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A shot that shows the perspective of a character, as if the viewer is looking through their eyes. This is most commonly accomplished with a SteadiCam or handheld camera operator standing in for the character, in appropriate clothes. Alternatively, it could be the actor or a stand-in with a small camera mounted to (or held very near) his head to keep both hands free for action. Used sparingly, usually when there is an in-story reason for this perspective, such as:

The tricks and variations used for this shot can also, as one might surmise, be used in First-Person Shooter video games.

Interestingly, the FPS genre sometimes does this for cutscenes and trailers (though many games just keep the player in the FP POV during cinematic events, instead of using pre-rendered cutscenes). Either way, it is a fantastic tool for making the events of the story more intense and immersive (see Unbroken First-Person Perspective for more information). And without the limitations of having a high-quality image from a first person perspective in real life, First Person Shooters LOVE this trope.

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Compare In-Universe Camera (formerly named First Person Camera, which now redirects here). Contrast Face Cam. For a literary trope that can be used to similar effect, see The All-Concealing "I".


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Jim Varney's Ernest P. Worrell commercials in the '80s always had him addressing the camera as his unseen "buddy" Vern.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Most of Ending 26 was shot from Rukia's point of view looking at Ichigo, whether in the present or in her memories.
  • Blue Flag: The final chapter of the manga is shown entirely from the perspective of an undisclosed character whose last name is Ichinose attending a friend's wedding 7 years after high school. Taichi shows up near the end of the chapter, revealing that the Ichinose we were following is not him, and ends with the implication that the person is Touma, who has since married Taichi and taken his last name.
  • Excel Saga has an entire episode framed around Il Pallazo playing a dating sim and Excel having to live through the choices he makes. The third choice is always "Put it in", not that he ever chooses it. In the final episode, there's a brief return of these shots... and all the options are "Put It In".
  • Inside Mari:
    • When a scene features the life of Fumiko, we see nearly everything from Fumiko's point of view. In fact, the times we see Fumiko's face in these scenes are typically when she's looking at a reflective surface such as a mirror, window, or her mother's eye.
    • Later we see a flashback from Mari's point of view of how she saw her life just before Isao became involved in it. In the course of this, we see Mari's classmates as filthy creatures with either the top half or the bottom half of their faces obscured, her father turned away and transparent, her mother looking positively grotesque, Mari's reflection looking like childish scribbling, and Isao surrounded by Bishie Sparkles even as Mari's watching him masturbate. The only one who looks normal at all is her younger brother.
  • An interesting use of this trope was in Osamu Tezuka's Jumping, a 6-minute cartoon consisting of a one long POV shot through the eyes of an incredibly-high-jumping creature (whose face and identity are not shown to the viewers). See for yourself...
  • Kimi ni Todoke: Our lovely Sawako shows us how it's done in the picture.
  • There's also a Dating Sim Shot with Saki in the Genshiken manga (and Madarame too).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED uses it for comedy in an early Will They or Won't They? scene between Murrue and Mwu, when Murrue, trying to have a serious conversation, asks Mwu for his thoughts; from Mwu's perspective we see his gaze stray down from Murrue's face to her chest.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion features POV shots occasionally, usually from Shinji's perspective. A scene in End of Evangelion gives us his POV of Asuka with a horrific rage-face leaning over Shinji while having some sort of mental hate-sex with him.
  • Texhnolyze occasionally shows things from Ichise's perspective, down to the HUD he sees because of his recently upgraded eyes.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • Upon emerging from the portal, the point of view is through Twilight's eyes. The first thing she sees is a ladybug, then Spike turned into a dog, and then... her brand-new hands. Cue Skyward Scream.
    • We get another shot from Twilight's viewpoint during the Huddle Shot, as she's sprawled on the ground.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: As Flash Sentry is putting the human Twilight Sparkle's glasses on her nose, we briefly get a shot from her viewpoint showing how blurry everything is without them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cries from the Heart: In court, a shot from Michael's perspective shows everyone watching him, especially Jeff staring at him intently, causing him to have a panic attack.
  • City Hunter: The Cupid's Perfume has a fight scene in a junkyard, entirely from Ryo's POV.
  • Dancing Trees: In shots from the autistic teenager Martha's perspective, everything looks shinier and more colorful, and there are floating lights, sometimes colored.
  • The first half of another 1947 noir, Dark Passage, is shown from the viewpoint of the main character; after he has plastic surgery so he looks like Humphrey Bogart, we see him onscreen.
  • The film version of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is partially shown in this manner, using a tilt-shift focus (which picks out sharp objects in an otherwise blurry image) to depict the viewpoint of its protagonist, who suffers a stroke that among other debilitations leaves him with the use of only one eye.
