Off camera (short off , English "outside [the field of view of a camera]") is a technical term in the picture direction in audiovisual media and in film scoring. In English it is also used generally for all aspects of a film production that do not take place in front of the camera, analogous to backstage in the theater ("behind the scenes").
In the off there are acoustic events, the source of which is not shown by the camera, for example voices from dialogue partners who cannot be seen in a camera setting ( off voice ). A fundamental distinction is whether this belongs to the action or not (see Diegesis ): The voice of a character from the off, who is present in the scene but is currently not visible, has a different function than a narrative voice from the off that comments on the event from a distance in time and place ( voiceover ).
It is part of the action if, for example, someone calls into the scene through an open window, but it is not part of the action if a translator's voice is later superimposed on a film sequence. Dialog partners in the feature film who are not visible are also represented by actors who are present during the recording, if possible, because the play of the visible characters then appears more lively, even if the entire scene is dubbed.
The viewer's assumptions, for example about relationships between protagonists that can be derived from the action actually presented ( implication ), can also be referred to as off camera (see focalization ). Sometimes such assumptions are suggested by film music , camera angles and other comments from the observer's perspective of the film.
The off-voice as a voice-over is used to supplement a film with explanations or stories. Off-speakers are usually well trained. Instead of neutral perfection, depending on the area of application, particularly characteristic voices with linguistic imperfections, such as smoky, particularly old or young-sounding voices with dialectic tints, or known voices are used that increase the (advertising) effectiveness.
A dubbing voice, on the other hand, is not a voiceover because it apparently belongs to the figure in the picture.
- Michael Caine: Acting in Film , Applause, New York 1990, p. 64. ISBN 0-936839-86-4