utilized this during his failed campaign to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Ads hid his diminutive height this way. When showing him interacting with other people, he was placed in the extreme foreground while everyone else was back further. One ad even showed him standing and handing a piece of paper to someone...who was sitting at a table.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Worms Eye View


Nostalgia Chick

In Part 5, The Nostalgia Chick takes to this when she takes the Nostalgia Critic's hat.

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Main / HitlerCam

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