POV shot in IKEA commercial

Emma Coats, former story artist at Pixar, recently tweeted a link to this commercial as an example of visual storytelling. Watch the commercial in the video below:

So far, I’ve been writing about cinematic storytelling (with one exception) using various movies as examples. However, cinematic storytelling doesn’t apply only to the movies, it has its place also in video games, music videos or TV commercials.

POV shot

The IKEA commercial uses one of the basic shots of cinematic language – the POV (point of view) shot. The POV shot shows literally, what the character sees. Additionally, through POV shot, we can experience not only what the character sees, but also how he feels or moves.

The POV shot is usually edited in such a way, that we’ll see firstly the character looking off screen and then the object the character is looking at, that is, his POV. This way of editing leaves no confusion whose POV it is. Here is a great example from Psycho.

Psycho (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Psycho (1960)

The POV shot helps us to identify with the character, even if we don’t like him, like in the final scene of The Silence of the Lambs.

Most of the time, the POV shots are used in a connection to beings, who are alive (people, animals), but only very rarely you’ll see a POV shot of a thing (chair, table), because it doesn’t usually make any sense, unless its alive, right? Like in the movies from Pixar, where you’ll have hundreds of POV’s of various toys, fish, cars, bugs, monsters, robots etc.

POV in IKEA commercial

So, when I see a POV shot, I automatically presume that it comes from a live being. And when you are alive, you can breathe, smell, you can feel, you can experience emotions, and you have also the ability to recognize feelings that are being experienced by another beings.

That’s why I felt sad for the lamp, when I saw it on the street, standing in the rain and wind next to the garbage can, looking back at the window, where it used to stand and shine.

How about you, did you feel sad for the lamp as well, or was it just me? 🙂


Vimeo Video School – POV
Point of View Shot (PDF)
Types of Shots (POV included)
Creating Point of View