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Any time that the camera seems to be attached to a projectile (arrow, bullet, etc.) and/or chase after it as it flies through the air towards its target.
Oddly enough, real-world military snipers have reported going into a Zen-like trance when firing, during which their perception seems to "ride" the bullet all the way to the target. Also, artillery rounds fired on a flat or nearly-flat trajectory (including snipers' bullets) can be tracked all the way to the target with a telescope near the point of firing.
Usually subject to No Arc in Archery even in works where that trope is otherwise averted.
If a 3-D video game has a manually controlled projectile weapon, then in general, this trope will be used in order to facilitate better control of the projectile.
See also: Shaky POV Cam for a similar device used to represent the monster's vision. Surveillance Drone if the device stays in the air or Object Tracking Shot for following objects that aren't deadly.
Anime and Manga
- In an early episode of Mahou Sensei Negima we have an Arrow Cam without an arrow as Negi mentally homes in on his lost wizard's staff.
- A similar effect happens in Naruto whenever a member of the Hyuuga clan uses the telescopic aspect of their Byakugan vision jutsu.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Nanoha's first usage of Divine Buster Extension was accompanied by an Arrow Cam that rode the pink beam of death all the way to Vita.
- A more literal use appears in the A's Portable: The Battle of Aces game, where Signum's Sturm Falken super move has the camera riding the flaming arrow as it's fired from her bow.
- In various animated media involving Golgo 13. (There was a homage to this in the animated portion of Kill Bill.)
- Perhaps the best-known usage comes from the early-90s Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It should be noted that the shot was originally used only in the trailer, but proved so popular that it was added to the film.
- Naturally, this was subsequently parodied by Mel Brooks in the trailer to his movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
- And again in the tabletop RPG spoof movie, The Gamers. In this one the arrow actually stops and looks around at one point before finding its target. "Natural 20!"
- Used during the night club shootout in early-90's Heroic Bloodshed film "Full Contact" between the main character Gou Fei and the villain Judge, except with bullets of course, including one rather explicit moment when a bullet hits someone square in the head and comes out of the back.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring features another "point of view" arrow shot.
- Saving Private Ryan contains a very prominent example of this with a bullet.
- Inverted twice in Wanted, where we see a person drop dead, then the camera shows the bullet returning to the shooter while action is rewinded.
- A Cop And A Half invented the "Twinkie Cam" (it's like an Arrow Cam, only attached to a thrown twinkie).
- Lord of War has the opening credits played over the manufacturing, shipping, loading, and eventual firing of a bullet using this technique.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian does this twice.
- The Last Samurai did this with, if I recall correctly, a javelin or similar weapon.
- Done in the animated film The Swan Princess.
- The Bill Plympton short Draw! features a western gunfight from the bullet's point of view.
- Done in Blade: Trinity, but as an amusing anecdote. The actress firing the arrow was not expected to do very well and was told to fire as close to the camera as she could. She put the arrow dead center, and about six inches into the camera.
- The last bullet fired in The Quick and the Dead.
- At the beginning of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. Also seen in the trailer.
- Used with somewhat larger projectiles in Pearl Harbor, with air-to-sea Torpedo Cam shots homing in on navy vessels.
- Sam Raimi used several POV shots in the Evil Dead series, and Army of Darkness featured a literal Arrow Cam when Arthur shoots an escaping captive in the back.
Live Action TV
- The Australian comedy series Pizza used Arrow Cam constantly, any time anything was shot or thrown.
- Famously sent up on the sketch series Almost Live! with their "Billy Quan sketches; Billy's Finishing Move was a double-foot jumpkick, shot in this fashion, which could apparently home in on his opponent. The camera is from his viewpoint, and his legs jut into the shot.
- They also did a fake commercial for a restaurant called "Burger Gun", which instead of using a dive-up window fired burgers at passing motorist-customers from a cannon; the viewer got "burger's eye view" as the food blasted into a customer's mouth.
- In the sit-com Titus, one flashback had the title character challenge his father to a fight. The point of view then switches to his father's fist (with "Fist-Cam" helpfully flashing the bottom) one-shotting Titus.
