Join Eduardo Angel for an in-depth discussion in this video Pan and tilt, part of Camera Movement for Video Productions.
As we mentioned before, panning is like moving our head from left to right and back. Panning can be used to follow a subject as it makes its way across the frame. Or it can be also used to redirect the viewer's attention to reveal new details. Tilting is like moving our head up and down. This technique can be used to bring the viewer into the scene, emphasize importance or significance of the subject, reveal to details into the scene, or reveal the vertical size of an object.
We often see pan, and tilts being used together. Because the pan and tilt mimics the motion of the human neck, we often use them to create or recreate a character's point of view, also called POV, or establish a sense that the action on screen is being observed by others. When panning and tilting, it is also important to consider the height of the camera when plotting our shots. As it will determine the perspective from where the audience views our subject. A quick example, check this out.
The camera's height is about the girl's eye level. When we tilt down or up, the results are drastically different. When tilting up, it looks like someone is looking at her shoes and then her face. When tilting down, it seems like someone is looking at the building and suddenly discovers there is a girl waiting for someone. Panning a subject with a long lens, increases the perceived speed of th emotion and can give the impression that the subject is being followed or watched. Panning, is often considered as in camera editing.
Since we can go from subject A to subject B and back to A. Without interrupting the integrity of the scene. By doing this, we can add a layer of realism, and give the impression that the situation is happening in real time. Very quick pans can also be used as transition between scenes. And there's something else to consider. The speed of the pan or tilt, can greatly influence the perceived effect on the viewer. A slow pan or tilt forces the viewer to take in all the visual information of the scene as it enters the frame.
A fast pan or tilt can disorient the viewer, and jolt their attention to a new point of focus. In order to capture truly smooth movement it is essential to properly set up and counterbalance the tripod. We need to fine tune the tension, so the tripod does the heavy lifting for us. If we have the luxury blocking out our shots, we should practice the movement multiple times, before even rolling the camera, and adjust tension accordingly. Generally speaking, we want to set the tripod's head with less tension for close or fast moving subjects, and increase the tension for slow movements.
Additional tension often helps if for any reason, we find it difficult to keep the shot steady. Sometimes this happens with fully rigged cameras. More often than not, we want panning as well as tilting to be steady and fluid, unless of course, the story calls for camera shake.
- Exploring the different types of camera motion
- Panning and tilting
- Tracking on sliders vs. dollies
- Stabilizing camera movement
- Working with cranes, jibs, and mounts
- Choosing the right camera for motion