Handheld shots are when the camera operator actually holds the camera in hand, either in their hands, or with a shoulder mounted rig. This creates organic movement as the camera moves with the operator, and tends to breathe life into camera shots, making them feel more intense. Handheld camera moves can be great when characters are scared or nervous.
- Another one of the most common ways…to move the camera is to shoot handheld.…This is exactly what it sounds like.…Instead of putting the camera on some…stationary apparatus, the camera is held by hand.…This creates an organic shakiness…that creates a lot of energy in the frame.…If the camera lens represents the eyes of the audience,…then handheld shots are like cranking up the heartbeat…of the audience, making it so they just can't sit still.…The most common usage in this is probably fight scenes,…both verbal and physical.…The war boys are on the hunt in this scene…from Mad Max: Fury Road.…
Almost every shot in this sequence has a frenetic movement…of a handheld camera to keep the energy up,…and it really works.…In the movie Whiplash, throughout much of the film,…even when things were tense because the student…couldn't quite keep up with the teacher,…the camera was still pretty stable,…but later when the teacher and student…were in direct conflict with each other,…the camera becomes noticeably handheld.…Even some of these reaction shots of the other people…
Watch and learn how to shoot a script, using visual motifs, atmospherics, framing, and different types of shots to tell the film's story. Find out how to give direction to your crew and be a good leader, while staying on budget and on schedule. Plus, get tips to improve shots during retakes or in post, and to become a better director, storyteller, and communicator.
Note: Like the rest of the Creating a Short Film series, this course was shot during the production of The Assurance. It offers a unique window into the actual struggles and challenges filmmakers have to overcome to get films made. Find the rest of the courses in the series on Chad's author page.
- What a director does
- Interpreting the script
- Scouting locations
- Choosing the tone and theme of the film
- Using motifs
- Shaping the story through visuals
- Being a good leader on set
- Respecting budgets and schedules
- Planning shots
- Moving the camera: on a tripod or dolly or in handheld shots
- Using rolling takes
- Framing shots
- Adding atmospherics
- Directing in post-production
- Becoming a better director
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 04 Working with Actorswith Chad Perkins1h 49m Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 01 Producingwith Chad Perkins1h 6m Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 02 Writingwith Chad Perkins3h 17m Appropriate for all
1. Preparing for Production
2. Themes and Tone
3. Shaping the Story
4. Running the Set
5. Planning Shots in a Scene
6. Getting the Shot
7. Improving the Shot
8. Directing in Post-Production
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