- Better Off Ted uses it to follow two perfectly aerodynamic bagels as they slam into the back of Ted's head.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Used when Kimberly kills the Terror Toad with her bow.
- Real life example: Many modern missiles have cameras built in to facilitate aiming. Expect war coverage on the news to use these shots generously when talking about smart bombs.
- Interestingly, smart bombs themselves do not have cameras.
- Debatable, but I direct you to the Walleye, a bomb which does have a camera for its guidance system. The Walleye uses a TV-guidance system, which is more-or-less the camera-guided missile discussed here.
- Dungeons and Dragons: has items called "Arrow(s) of Eyes" that allows you to do this.
- This happens when you choose to take a certain amount of control of projectiles shot or thrown, in slow motion, in Heavenly Sword.
- The Unreal Tournament games (UT, UT2003, UT2004 and UT3) allows you to take control of a tac-nuke missile known as the Redeemer, with it's Alternative Fire, and guide it around until it explodes. You are left vulnerable, since you can't see what's happening around you in this mode, though.
- Being gibbed at any point would treat the player to a "head bouncing around-cam" shot in UT and UT3.
- There's also a mod which lets you actually ride the rocket. Naturally, the mod is called Strangelove.
- Unreal Tournament 2004 (the ECE Edition and Bonus Pack 2) and Unreal Tournament III features the SPMA vehicle, short for Self Propelled Mobile Artillery. The second fire of the main seat lets you take control of a small missile which acts as both a satellite-like cam (where you choose where to shoot your next swarm of missiles) and a projectile. While it's shooting, you can follow said projectile's trajectory. It has the same drawback as the Redeemer, though.
- The Slayer weapon in the N64 game Perfect Dark has a secondary fly-by-wire mode that allows the player to control the missile remotely while watching through an built-in camera.
- The Seeker Missiles in Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire have a built-in camera that can be enabled or disabled in the options menu.
- In Star Wars Battlefront II, guided missiles are controlled like this. It is awarded by earning a Demolition medal or by playing as Chewbacca.
- The Nikita remote controlled missile is a favourite in the Metal Gear series. Normally, the missile is controlled from a top-down view. However, in Metal Gear Solid 1 & 2, there is an option to go into first-person mode while controling the missile, displaying full screen the view from the built-in camera onboard.
- The Visibomb Gun from Ratchet & Clank has a similar just-behind-the-warhead-view, and enough range (and steerability) that you can often sit at the beginning of the stage, and hit enemies at the very end. It was subsequently toned down in power when it returned in the sequel, Going Commando.
- In Max Payne, this happened every single time you hit someone with the sniper rifle.
- This is, of course, a homage to Ringo Lam.
- Targeting your own bombs in the Free Space video game series allows you to view it in
- MDK and MDK2: Armageddon had a bullet cam when the player went into Sniper Mode.
- In the original MDK, Kurt actually had three live bullet cams when sniping.
- Rome: Total War allowed you to have the camera follow the projectiles of a selected ranged unit.
- Medieval: Total War has the same trick.
- Empire: Total War also does this, for artillery/cannon and ships.
- Medieval: Total War has the same trick.
- In the game Clive Barker's Jericho, all the playable characters have different weapons and abilities. One of them packs a sniper rifle, and has the ability to fire a bullet, whereupon you not only enter a Slo Mo Arrow Cam, but can telekinetically control the bullet. Really fun to just shoot one off and drive it into a demonic monster's skull.
- Rise of the Triad featured this with missiles. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, awesoooooooooome.
- In Comanche 3, the camera can change to follow a locked-on missile to its target.
- There is a chance of this happening with any type of projectile weapon fired while in V.A.T.S. mode in Fallout 3. It most often happens when it is the killing shot.
- In Supreme Commander if you set the camera to track an ACU (commander) and zoom in, you will get an Arrow Cam effect whenever the ACU fires a blast from its powerful overcharge cannon.first-person as it smashes into the target.
