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Moving and grooving the camera

Moving and grooving the camera

Anyone can put a camera on a tripod, turn it on, and shoot the scene before them in a single shot. But this style amounts to simply recording a scene, which is bor- ing, rather than true directing, which uses the different shot choices that are available to tell a story, controls what an audience is seeing from moment to moment, and moves the camera to achieve great-looking images.


You can choose from a few basic camera moves to spice up your storytelling:


» Pan: Simply move the camera from side to side, along the horizon. If the child

in the bouncing-ball example enters a room, spots the ball on a table, and walks to it, you can follow his movement by panning from the doorway to the table.

» Tilt: Move the camera laterally, along a vertical plane. In the example, you would tilt the camera from the child’s hand grabbing the ball and then lifting it

to his chest as he looks at it mischievously.

» Track: In this tricky-but-fun shot, you simply follow the subject throughout the scene. You can track the child from an outdoor starting point, keep him at a

distance, and then follow him right up to the ball. The tracking shot, which is used in lots of Hollywood fi                                         can be an eff        way to show off (A famous 3-minute tracking shot from Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas follows Ray Liotta’s character through the hallways and kitchen of a nightclub.)


You can pan and tilt by either using a handheld camera or placing it on a tripod or monopod. Tracking shots are typically accomplished with the use of a steadicam or dolly. To add a slick touch to your video, work out a brief tracking shot of one character.