The Dutch Angle

In filmmaking, a “Dutch Angle” occurs when the camera is slightly tilted, giving an appearance of a filmed scene being off-kilter. If you’ve ever watched the 1960’s Batman TV series, you’ve seen plenty of Dutch angles – they’re usually involving the hideouts or lairs of the criminal masterminds.

I’m currently working on a photo project that would involve Dutch angles, it’s something I’ve played with off and on over time. I’m still trying to evolve this project, but I thought it might not be a bad idea to “pull back the curtain” to show you what I’m contemplating. As I said, this is still a work in progress, but today I feel like showing you how some of the sausage is made.

I’m taking pictures in downtown Albany, and I’ve got my Kodak Medalist II (“Kodak Red”) filled with some respooled Kodak Ektar 100 film. The Palace Theater doesn’t have its marquee lights on, so I’m taking this as an opportunity to get an image or three.

First, I photographed the Palace in the morning, just as the sun rose against the theater’s facade.

I returned later in the day, and shot some more pictures – this time as the sun was high in the sky and clouds dotted the sky.

Damn, that almost looks like a vintage postcard. If it weren’t for that distracting storm cloud in the far right…

I had one more shot. Just for fun, I tilted Kodak Red to a 45-degree angle, and squeezed off my final shot.

I mean, the theater does fit in the frame … sorta … and that storm cloud isn’t as threatening.

So here’s the thing. I made sure to stand at the same exact location – the corner of Clinton Avenue and North Pearl Street – for each photo.

I took the photographed film negatives, scanned them into my computer, and then layered the Dutch Angle shot over the early morning shot …

You guys want to see something cool?

Palace Theater, Dutch Angle Experiment. Kodak Medalist II camera, Kodak Ektar 100 film (two shots). Photo (c) 2021 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Holy splitfilm, Batman…

Okay. This works. As long as I stand in the exact spot each time, I can take different films and shoot them in this camera … and maybe, just maybe, I can make something similar to my previous splitfilm award winners, and instead of locking the camera in place and waiting three hours between exposures …

I could shoot photos at different days, or at different times of the day, and layer them into something cohesive.

Ooh. This is looking sweet.

So now you kinda see how the sausage is made…

Wait until I show you what the sausage looks like when it’s in the casing.