Home     Courses     Enroll     FAQ     About


Camera movement can be a powerful means of visual expression for the film director when executed properly. Specifically, it can be used to heighten tension or satisfy curiosity in the audience, depending on objectives of the scene.

The secret to its success is in moving the camera at the right time and in such away that it does not call attention to itself. This is achieved by having the camera mimic the experience of human vision in response to curiosity or a need to know.

For example, when you are curious about something, you naturally move closer for a better look. Likewise, if you are too close, you may step backwards or sideways to get a more revealing view.

When the camera is moved to capture these experiences, the audience accepts the movement because they are unaware that it is happening. 

To be effective, camera movement must be timely and unobtrusive.

Obviously, on some level, the audience knows that they are watching a film. At the same time, however, if the film is to be successful, they must be so emotionally evolved in the story unfolding on screen that they suspend awareness (known as "suspension of disbelief").

When camera movement is inappropriate in its timing or slickness, it brings the audience out of their reverie, making them again aware that they are watching a film. This destroys the expressive qualities of the camera movement and ruins the illusion that they are watching reality unfold.

Aspiring filmmakers must always remember that 'story' is first and foremost. Directing and cinematography techniques must be applied only to this end.

When the audience is impressed with a moving shot (especially when they take note of it while watching the film), the shot has lost its usefulness to the scene and exists only for its own sake.  -

Copyright © Film School Online!