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Thread: Artistic Transition between Cameras

  1. #1
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    Artistic Transition between Cameras

    Hi everybody,

    Would you please give me general hints for setting cameras for a simple motion graphics scene?

    My question is very general and allow me not to give more detail since i want to have a general understanding on how to look from different angles and when to switch to other views.

    I have Kat's course on camera setting but it is too advanced and IMO suitable for space scenes. I also have watched lots of utube vids and in a small fraction of seconds there are so many things going on from one cam to the other wich is mind blowing. It does not seem to be practical to simply imitate.

    Sorry i know it is not very clear question.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    You might want to focus on studying some basic filmmaking techniques. Here's an example of some good info for beginning to understand where to put cameras and how to move them.

    http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/film...echniques.html

    http://actioncutprint.com/filmmaking...ectingformula/
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  3. #3
    watching stuff, studying stuff etc is the equivalent of mental procrastination/constipation, just set up some quick moves, whatever comes to mind, don't think too hard about it or how its all going to work just do it and then render of a whole bunch of low res non AA sequences, then hop into the editor of you choice and start seeing what works because thats when it will hit you, the edit is where it all gets figured out what works what doesn't whats missing, layout is only where you render it

  4. #4
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    Indeed, Gerry has it nailed. I often render a full scene from all the cameras I've placed and only after everything is in the editor do I decide when and where to do the cuts. Sometimes some of the cameras' renders don't end up being used but at least I have the option.

    That being said, I still believe one should review the basic rules before deciding which ones to break, and how. If the OP has no idea of blocking scenes they really should read some related material.
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    Gerry is absolutely right.. too many times I found myself fixing this and that, to get that render looking just right. When I really should have focused on making things work. In programming terms: Premature optimization is the root of all evil In your case, just keep doing camera movements (or whatever else you want) and soon enough you'll find out what works for your personal style. There is no right and wrong as such.
    Last edited by MichaelT; 01-17-2017 at 05:21 PM.

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    You might also take a look at this page:

    http://www.mediacollege.com/video/shots/

    which gives names to various camera shots. If you can find YouTube videos that are compelling to you, you might try writing down the names of the shots in sequence (using stop / start as necessary) and then replicate sequences you find favorable.

    I'm *definitely* no expert, but one trick that I've used is to ask the question: "WHO is the camera?" for each camera angle / motion. Is it a participant in a conversation? Is it a passerby or casual observer overhearing / spying on events? Is it a "fly on the wall" with a really close-up secret perspective? Is it an all-seeing overlord of some sort? Is it an eagle in the sky seeing the "whole scene"? Is it a mouse on the floor in awe of the "bigger world"? WHO is the camera?

    Having an "harmonious" sequence of camera moves is like dancing: it goes from big to small, from intimate to distant, from fast and frenetic to slow and elegant. But not too much!

    But in all cases, IMO, *keep it simple*. One of my primary complaints about modern CGI creations is the camera isn't supposed to be a part of the action (except in the "participant" scenarios described above). HOLD THE CAMERA STILL! Old-school cinematographers spent a LOT of effort making smooth, elegant motions which didn't detract from "the action", which is what's going on *in front* of the camera. Modern CGI directors sure seem to love throwing the camera around in all sorts of "impossible" moves. Again, *who* is the camera and what is their involvement in the scene?

    As always, just my amateur, hobbyist opinion.

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    When I first started making animated shorts for advertising clients I would run my drafts past a friend who used to be an AD for a Madison Avenue agency. He was direct, brutal, but very helpful with my n00b self and my total lack of knowledge of camera work. One of the first blunders I made was forgetting that my virtual cameras were (at least somewhat) supposed to mimic the behavior of the real things, and that crazy movements and ignoring cardinal tenets (like the 180 degree rule) might be possible but posed a risk of disconcerting (and alienating) the viewer.

    It's great, grand and wonderful to break "the rules" with happy glee, but one might also want to consider the viewer and what they'll let you get away with—unless you aren't trying to hit a target audience, in which case rip the rule book into bloody bits and use it to fertilize your imagination!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonroePoteet View Post
    One of my primary complaints about modern CGI creations is the camera isn't supposed to be a part of the action (except in the "participant" scenarios described above). HOLD THE CAMERA STILL! Old-school cinematographers spent a LOT of effort making smooth, elegant motions which didn't detract from "the action", which is what's going on *in front* of the camera. Modern CGI directors sure seem to love throwing the camera around in all sorts of "impossible" moves. Again, *who* is the camera and what is their involvement in the scene?
    Agreed. Not only CGI, though. The current kewl thing with film and video is to constantly jiggle/wiggle the camera, as if to indicate that you, the voyeur on the other side of the screen are somehow in the scene and ducking around... or whatever their justification is for it. More than likely, it is to keep the attention of an increasingly ADD inflicted audience that has to have constant stuff going on or they lose focus and fall asleep. Annoying as hell and I hope it goes out of style soon.
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  9. #9
    What has happened actually has been a trend with the shrinking size/mobility of cameras and advanced rigging. The history of the camera is an interesting one which stretches back before sound when cameras where smaller and mobile. Sound necessitated a huge box be put on around a camera to block out its sound. Many cinematographers complained that sound killed the art of film. And initially it did. It took a number of years before technical advances made the camera mobile again. Coming up to the present, with ever-shrinking cameras and advanced rigging it is possible to get shots only dreamed of before. Especially with the advent of RC quad drones, completely eliminating the need for a full size aircraft for arial shots. And you can put a camera on one of those and turn a nice crane shot from a residential street or even back yard, up through the trees and into a wonderful arial shot. Shots that would be impossible with a full size chopper years before.

