A few Thoughts on Camera Movement

Given that we specialise in camera sliders, it seems only befitting for the blog to take a closer look at camera movement as a whole.

 

When you are starting out, you might have difficulty deciding how much camera movement you want, and the quality of movement you are looking for. These decisions might be motivated in several ways, including (but not limited to) what you want to be seeing in frame, the feeling you want to convey, or sometimes, it simply comes down to new technologies you’ve seen others use and would like to try.

 

At a very basic level, it’s always a good idea to go back and ask yourself what the story or message of your shot is, and what means best help you to get that point across to your audience. Things like budget, space and time restrictions will also play an important role, but it is useful to have a clear vision of what you want to communicate and how you would ideally do it before getting into that, because chances are, you may find a solution that fits your restraints, if you try hard enough.



Some of the things to consider will vary a little depending on whether you are shooting a commercial, a music video, or say a fiction piece. What they do have in common is: the camera is the eye through which the audience sees everything. In that sense, it can “feel” like one or more of many things: a neutral observer watching what is happening, a character (visible or implied) within the story, from whose point of view we see the action, or an omniscient narrator, allowing the audience insights that no single character has. The way you move the camera will considerably influence this notion of whose eyes we are watching a given action through, and further influence  the kind and extent of tension and also the dynamism of that particular shot.

 

The classical types of camera movement we have are, very roughly: panning, tilting, tracking (backwards, forwards, sideways) towering up or down, a freely moving handheld or stabilised camera, and of course any combination of these. Different tools such as dollies, sliders, cranes or drones, essentially perform one or more of these movement types.

 

The following posts will look at some of these tools in greater detail, starting - of course - with tracking movements, which a camera slider is most frequently used for.