The Info List - Bird's-eye View

A bird's-eye view is an elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird, often used in the making of blueprints, floor plans, and maps. It can be an aerial photograph, but also a drawing. Before manned flight was common, the term "bird's eye" was used to distinguish views drawn from direct observation at high locations (for example a mountain or tower), from those constructed from an imagined (bird's) perspectives. Bird's eye views as a genre have existed since classical times. The last great flourishing of them was in the mid-to-late 19th century, when bird's eye view prints were popular in the United States and Europe.


1 Terminology 2 Gallery 3 Bird's-flight view 4 See also 5 References

Terminology[edit] The terms aerial view and aerial viewpoint are also sometimes used synonymous with bird's-eye view. The term aerial view can refer to any view from a great height, even at a wide angle, as for example when looking sideways from an airplane window or from a mountain top. Overhead view is fairly synonymous with bird's-eye view but tends to imply a less lofty vantage point than the latter term. For example, in computer and video games, an "overhead view" of a character or situation often places the vantage point only a few feet (a meter or two) above human height. See top-down perspective. Recent technological and networking developments have made satellite images more accessible. Microsoft Bing Maps
offers direct overhead satellite photos of the entire planet but also offers a feature named Bird's eye view in some locations. The Bird's Eye photos are angled at 40 degrees rather than being straight down. Satellite imaging programs and photos have been described as offering a viewer the opportunity to "fly over" and observe the world from this specific angle. In filmmaking and video production, a bird's-eye shot refers to a shot looking directly down on the subject. The perspective is very foreshortened, making the subject appear short and squat. This shot can be used to give an overall establishing shot of a scene, or to emphasise the smallness or insignificance of the subjects. These shots are normally used for battle scenes or establishing where the character is. It is shot by lifting the camera up by hands or by hanging it off something strong enough to support it. When a scene needs a large area shot, it is a crane shot. Gallery[edit]

Bird's-eye view
Bird's-eye view
drawing of Paris
in 1850

A view of central London

Flying above the ESO's Atacama Large Millimeter Array
Atacama Large Millimeter Array

Bird's Eye View drawing of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition 1909

Aerial view of Disneyland in 2004

Painting of Schiphol Airport by the Dutch artist Janneke Viegers

Bird's-flight view[edit]

Part of the "Copperplate" map of London, surveyed between 1553 and 1559, depicting a bird's-flight view of the Moorfields

A distinction is sometimes drawn between a bird's-eye view and a bird's-flight view, or "view-plan in isometrical projection".[1] Whereas a bird's-eye view shows a scene from a single viewpoint (real or imagined) in true perspective, including, for example, the foreshortening of more distant features, a bird's-flight view combines a vertical plan of ground-level features with perspective views of buildings and other standing features, all presented at roughly the same scale.[2] The landscape appears "as it would unfold itself to any one passing over it, as in a balloon, at a height sufficient to abolish sharpness of perspective, and yet low enough to allow of distinct view of the scene beneath".[3] The technique was popular among local surveyors and cartographers of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. See also[edit]

Look up bird's-eye view in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bird's-eye view.

Aerial landscape art Aerial perspective (other) Aerial photography Bird's-eye view
Bird's-eye view
map Camera angle Cinematic techniques Filmmaking Google Earth Pictometry Plans (drawings) Top-down perspective Video production Worm's-eye view


^ Hurst, Herbert (1899). "Introduction". Oxford Topography: an essay. Oxford Historical Society. 39. Oxford: Oxford Historical Society. pp. 1–12 (4–5).  ^ Ravenhill, William (1986). " Bird's-eye view
Bird's-eye view
& bird's-flight view". The Map Collector. 35: 36–7.  ^ Hurst 1899, pp. 4–5

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Cinematic techniques


Background Cameo Fill Flood High-key Key Lens flare Low-key Mood Rembrandt Stage Soft


Diegetic Non-diegetic

Narration Film score Sound


Field size

Long / Extreme long / Full American Medium Close-up Italian Two shot

Camera placement

Perspective Over-the-shoulder Point-of-view (POV) Reverse Trunk Single / multiple-camera setup

Camera angle

Tilt Aerial High-angle Bird's-eye Crane shot Jib / boom shot Low-angle Worm's-eye view Dutch angle

Camera movement

Tilting Panning

Whip pan

Hand-held Shaky Tracking Dolly Steadicam SnorriCam Walk and talk Follow Dolly zoom

Lens effects


Racking Depth of field Shallow Deep


Other techniques

Establishing shot Master shot B-roll Freeze-frame shot Long take Insert

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Prosthetic makeup Animatronics Puppetry Creature suit Miniature effect (hanging) Pyrotechnics Aerial rigging (Wire-flying) Squib Matte painting Sugar glass Theatrical blood


Tilted plane focus Forced perspective Schüfftan process Dolly zoom Lens flares Lighting effects Filtration Shutter effects Time-lapse

Slow motion Fast motion Speed ramping

Bipacks Slit-scan Reverse motion Front projection Rear projection Multiple exposure Infrared photography Bullet time


Computer-generated imagery Split screen Stop motion Go motion Chroma key Compositing (digital) Optical printing Introvision Smallgantics