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Thread: Name? Rules? Comments?- camera circles a group of people

  1. #1

    Default Name? Rules? Comments?- camera circles a group of people

    The image below shows a group of people and a camera. The camera would move along the path of the black line, always facing inwards.
    Is there a 'name' for the type of shot? And are there any rules and does it have any known purpose?

    I was also curious whether anyone had mixed stereo audio to suit this type of shot.


  2. #2
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    I don't know the name of it, but I would imagine one 'rule' would be to shoot at an angle particularly high or low to avoid moving in front of the light source and casting a shadow momentarily on the actors. That depends on the light setup I suppose, as in some cases, external light sources might be dispersed enough to make shadows practically invisible.

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    It generally annoys the hell out of people if you do it more than once! So my rule is this: get it right first time (if it's not staged), and make sure you're discrete...

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    ...and the wisdom of google tells me it's called an Arc Shot.

  5. #5

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    Many thanks for the comments on 'arc shots'. I dare to write some thoughts and observations.

    In olden days, these shots were hard. The entire film crew and equipment had to be keep out of view. Crew furthest behind the camera would have had to move faster than the camera operator! I guess modern SteadyCams and small film crews make it easier nowadays.

    I tend to mostly see these shots in American TV crime programs (CSI etc); and the cam tends to stop arcing in a position to see the principal actor talking (over the shoulders of the others in the group).

    Most of the shots seem to be done outdoors. I guess that simplifies the lighting.

    It is a great way to display all 360 degress of the location. It also allows the actors to appear in a natural position; all facing each other, as would real people. It also permits movement to occur even when not alot is happening.

    The only oddity, is the feeling that the Viewer is strangely moving around the group without being invited to join. Perhaps the entire opposite of a Stage play, where actors tend to speak downstage (facing the audience).

    I did not find any 'rules' on this kind of shot, but I have now tried it. I get the feeling that the 2 most unsettling effects occured when either the Camera changed height whilst it circled; or if the camera moves around more than once (i.e. > 360 degrees). I now need to watch alot of TV to guage how far around they move (I suspect it is often 3/4 of circle) and what height the camera is, compared with the head and shoulders of the actors.

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    All credit to you for having a go Tim. I'm sure this shot has its uses, but I worry that all too often it's used "because we can" rather than to enhance a scene.

    I find it often detrimental because unless done with purpose, (as with overuse of rack focus) it draws the viewers attention to the technique - reminds them they are watching a film when surely one wants to keep the viewer absorbed.

    A variation on the arc shot that annoyed the hell out of me the other night was watching Richard Dawkin's "The Genius of Darwin". Instead of having two angles - one on each party in a two handed discussion and cutting between them, the cameraman, with a shoulder mount (or possibly a steadycam) would circle around the two so we'd start with an over the shoulder shot of Dawkins talking to the Archbish then the camera would circle around so we see Dawkins' face from over the shoulder of the Archbish. A worthwhile thing to try maybe, but wholly distracting for me. I hope we don't see more of this.
    Tim

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