  • Used for a few minutes in Doom as a homage to the original video game.
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) uses this twice, once in the beginning (from Jekyll's viewpoint as he dresses and travels to a lecture) and then again after the first transformation to Hyde (as he spins around in confusion and finally catches himself in the mirror). The mirror shots were done by having actor Fredric March pose on the opposite side of a fake mirror which was actually just a hole in the wall.
  • Enter the Void uses this a lot, particularly in the intro when the main character is still alive. Even the eye blinks are represented by screenflicker.
  • The '50s corporate-intrigue drama Executive Suite opens with a scene from the perspective of the company CEO whose subsequent death by heart attack sets the film's plot in motion.
  • Used on several occasions First Man:
    • The film opens with Neil's view out the X-15 cockpit windows as he exits the atmosphere and sees the Earth from space.
    • We also see Neil's POV as he climbs into the Gemini 8 capsule, which shows off the impressive number of switches and gauges.
    • Most importantly, Neil's view as he climbs down the LEM ladder onto the surface of the moon and takes his first step.
  • The original The Fly (1958) may be the Trope Codifier for how this trope can depict a monster's unusual sensory mode, thanks to its famous shot of the leading lady screaming as seen through multifaceted insect eyes.
  • Used in The French Connection II when Popeye is chasing, and later searching the bus for Charnier.
  • Done several times from Ryan Stone's viewpoint in Gravity.
  • The Grey Zone: At the end, the camera briefly switches to the point of view of the Jewish girl after the Auschwitz-Birkenau uprising has been quelled by the Nazis. The little girl sees quiet, tall men in uniform all around her. The camera continues to follow her as she runs through the gates to freedom until she's shot to death.
  • Hardcore Henry is an entire movie shot from the perspective of the main character.
  • Hitchhiker Massacre: After Sally escapes from the killer and is running through the countryside, we see things from her perspective.
  • Late in I Am Alone, we briefly see things from Jacob's point-of-view, which has become green as a result of him being infected for so long.
  • In Bruges ends with the camera from Ray's POV as he is wheeled into an ambulance on a gurney. He may or may not be dying, the ending is ambiguous.
  • The science fiction film It Came from Outer Space uses the alien's POV for its first few encounters with humans (including a semi-transparent "eye" over the whole screen) to keep from revealing the alien's appearance too early.
  • Jaws. Namely, the POV of Bruce the shark.
  • Used in Kick-Ass when Hit-Girl has to clear out a darkened room full of thugs with night vision goggles. It was used to add a bit of humor as it was done First-Person-Shooter style, and also an excuse to not overuse several epileptic white flashes.
  • An early example is the 1947 film noir Lady in the Lake, directed by and starring Robert Montgomery, which was filmed almost entirely in POV Cam to imitate the original novel's first-person narration (this is hence a rare non-video game example of Unbroken First-Person Perspective). Just so the film's Big Name Star was not totally unseen, he appears in bridging sequences and is seen whenever Marlowe looks into a mirror.
  • In Lonesome, Jim tries to impress Mary by doing a headstand—and the camera shot shows her upside-down.
  • The remake of Maniac! (1980) constantly.
  • The Music Of The Spheres, a No Budget 1984 independent Canadian film, uses this when Melody first meets an alien who's been trying to communicate with her. He enters her dream in the form of a centaur. The whole sequence is shot from the alien centaur's POV and we only see Melody's interactions with it. Between Anne Dansereau's acting and whoever is doing the centaur's voice, it works surprisingly well.
  • The echolocation of the alien creatures from Pitch Black is represented by POV shots of "images" made up of tiny pixel-dots that convey textures and surfaces.
  • Return to Oz: Used when the Gump crashes out of the tower and plummets to the ground: the ground is seen fast-approaching. Also, when Jack's head is on his body upside down, there is a shot of Dorothy and the Gump upside down.
  • Russian Ark features a single 96 minute take from the perspective of an unnamed narrator walking through Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, witnessing operas and a grand ball across different time periods.
  • Appears very frequently in The Silence of the Lambs.
  • All the SQUID scenes in Strange Days are filmed in this way.
  • In the Tales from the Darkside: The Movie segment "Cat From Hell", there are a few shots from the cat's perspective, including when the cat jumps into a hitman's mouth, and we first see the camera lunging into it.
  • A slight variation of this—the "perspective" of a dead or incapacitated character—is one of director Quentin Tarantino's trademarks and such a scene is present in most of his movies, perhaps most notably Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction.
  • In Tower Of God, Anak's flashback of the last time she saw her mother is shot entirely in point of view.
  • The Framing Device in When Evil Calls is shot entirely from Guggenheim's point of view.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse:
    • We get a glimpse of what the world looks like through the ruby quartz lenses of Scott Summers' sunglasses when he puts them on for the first time.
    • After Apocalypse notices Xavier's presence through the latter's telepathic link with Erik, Apocalypse stares straight at the camera (so we're seeing him through the Professor's perspective) with his glowing white eyes as he ominously states, "Thank you for letting me in."

