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first-person view (FPV)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

First-person view (FPV), also known as first-person point of view (POV), is the ability of the user of some technology to see from a particular visual perspective other than one's actual location, such as the environment of a character in a video game, a drone, or a telemedicine client.

In areas including photography, film, video games, telepresence and virtual reality, first-person views allow the user to experience an environment in a way that they might not have been able to otherwise.

First-person view is common in video games, allowing for immersive play as a character. FPV became common in first-person shooter games after ID Software’s popular Wolfenstein 3D, which put players in the shoes of an agent escaping a Nazi camp to ultimately kill Hitler.

Drone photography uses the flight and mobility of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to enable a first-person view in spots that might otherwise be inaccessible and offers a more affordable “near-there” option for amateur flight enthusiasts. This same technology enables remotely viewing targets for drone surveillance.

First-person views factor into many technologies. Here are a few examples:

  • In architecture, first-person walk-throughs of 3D-rendered CAD (computer-aided design) building plans are common.
  • Many cars provide a first-person view from a camera in the bumper to assist with backing up.
  • FPV in telemedicine allows doctors to confer with distant colleagues, examine remote patients and control surgical robots.
  • Telepresence robots combine a first-person view with a physical representative to simulate physical presence.


This was last updated in August 2015

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POV integrates a person and the camera, letting the audience see only what the camera (and the person) see. And that, almost always, with a standard Field of View (FOV), usually the equivalent of a 50mm lens. That's the only perspective and sometimes it's illuminating, sometimes disconcerting.  It's the ultimate "I am a camera" view.


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