View Full Version : Camera techniques in Film (pet peeve)

09-18-2006, 09:23 AM
I've noticed more and more film that uses the camera shake technique. I, for one, really despise this technique. For me it completely ruins what may have been a good movie. The one that really did it for me was Bourne Supremacy. I had planned on buying the DVD but after seeing it in theatre I decided against it. Some view this as a documentary style but I think not. I have watched the series Cops and that is Truly documentary. You see camera men actually running with the camera and yet there is little shake, some, but not much. Not as extreme as I've seen in some recent films. I Do believe there are better techniques than that. This ends my Rant.

09-18-2006, 09:34 AM
Agree with rant... on the small sceen..

Although the content of some of the shows using the technique is quality, I am getting tired of the faux cinema verite, documentary, behind the scenes look of the shaky cam....ie
The Office (awesome program) Arrested Development( best sitcom I have seen since Seinfeld) Sons and Daughters...ummm... well and all those others.....

It also slightly insults me as a cameraman in that they are saying "because this is suppose to be 'behind the scenes' it obviously means the cameraman can't hold the camera steady". Are quality cameramen that hard to find now-a-days.

rant off...

09-18-2006, 09:40 AM
Agree. I think if used sparingly it can be very effective in the storytelling, but when the entire movie is using it, all it does is make me sick.

digital verve
09-18-2006, 10:00 AM
When I heard about people falling ill and being sick after watching the Blair Witch, I thought cool, finally a really scary movie. Then after watching it, I discovered the film was a case of the 'Emperors New Clothes' (not that good) and it was the terrible shaky camera work giving people motion sickness.

The shaky camera is getting well over used, but didn't mind it in Bourne Supremency so much though.

09-18-2006, 10:20 AM
It was nifty when it was new, in Saving Private Ryan for me, but it got boring really quickly.

Another thing that I find really dull is filming fight-scenes so close-up that all you can see if a vague, general blur of action. Sadly, a major offender in this is Batman Begins, where itlooks like the fights are really intricately choreographed, but because the frame's right splat between hip and shoulder, you can't actually tell. Compare and contrast the fighting in Serenity, where you wince with every landed blow, and the brilliant gunplay and fisticuffs are not just clearly visible, but dazzling.

09-18-2006, 10:29 AM
Well Serenity is just awesome in every aspect.

09-19-2006, 04:18 AM
I watched Star Wars Episode 3 again the other day and I found the fight at the end of that to be a similar case. All so dark and blurry with lightsabres going all over the show, I couldn't actually tell what was going on. But then again, alot about that film wasn't very good at all.

As for the shaky cam style, I can appriciate it in Saving Private Ryan, as it was really a tool to sell to the audience how manic it all was in a battle. But something like Batman Begins (which I really liked by the way - its what Superman returns should have been) you just want to see cool fights :)

09-19-2006, 04:54 AM
Hi All,

In Australia we call it "pissed (=drunk) cam" and the technique is often mocked in comedy shows.

As a shooter of thirty years experience it drives me nuts because of its over use (not to mention the strain on my ageing shoulders and back). It's easy for Directors and DOPs to over use it because it can chew up the minutes and allows for dodgy cutting. When used appropriately it enhances the story but unfortunately it also makes for lazy film making.


09-19-2006, 05:45 AM
Exactly! It's very good excuse for a bad director, that he/she wants to "enchance" the story, when actualy it just hides poor editing.

09-19-2006, 06:33 AM
Yamba and parazis: My sentiments exactly. There are time it works. I didn't mind it so muchi n Blair Witch because of the story. Reminds me of a behind the scenes where they showed the result of good vs. poor editing. It was pretty interested to see differences in editing and how dramatic it makes the scene.

Whatever happened to Steady Cam.

09-19-2006, 06:43 AM
gjjackson: We use Steady Cam quite often when shooting commercials. But you are right, I haven't seen it in cinema work recently.