    Gamebooks 
  • It is common in gamebooks, in fact, along with Second-Person Narration, to have the illustrations being from the protagonist's viewpoint, since after all, you are the hero. Notably in Lone Wolf, where many pictures are of the enemies to fight, and thus show some monster seemingly about to jump at the reader.
  • In the Time Machine gamebook series, all illustrations are from the protagonist's point of view.

    Light Novels 
  • My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute has the male lead introduced to dating sims (against his will), after which he starts seeing menu options whenever he faces a decision. One scene has a shot of his father that matches this trope format.
  • When the members of Student Council's Discretion were discussing Kurimu's bad grades, Sugisaki imagines himself playing the scene out in one of his games. He chooses to save and click the 'hug' option to start a sex scene.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for comedy in the 30 Rock episode "Apollo, Apollo". Apparently Kenneth sees everyone as Muppets; Tracy sees everyone as copies of himself; and Jack sees everything captioned with its price (and believes Kenneth to be worth $7).
  • Bones did this with the episode "The Ghost in the Machine", which is told entirely from the murder victim's skull's point of view.
  • The 2014 Cosmos shows the evolution of the eye, with the real view presenting next to what each iteration of the increasingly-complex creature eyes see.
  • This was often used in the game show The Crystal Maze: if a contestant crawled through a maze, there would often be shots from the contestant's point of view. Also cameras would be attached to tools used by the contestants (such as a metal detector), or moving objects, such as a swinging pendulum.
  • Game of Thrones: We get these when Stark kids are seeing through the eyes of a direwolf.
  • Gulf Playhouse, an anthology series which ran from 1952-53 on NBC, initially did standard dramatic stories before being retooled as First Person Playhouse, where every story was shown from the POV of the main character (which was probably inspired by the above-mentioned The Plainclothesman).
  • House does this for a good half of the episode "Locked In". It starts from the patient's viewpoint, who suffer from locked-in syndrome, and thus can only watch helplessly as the doctors try to diagnose him, only able to communicate through blinking.
  • A recurring sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show featured Gleason as Joe the Bartender, who would address the camera as unseen customer "Mr. Dennahy".
  • The Kamen Rider Kiva Adventure Battle DVD, Kimi mo Kiva ni Narō (You Can Also Be Kiva), is an interactive DVD mostly shot from the perspective of an unseen character (implied to be the viewer themselves), whom the characters train to become the next Kiva. We never see what they look like, since the only time we ever see them on screen is when they've already transformed into Kiva, though judging by their voice and height (seen as a silhouette just before they transform), they're a young boy.
  • Late Night with David Letterman
    • On the third episode Dave came out to do his opening monologue with a cameraman holding a camera over Dave's right shoulder, showing his view of the audience. The camera stayed on Dave's shoulder until the first commercial break.
    • Other gimmicks used over the years include "Monkey Cam" where a camera is strapped to the head of a chimp who is let loose in the audience, showing its perspective.
  • Legion: In "Chapter 22", there are a few shots of baby David Xavier seeing his parents from his point-of-view while lying in his crib.
  • Likely Suspects, a playful detective show that had a short run on Fox starting in 1992, is based on this trope. The viewer plays the role of a rookie partner to the main character. The perspective frequently shifts from POV to standard cinematography for flashbacks or other scenes where the viewer character isn't present.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Point of View" used this to great effect, with the camera taking the place of a patient in the hospital, allowing the viewer to experience the characters from a different perspective.
  • Mr. Bean: During the judo lesson in "Back to School, Mr Bean", there is a shot seen from the point of view of the instructor, who bows while facing Mr Bean, and then rises to discover that Mr Bean is no longer there.
  • One episode of The New Hollywood Squares had Jim J. Bullock using a helmet-cam in his square.
  • Peep Show sticks to this almost exclusively, hopping between characters' perspectives (including those of random passers by). This becomes very weird in kisses and sex scenes.
  • The Plainclothesman, a detective show which ran from 1949-54 on DuMont, was shown entirely from the POV of its main character, with the exception of a flashback episode which showed his face.
  • The Sanctuary episode "Metamorphosis" takes place mostly from the first-person POV of Will, and only switches to a normal third-person POV for a few scenes.
  • Saturday Night Live had a couple of sketches that were shown from a first-person point of view:
    • Probably the most popular sketch that uses the P.O.V. Cam is Christopher Walken's recurring sketch, "The Continental." Justified in that the original version of "The Continental" from the early 1950s was done through P.O.V. Cam too.
    • A sketch from a Jean Doumanian era (1980-1981 season) episode hosted by Karen Black showed a stroke victim laid up in a hospital bed. The viewer sees how his nurse (Yvonne Hudson) treats him like a baby and how no one — not even his daughter (Karen Black) and her boyfriend (Charles Rocket) seems to care that he had a stroke (except for his friend, Rachel, who loved him).
    • A short film (also from the Jean Doumanian era — this time on the episode hosted by Sally Kellerman) centered on a man who turns out to be one of the freed Iranian hostages from the early 1980s and everywhere he goes, people bombard him with questions and exploit him. For maximum Nightmare Fuel, it ends with a man dressed as Uncle Sam eerily announcing, "Welcome home, son!" and strangling the unseen man with a yellow ribbon as "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree" plays.
    • From season 20 (another seasonally rotten season), there was a one-off sketch on the episode hosted by Bob Newhart in which a post office supervisor (Newhart) tries to fire a worker (who appears in POV Cam).
  • In the Small Wonder series finale "The Rip-Off", this was done when Vicki, connected to the hotel TV, showed how the robbery really happened.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The episode "The Magnificent Ferengi" has one of these, combined with a Huddle Shot from Keevan's eyes, although after he is killed.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
  • Star Trek: Picard: In "The Impossible Box", we get a brief glimpse of what the world looks like through Hugh's eyes after he says, "Out of the way, please." There are green Borg graphics which pepper his field of vision.
  • Tales from the Crypt:
    • The episode "You, Murderer" is done from this perspective, with the main character speaking in an impersonated Humphrey Bogart voice and old footage of Bogart himself digitally inserted into scenes where his reflection is shown in mirrors.
    • Another Crypt episode, "Abra Cadaver", is partially shown from the POV of one of the characters after he dies.