    So the roll of the camera and how it can be used has always been changing and evolving.

    A camera has not been a mere spectator since the early days of sound, and it killed cinematography, because it killed camera motion and positioning.

    The camera is as much of an element of story telling as is the action. Hitchcock probably is one of the masters of this. He considered his camera as more important than the actor. And instructed all of his actors that his camera and his shots/angles/movements came first. He was telling his story with pictures.

    Spielberg on the other hand, while influenced no doubt by Hitchcock in many ways, prefers to allow the audience to focus on what they choose, by offering lots of long running wide shots.

    Learning cinematography just like anything is many fold:

    1) Study the theory, history and context of technique
    2) Watch a lot of films and study how the camera is used
    3) Study filmmaking basics
    4) Practice these techniques and do it a lot

    (not always in this exact order of course)

    Rinse and repeat.

    1-4 all with a mind to using the camera to tell your story.

    A bonus is to get a hold of interviews of Hitchcock, Spielberg and others who's work you admire. These people have discussed their techniques and reasoning.

    Some resources:

    Probably the most definitive work on camera:

    https://www.amazon.com/Five-Cs-Cinem.../dp/187950541X

    http://www.austincc.edu/sfarr/online...Camera-5Cs.pdf

    A great long series of interviews with Hitchcock where he talks about each of his films in technical details up to 1962. About story technique and so on.

    https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Alfr...aut_(Aug/1962)

    While listening to this series I was able to find most of his older films online, the newer ones I had on DVD. So I watched the films and listened to the interviews concurrently.

    Then you can google for Hitchcock interviews and lectures. Listen to them all, I recommend.

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    Last edited by Surrealist.; 01-17-2017 at 11:00 PM.

  10. #10
    In some sense I think this is an impossible question to answer as it is simply too broad a question. My only tip to edits is (these rules can be broken) always try to cut on an action, for example if we cut to someone walking into the room, they are already partly in the room on the cut, because the idea is to hide the edits and if we start with a still of a door, that gets noticed, whereas a door with someone coming through it is an action that hopefully flows into the next shot. But of course, in the world of motion graphics, it could be that you don't want to hide the edits, you might want to make them stand out or be popping with the music. The other rule, never confuse the viewer. Ask yourself the question, why am I changing to this camera angle? But no one can answer this question, just get to work.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by djwaterman View Post
    But no one can answer this question, just get to work.
    QFA. In the end, this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerry_g View Post
    watching stuff, studying stuff etc is the equivalent of mental procrastination/constipation, just set up some quick moves, whatever comes to mind, don't think too hard about it or how its all going to work just do it and then render of a whole bunch of low res non AA sequences, then hop into the editor of you choice and start seeing what works because thats when it will hit you, the edit is where it all gets figured out what works what doesn't whats missing, layout is only where you render it
    Hey, that the best advice! You just kicked me in the pants!

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    You guys after giving such a detailed and helpful instruction i am afraid to ask a foolish question and it is as follow.

    Is this much technical precision necessary for logo animation or simple motion graphics scene?

    Please don't get me wrong, i am definitely ready to invest time and money to do all the necessary stuffs but it seems that your answers are aimed at character animation which is supposed to tell story and requires much more attention to camera work.

  14. #14
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    The pain-in-the-***** answer is that every animation tells a story—or it should. Even a 10-second flying logo spot needs a story to tell, albeit a brief one.

    My suggestion: always keep the camera moving, but don't overdo it. That's a nice balancing act but you'll know it when you see it. Don't be static or boring, the audience has the attention span of a gnat.

    What do you want them to see? Picture that in your minds' eye first, then put your cameras where you need to make that happen.
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  15. #15
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    Here's a quick example of a flying logo job I did last year. I broke my own rule by letting the camera settle to a stop, but by then the flying sprite is stealing the show and the water keeps moving, so no boring static pauses.



    I wanted the audience to see the lake, and the associated scenery, and then let the logo insert itself into that scene. Blessing by association.
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