Whether you’re new to videography or have some experience, perfecting camera movement is both a skill and an art. Video camera movement can help you to achieve a number of engaging effects; however, if it isn’t done well, the effect can be jarring and distracting. Video camera movement can be used to help make a subject look larger or smaller. It can add drama, visual interest, create a narrative, and help to tell your story. Camera movement techniques can be achieved with a mounted camera, a camera moved manually along by the videographer, or by moving the camera lens only. Video camera accessories can help to facilitate effective camera movement whether you want a smooth or dramatic effect. Practice is the key to success; use these videography tips for perfecting camera movement in your shots:
1. Panning with a Mounted CameraPanned shots show the viewer the overall landscape and terrain. With your camera mounted on a tripod, move it gradually from left to right; begin with a still shot and end with a still shot. Try out various panning speeds to see what works best for you.
2. The Mounted Camera TiltTilting is like panning, only vertically. The technique is often used to show a large object from bottom to top, or vice versa. Again, begin with a still shot and end on one. Moving from lower to higher will make the subject look heavier and more monumental, while panning from bottom to top tends to diminish size and impact.
3. A Moving Camera Floating StabilizerA floating stabilizer can assist you in following a subject through twists and turns. Strap the stabilizer to yourself with camera mounted on it; the stabilizer’s joints utilize gyroscopes to achieve smooth movements.
4. The Camera BoomA camera boom is kind of like a construction crane and is used to capture scenes from up above. The camera boom can move up, down, and in sweeping motions.
5. Using a Moving Camera DollyA camera dolly rolls on wheels to help you smoothly follow a subject. Practice moving backwards and forward with a camera dolly; once you get the hang of it, try combining it with other techniques. A camera skater can hold a heavier camera than a dolly can.
6. The Camera Lens ZoomThe illusion of camera movement can also be achieved by simply zooming in and out with your camera lens. A tripod can help to stabilize the shot. Try different zoom speeds, distances and rates to play with the viewer’s perception of scale, size and distance.
7. Handheld Moving CameraPractice holding the video camera yourself and moving the camera manually to achieve the effect you’d like. Avoid zooming during use of this technique, as doing so can make your shot shaky; instead, move physically closer to the object. Use a video rig to help stabilize the camera.
8. Camera Lens and Rack FocusAdd impact to your shots by changing the focal length on an object so that it’s in focus as the background drops out of focus; now try bringing the object out of focus and allow the background to become more focused. Use a tripod and make sure the two objects are an optimal distance apart from each other so that this technique is visually appealing. Mastering effective camera movement takes focus and practice, but the benefits to your video work can be exponential. Take the time to familiarize yourself with all of the features of your video camera and use video camera accessories to enhance movement techniques in your shots. Skillful camera movement is key to taking your videos past amateur level and into the realm of the professional videographer. Use these videography tips to master key camera movement techniques and create videos your viewers will want to watch again and again.
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
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