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Camera Movement

One of the things that a photographer has to learn nearly from scratch when switching to video shooting is the importance of camera movement: a succession of static shots is usually duller and less interesting than a succession of similar shots with camera movement. Camera movement adds production value to the shots, make the video look closer to a real film than to a home video.

The basic camera movements are:

* Pan: rotating the camera on its vertical axis, from side to side, generally on a tripod (which should have a fluid head, specially designed for video, which makes this kind of movements feel smoother and more fluid)


* Dolly / Slider: moving the camera horizontally, on rails or on a cart (or a wheel chair, or a car, or basically anything which has wheels); it is used both laterally (specially effective if there's something in the foreground to make the camera movement more obvious) and front-to-back or back-to-front (because zooming while recording is generally a sign of cheap production: it is done on home movies and on low budget TV programs, but usually not in feature films)

(the Opteka and the Kamerar are made with IGUS parts that you can buy and build yourself; that's what I did, and the result is just as good; but the DIY version is not much cheaper than these new options, so it may not be worth the effort anymore)


* Steadycam: this is a stabilizer for "flying" the camera, for example following someone

(I have a Flycam Nano, but I can't really recommend it: just a small deviation when mounting the bearings can be a fatal flaw for these things, and the Flycam Nano seems to have these issues more often than it should; as a cheap option, probably the Manfrotto is better, although I can't be sure because I haven't tried it)


* Crane / Jib: this is literally a crane on which the camera is mounted and which allows it to move up/down and sideways (they're not cheap or easy to transport, but it's good to at least know they exist; you can fake this effect to some extent playing with a tripod like this)

(I haven't tried any of these, but, given my experience with the Flycam Naon, I would expect the price difference to show up when using these things too)


Much more about camera movement and related equipment in Pimp Your Production.





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