    Music Videos 
  • Cinnamon Chasers' "Luv Deluxe", a young man's wild romantic road trip that also has Multiple Endings, available here.
  • Used in the music video for One Direction's "Night Changes", allowing the viewer to pretend they're going on terrible dates with all five (at the time) members of the band.
  • The video for The Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" is a first-person view of a night's debauchery and sexual harassment being done by a woman, thanks to a mirror-reveal.
  • Tears for Fears:
    • In the "Pale Shelter" music video, a few shots are from the alligator's perspective.
    • In the "Advice for the Young at Heart" music video, the camera passing by various pedestrians and buildings is the bride's point-of-view as her new husband drives them to their honeymoon destination.

    Pinballs 
  • In Stern Pinball's X-Men, "Weapon X Multiball" shows Logan's view as he runs down the corridors of the Weapon X facility and fights the guards in his way.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Isaac Asimov's Robots: When Det. Baley exits the decontamination chamber to meet Dr Fastolfe, we briefly get to see how much the bright light hurts his eyes. Det Baley grew up in an underground Mega City and the washed-out view from his perspective shows us how windows open to the sun hurt him until he can adjust to the bright space.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The "Spudgy Cam" gives a great view of the world from a Pekingnese perspective on Eat Your Kimchi.
  • Used in Shock Troopers: as one soldier gets boosted over a small hill by his friend, the camera briefly cuts to his view as the defibrillators make contact and he's launched into the air.
  • Sometimes done in pornography with the camera filmed from the viewpoint of one of the actors (normally the male).

    Western Animation 
  • The Arthur episode "You Are Arthur" features this technique for the entire episode, where viewers get to watch Arthur run a 3k race through his point of view.
  • The third segment of Family Guy Viewer Mail #2, "Point Of Stew", lets viewers see the world through Stewie's eyes.
  • A few shots from the Oggy and the Cockroaches episode "Now You See Me, Now You Don't!" are set from Oggy's POV.
  • Phineas and Ferb: The special "Night of the Living Pharmacists" begins with a point-of-view shot through Isabella's eyes as she is walking up the driveway to the Flynn-Fletcher house to the backyard to see Phineas and Ferb.
  • Pinky and the Brain episode 55 segment 1 "The Pinky P.O.V." was shown entirely from Pinky's perspective, featuring a visible nose, hands and full body reflections.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Envoys", we get a brief glimpse of Ensign Rutherford's point-of-view when he confronts a group of holographic Borg drones.
  • The beginning of The Venture Bros. episode, "¡Viva los Muertos!" shows the POV of one of The Monarch's henchman as he dies and is revived as Venturestein.
  • The Batman Beyond episode "Speak No Evil" begins with a POV shot that finally reveals in a reflection that the viewpoint character is a gorilla.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Dating Sim Shot, First Person Camera, POV Shot, Visual Novel Shot

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Simmons' hand signals

During their training mission against Felix, Simmons tries communicating with Grif using hand signals, but they quickly become nonsense.

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