Crossing the line: eyeline

The eyeline between a person and the object they are looking at should act as a guide for shooting: crossing the line can confuse the viewer. Ian Hider, a BBC Academy trainer, explains the principle of "the line" in television grammar.

Ian explains how crossing the line with your shots runs the risk of confusing and alienating the viewer.

The rule of not crossing the line applies to objects in motion, people talking to one another, and the spatial relationships between people and objects.

"If you confuse the viewer, they are no longer following the story." – Ian Hider

Ian uses himself as an example. He illustrates the shots that work best and the ones that cross the line in a scene where he is sitting and reading a book.