Have you ever wondered how movies achieve smooth camera moves? There are directors like David Fincher who rarely use hand-held shots in their films. They instead prefer the stability that locked-down techniques provide. This approach leaves audiences with seamless visuals.
A few tactics will keep your shots fluid and steady. Take a look.
1. Stabilizing Equipment
The key to steady moving shots is equipment. It’s often necessary to follow actors through a scene, but you don’t always want your final product to appear shaky. There’s a time and place for agitated camera work that makes your audience feel anticipation or nervousness.
Today’s filmmakers have stabilizing technology. These are hand-held rigs that mechanically control the camera to keep things centered. You can move freely to grab an action shot as the camera remains steady.
2. Flooring Setups
Don’t underestimate the power of something as simple as flooring. A smooth surface is a must for TV and film studios. These setups allow tracking shots to be concise. You don’t want to run into a bump in the floor that ruins the camera’s movement.
An excellent example of flooring setups in movies is “Footloose.” There are various materials used to build dance floors — and every dance scene in that movie happens by using a foundation with those components. It’d be impossible to capture fluid movement shots otherwise.
You should also consider how newsrooms operate. The ability to glide between different features in the studio is necessary because jarring shots will throw off viewers. Plus, it’s essential to be able to move things around when setups change.
In any case, it’s clear that flooring plays a big role during production.
3. Drone Technology
A drone is a great tool for achieving fluid aerial shots. In the past, you’d use a helicopter to grab footage from the sky. That process would often lead to somewhat shaky on-screen images. Today’s equipment helps eliminate potential jerkiness.
You have more control over the shots you get from a drone. They move exactly as you want. As a result, you can learn how to smoothly establish scenes from above. This tactic isn’t a must in film or television, but your audience can learn a lot from having a bird’s eye view.
4. Dolly Tracking Systems
In addition to flooring setups, you can use equipment to perfect tracking shots. Have you ever marveled at how a camera can move from left to right smoothly? That’s likely thanks to physical tracks that filmmakers build or buy for their sets.
The camera and tripod are attached to a moving setup. These are physical tracks that run in forward, sideways or circular motions. As a result, you can quickly achieve dollys and trucks without any jerky movements.
These are some of the most common shots in cinema. In fact, you’ll probably be able to find them in any movie or show you watch. Learning how to perfect popular camera movements will make a difference in your final cut.
Flooring and Other Techniques Allow for Steady Shots
A smooth camera movement makes your project feel more professional. If you’re looking for ways to achieve steady shots, you should consider these techniques. You can use a combination of them to ensure everything appears fluid and stable.