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Thread: Moving the camera - when and how and why.

  1. #1
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    Default Moving the camera - when and how and why.

    Is it just me or is the camera work on the TV rubbish.

    It started on nypd blue and kids tv and now there is a plague of it - I speak of apparentl weird and pointless camera movement.

    Why shake the camera on purpose? Why slowly track around a subject ? Why put people on turn tables? WHY?

    Personally I find it crap in most instances - distracting and at worst almost unbearable.

    My only guess is that it is thought to add verisimilitude - if it looks like camcorder footage then people are supposed to feel more 'in' the scene - yes I can see that but only when used with caution.

    I even copy it cos people expect it - but whywhywhy???

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    I think that the original idea was to give drama productions a more "documentary" feel. However... If you try to hand-hold a Panavision Millenium you'll end up with a hernia and a pile of broken camera on the floor. So the operators introduced artificial movement from the "tripod" which never looks right.

    A lot of directors have taken this as a valid technique and ask for a documentary feel to dramas. Also some directors haven't quite grasped that: If the scene and dialogue are flat, adding a bit of wobble-cam won't spice it up.

    Even worse is the director/producer who comes out with the wonderful statement "It's only a quick shot, no need to set up the legs is there? It doesn't matter if there's a slight movement." These are the same twits who moan like drains in the edit when (a) the shot doesn't cut with the rock-steady shots taken on a support and (b) are amazed that a hand-held shot at the tight end of the zoom moves a bit at the end of the five minute take.

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    Interesting.

    Funny thing is all the documentarians are trying to keep thier camera as still as poss in difficult circumstances whilst the precious drama types are sat in a studio surrounded by equipment and people and they wobble the camera on purpose - funny that.

    Ditto the 'tripod wobble' - I bet operators are also asked to do 'stedi-cam wobble' - hoho

    Personally I am more gripped by the still camera for many if not most shots where you can choose to be still - imho without very careful consideration still rules.

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    The main reason I stopped watching Battle Star Galactica, to many distracting wobbly shots and different film treatments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Cheema View Post
    The main reason I stopped watching Battle Star Galactica, to many distracting wobbly shots and different film treatments.
    So true. A friend of mine has this huge plasma/LCD (not sure) TV, and it's got all these annoying 'ghosting' things going on (it's not a great TV). And in Battlestar Galactica every shot appears to be wobbly, so when Adama is filmed we always see his glasses sort of floating around, kind of funny hehe.

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    In my opinion the camera movements fit perfectly with the genre - they're trying to get across a cramped and hostile environment and smooth crisp lines just wouldn't fit the mustard. People said the same thing about Arrested Development, but again I personally thought it perfectly suited the anarchy of the Blueth family. It just adds to the atmosphere as much as the smooth shots of a steadicam did for The Shining.

    Personally I think it adds an extra level of intensity. You feel more a part of the events rather than just a spectator (if you really were on the Battestar galatica you'd be experiencing constant movement, people in your face and sudden changes - buy simulating this through the camera movements, you add that level if intamacy you wouldn't otherwise get). When you're running full pelt for the train or bus, do you see the world glide pass and focus on one thing, or do you have a million and one things get in your way? Your head lolls one way and another.

    So, in summary, I strongly disagree.

  7. #7

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    Yes I have agree with you Marc, but in some movies like the last "Bourne', it was in everyshot whether called for or not

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    I blame Paul Greengrass. Someone needs to buy that man a tripod. And the more shaky he makes his big budget productions the more the critics enthuse about his work.

    "Battlestar Gallactaca" and "24" are just the tip of the iceberg with this stuff (don'tcha just love he way they do that "quick zoom in, focus and wobble, then zoom in even more and refocus" shot all over the place?!). Even the ruddy BBC are doing it now. Made the mistake of watching "The Flood" on DVD last week - same "tricks" again. It's obviously "flavour of the month" just like "desaturate all the colour out of a movie because the real world isn't colour" (sarcasm off) nonsense that was all the rage last year.

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    I can understand wobbly shots that are meant to emphasize the tension and sensation and everything, but when an old git like Adama is being filmed and he's only talking, I don't see why the screen has to jerk eradically. I think it's a tad bit annoying, but I can still enjoy the show.

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    The links in Dragon's Den annoys me with it. Absolutely no need whatsoever.

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