- Descent II had the camera-guided-missile variety.
- Crimson Skies also had a bunch of camera-guided-missile turrets... in the 1930s. Granted, the world of that series is not exactly identical to ours, what with the Divided States of America and all that, but still...
- When playing a multiplayer game in Call of Duty 4, if a player is killed by an explosive (eg. Thrown grenade, grenade fire from grenade launcher, RPG rocket, or even bombs from airstrikes), the killcam will track that projectile when replaying the kill.
- And in Modern Warfare 2, you can remote-control an AGM missile fired from a Predator Drone.
- The Multiplayer of Star Fox: Assault includes an example of this with the rocket launcher setting. Both players must use Arrow-Cam missiles, leading to "Jousting".
- One of Ram's Loco Moves in Total Overdose is a golden gun, an homage to the Man With The Golden Gun except that it fires three bullets. The camera follows each bullet's trajectory to it's invariably lethal destination.
- The space combat sim Independence War has remote piloted missiles which the player manually flies to the target and detonates. Notably, the missile has a large blast radius, so you don't need to actually hit a target to hurt them. Also your ship is not invulnerable while you're busy flying the missile.
- Used in SSI's Fighting Steel game. While you never see your salvo's actual shells, with the right options set the camera will every so often follow their arc to the target.
- In some of the Wing Commander games, you can select a missile camera view. However, while doing that, you're unable to see what's happening with your ship.
- Most Ace Combat games allow you to follow a missile or bomb after it has been fired. However, the weapon cannot be controled and the camera is a few feet behind it.
- Likewise, the Airforce Delta games also feature this
- Dystopia uses this when you fire a rocket in fly-by-wire mode.
- Batarangs in Batman: Arkham Asylum -- you can not only control the RC batarangs but follow the regular ones.
- Used when you fire the final bullet to take down the Big Bad in Silent Scope.
- Used occasionally to follow a Critical Hit fired in VATS in Fallout 3.
- Oddly, the game with occasionally try to do this with buckshot, resulting in a spasmatic camera that can't quite pick a pellet to follow. Luckily, you still get to see the resulting Ludicrous Gibs.
- In Singularity you occasionally get to use a weapon called the Seeker. When fired while aiming down the sights, the game allows you to steer the bullet around in slow motion until it hits something.
- Don't fuck with a witch, because you will home that lipstick at your father's forehead and you will fuck shit up! Turns out he's Faking the Dead.
- Done with the spears in Vindictus. It fills the whole screen if you aim manually, but just gives a little picture-in-picture window if you let it auto-aim.
- Done with ranged items and the beetle in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. While the former is done largely for the sake of immersion and aesthetics, the latter is done because you are controlling the beetle as it flies through the air.
- Some soccer games have a special "ball cam". It is as useless as you'd think.
- Bulletstorm's sniper rifle allows you to control the bullet as it flies through the air. It's alt-fire mode allows you to keep controlling it after it has lodged itself in an enemy (taking the enemy with it) and then blow it up to take out even more enemies.
- Archery in Wii Sports Resort does this a couple different ways, first is if you ace a section (all three shots are tens) you will get a replay of the last shot in this view. The other is, in each of the 12 areas there is an alternate target (A overly large fruit, cake, or in one case a timer) that if you shoot in such a way that your arrow will near it, it follows, even if it misses at the far end.
- This was added in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim with a patch. It also applies to kills done via spells.
- Sniper Ghost Warrior, during key enemies or headshots, displays a cam that follows the bullet to the target.
- Used in Order of the Stick. It misses, much to the archer's chagrin. Lampshaded, in "why did we follow it for four panels if it was just gonna miss?
- In this strip of Ears for Elves, an arrowcam leads to a rather oddly-shaped arrowhead due to skewed perspective.
- The camera follows a toothpick being thrown in this video.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd uses this against The Nostalgia Critic. With a pen.
- Occurred in episode 13 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, when the Blue Spirit was struck down by a single arrow fired by a Yuu Yan archer.
- The Arrow Cam occurs also in Sita Sings the Blues.