The Fundamentals Of
Camera Movement

Video camera movement is used for many purposes. It may be used to make an object appear to be bigger or smaller.

It may be used to make things blurred, scary, or just different. Camera movement techniques are often used, however, to tell a story.Learning camera movement fundamentals isn't hard.

The various camera movement techniques are done either with a mounted camera, a moving camera - where the camera and the photographer move together, or movement of just the camera lens.

Practicing the various camera movement fundamentals will help you learn which camera movement techniques work best for you.

Technique 1: Mounted Camera Pan

Mounting the camera on a tripod, simply move the camera horizontally from left to right. Pan shots are used to show the viewer more of the scenery. This technique is also often used to show views from high places, such as overlooks. Pan shots should begin with a still shot, then pan, then finish with a still shot. You should practice panning at various speeds until you find the speed that works best for you.

Technique 2: Mounted Camera Tilt

A tilt done with a mounted camera is quite simple. You just move the camera up or down, without lowering or raising the position of the camera. This is must like panning, only it is done vertically. This video camera technique is used to follow the subject that you are photographing, or to show the viewer a large object from top of bottom - or from bottom to top.

You should note that when you tilt from bottom to top, the object looks larger or thicker. When you tilt from top to bottom, the object looks smaller or thinner. As with panning, you should begin with a still shot, tilt, then stop on a still shot. Again, practice this technique at various speeds until you find what works for you.

Technique 3: Mounted Camera Pedestal

This video camera technique is pretty much the opposite of the tilt technique. You do not tilt the camera, but you either raise or lower the position of the camera. This technique is simply used to get the proper view that you are looking for.

If you wanted to shot pictures of a baby, you would want to lower the camera. If you wanted to shot a tall person, you would raise the height of the camera. The purpose would be to make it appear that the subject is 'eye to eye' with the viewer.

Technique 4: Moving Camera Dolly

This video camera movement technique involves the use of a camera dolly, like the camera dolly's you might see on a movie set. You can make your own dolly with a wheelchair, a scooter, a skateboard, a rolling cart, or many other devices that have wheels.

This video camera movement technique is used to follow your subject. The use of a dolly opens up many possibilities, especially when used in conjunction with other techniques. Remember that you will want to be able to roll backwards as well as forward. Practice using this technique, and once you have it down, try mixing it with other techniques.

Technique 5: Moving Camera Floating Stabilizer

Floating stabilizer devices are used to follow a subject around twists and turns. The stabilizer is strapped to the photographer, and the camera is mounted to the stabilizer with metal jointed which are controlled by gyroscopes.

This video camera movement technique is a step up from the dolly technique. The movement of a dolly is limited, floating stabilizer devices remove those limitations. As with the dolly technique, you should learn the video camera movement fundamentals of this technique, then try mixing it with other techniques to get different effects.

Technique 5: Moving Camera Boom

A camera boom is a smaller version of the cranes that are used for construction. A camera boom is used to get a view of subjects or scenes from above. These are commonly used in filming movies, and the boom moves up, down, and around.

Technique 7: Moving Camera Handheld

Using this technique, the photographer simply holds the video camera, and moves wherever, and however, he needs to move to get the shot that he wants. When using this technique, you should avoid using the zoom feature on your camera. Zooming while using the handheld technique will make your shot appear to be shaky. Instead of zooming, move closer to the object you are shooting.

Technique 8: Camera Lens Zoom

You can get many different effects when using the zoom feature on your camera. This works well when combined with other video camera movement techniques. You should practice zooming at different speeds, as different situations will call for different speeds of zooming.

Zooming can create many different illusions, which can effect the viewers perception of size and distance. Alternately, zooming can be used to more adequately portray the size or distance to a viewer. It is recommended that you use a tripod when using the zoom technique.

Technique 9: Camera Lens Rack Focus

This is an interesting video camera movement technique, which can give your shots more impact. This technique calls for focusing the camera on one object in a close up shot, causing everything in the background to be out of focus, then causing the object itself to become out of focus while the background becomes in focus.

This is done by changing the focal length so that one object will go out of focus while another comes into focus. The two objects must be at a correct distance away from each other for this technique to work, and you will want to use a tripod for this type of shot.


Learn how to use all of the features on your camera, then combine the use of those features with different movements to get the most out of your shots. Video camera movement techniques can really spice up your home movies, and give them the style and flair that you see in Hollywood movies!

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