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Creating movement

From: Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Video: Creating movement

You can shoot movement of your subject based on having the camera still. That's a good way to start looking at movement, because once you start moving the camera, you can introduce very confusing movement for the viewer. But moving the camera is an important part of video, so I'll be talking about that in this movie. Most photographers are familiar with panning a camera across the scene to follow a moving subject. You take a shot with a slow shutter speed as you move the camera to blur the background and your subject is relatively sharp.

Creating movement

You can shoot movement of your subject based on having the camera still. That's a good way to start looking at movement, because once you start moving the camera, you can introduce very confusing movement for the viewer. But moving the camera is an important part of video, so I'll be talking about that in this movie. Most photographers are familiar with panning a camera across the scene to follow a moving subject. You take a shot with a slow shutter speed as you move the camera to blur the background and your subject is relatively sharp.

That can be an effective photograph. Panning, moving that camera, is also important for video. Now you are actually recording the movement of the panning of your camera. Panning can be used to follow a subject moving through the scene or it can be used to pan across a larger scene to show that scene without having to back up and just do very wide shot. Because you are recording the actual movement of your camera as you pan, it's very important to have a video head on your tripod and that you level your head.

You need to be able to move the camera smoothly and level across the scene, and a standard photo head will not allow you to do that. Well, let's look at what happens when we pan across this whole dance scene. First though, I'll try practicing the shot so that I know what I am going to do with the pan, where I am going to begin it and where I am going to end it. You will find that even accomplished pros will do a few practice shots of a pan, just so that they can make sure they are getting the movement down smooth across a unique scene.

So before they even start dancing, I am just going to try panning across the scene, see where I am beginning, where I am ending. All right! Now I am going to have you guys do a tight area where you are dancing. I am going to start recording. I am going to start over on the side, and I move across them, nice even smooth move, and then I end. Okay, so that's moving across the scene. Thank you. Another use of a pan would be to follow a subject, such as that these dancers moving across the stage or one dancer moving through a larger movement of a dance.

So now I am going to go in a little bit tighter and I am going to have you do a looser dance, and go ahead. And I am going to follow Kim as she moves through the scene. They serve as a very interesting way of using movement. Great, thank you. Okay, let's take a look at a tilt while our dancers are doing some dance. So right now I am going to zoom in, and just start above them, and I will start recording.

Go ahead. So while they are going, I am going to tilt down, all the way down to their feet and hold on the feet, and there we go. Thank you. So that gives us an idea of how a tilt works. Now another way of moving your camera in a sense is moving your camera's lens by zooming, another way of creating movement. One problem though that you are going to have with a DSLR is that most zoom lenses have not been built for continuously shooting as you zoom.

I mean they were never made for that. They were meant for still photographers. So you may find that the zoom mechanisms don't works smoothly or that you actually see a change in exposure as the lens adjusts for the zoom. Okay, those were never problems when you are shooting still photos, but they are big problems when you are shooting video. A zoom lets you zoom in from a wide shot to a specific detail in a scene or you can start in on a detail and zoom out to reveal the whole scene.

But you have to have a zoom lens that allows you to do that. So let's try that here. So I am going to have you guys again do a dance, a tight area. So I am recording and go ahead. So we have got them moving. I am zoomed in tight on their feet, and I zoom out to reveal them dancing on the stage. All right! Thank you, very nice. And that's exactly how we do it.

Now last type of camera movement I am going to talk about is actually moving your camera. So we are going to take it off the tripod and there are lots of ways that we can create some movement. But it's long been an effective way of creating interesting visuals in television and movies. The challenge is keeping the movements smooth and even as appropriate to the scene. If you are moving your camera around and it's bouncing all over the place and you are doing kind of this, it's going to be really hard for your viewer to watch that video.

It's going to be like they are watching something shot on a moving boat. Well, there are a lot of pieces of gear available that can help you smooth out the moving camera, but they can also take a bit of a bite out of your wallet. This gear can get very expensive. You don't need to have all of that, although it can help at times having some support. It can make holding the camera easier while you are shooting over the time that it takes you to record your shot. But another way of dealing with the moving camera is to shoot with the wide-angle focal length.

So set your lens to its widest setting. Then use an image stabilizer if you have it. Image stabilization is a great tool, and plus shooting with a wide-angle lens period helps minimize the bouncy movement. Telephotos, not only do they magnify things at a distance, they also magnify any movement of your camera. So having that wide-angle and adding in the image stabilization can really be a nice effect. So I am going to have them move and I am going to move a little bit with them, because it gives a very different look.

So I am going to start shooting and I am going to have you guys okay, you are going to move toward me. All right! Thank you, and that gives a very different feeling and it can be kind of cool. But you got to practice with that and it takes some practice to kind of make your movements smooth as well. As you start moving your camera, watch how fast the camera is moving and the smoothness of the move. You will have to practice moving your camera to get the right speed and the right smoothness to the shot. While any practice doing this is going to help, you will find that you almost always have to practice a shot, whether that is a pan, a tilt, or moving camera, before recording video, because every scene is unique.

That means every movement is going to be unique and you need to know what your movement is going to be from start to finish.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR
Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

33 video lessons · 25079 viewers

Rob Sheppard
Author

 
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  1. 2m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. What video can do for you
      1m 27s
  2. 23m 13s
    1. Stopping time in photography vs. recording over time with video
      4m 14s
    2. Shooting for movement over time
      3m 58s
    3. Composing for constantly changing visuals
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting to shooting for a non-RAW medium
      3m 26s
    5. Understanding resolution for video
      3m 36s
    6. Choosing a video frame rate
      3m 17s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders
      6m 18s
    2. Comparing sensor sizes among DSLR cameras
      5m 26s
    3. Considering noise when comparing sensor sizes
      3m 8s
    4. Choosing memory cards and batteries
      3m 33s
    5. Understanding video tripods
      6m 10s
    6. Working with other camera supports
      3m 19s
    7. Using focusing aids for shooting video
      5m 29s
    8. Choosing lighting gear
      3m 58s
  4. 26m 23s
    1. Adjusting how you shoot
      6m 11s
    2. Limited "fixing" of images
      3m 42s
    3. Understanding the challenge of shutter speed
      3m 56s
    4. Getting the right exposure
      6m 59s
    5. Setting the right white balance
      5m 35s
  5. 19m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of audio
      4m 5s
    2. Learning to work with sound
      4m 54s
    3. Gearing up for audio
      7m 19s
    4. Recording with external audio gear
      3m 21s
  6. 33m 56s
    1. Basic shooting
      6m 12s
    2. Shooting video to tell a story
      7m 27s
    3. Shooting for coverage
      4m 52s
    4. Understanding how to shoot movement
      4m 10s
    5. Shooting the moving subject
      4m 17s
    6. Creating movement
      6m 58s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Preparing for the edit
      6m 57s
  8. 1m 47s
    1. Stay focused
      1m 47s

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