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UniqueAmI
03-13-2014, 10:56 AM
There's a precedent that's taken over movies and TV where the camera has to almost constantly be moving. If a person is talking the camera slowly moves in sentence by sentence. I have to say it's pretty damn annoying.

The other day I watched Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (Blanchett won Best Actress) and there was very little camera movement.

Old movies have very little camera movement. Silent movies had none.

It's great to want to do all the tricky things that film makers with budgets do. But, if you can put a camera on a tripod, get the right angle and have actors that can do exceptional work, you're five steps in front of everyone else.

My favorite moving camera story came from an actress on facebook who kept giving updates about a dolly shot on a NY street. It was literally 2 people walking, and they spent hours on this. They went so long, they lost the diner location they were suppose to shoot important footage in.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, remain within your bounds. Pretty shots don't make a movie, acting and story does.

Littlemonkey
03-13-2014, 11:06 AM
I agree but sometimes you have to have good shots such as if you're filming a fight scene you've got to get the angle right or it won't look good. But I totally agree with you that they do overuse camera movement.

Klay M Abele
03-13-2014, 11:43 AM
Haha I actually get annoyed when I see no camera movement for a while. I guess it depends on the movie/show itself and it's style. For example, I hate the way they shoot The Walking Dead, it feels to me very "Made for TV" where they primarily stick to tripod shots, even during action sequences.

I guess its all in taste and whether or not the scene calls for movement.

Anonymous Filmmaker
03-13-2014, 12:01 PM
I guess what I'm trying to say is, remain within your bounds. Pretty shots don't make a movie, acting and story does.

I mostly agree, but camera movement certainly makes movies a lot better. It is more visually appealing, which while doesn't make a movie on its own, it certainly contributes.

filmmaker6563
03-13-2014, 12:21 PM
There's a precedent that's taken over movies and TV where the camera has to almost constantly be moving. If a person is talking the camera slowly moves in sentence by sentence. I have to say it's pretty damn annoying.

Eh, it's something that audiences have gotten used to. Movement = action. Keeps the audience interested. This isn't something that has to do with filmmakers, but audiences. Audiences are used to MTV-style editing and fast-cutting. They're trying to appeal to an audience and make money - one of the main goals within the entertainment industry. You should use certain techniques when they should be used. Movement will usually add extra kinetic energy and a sense of action or anticipation. Slower, more thoughtful shots (such as in your later example, Blue Jasmine) suit the tone of that film because of the subject matter and tone that is trying to be conveyed. Really, I don't understand the point you are trying to make with moving cameras. Moving cameras can add action, excitement, anticipation, or can create tone. There are many films that would have been far, far less effective if not for moving camera. Many war films, action films, thriller films, horror films, science fiction films, really any type of film would have been less amazing or powerful if not for camera movement. There are also films that would have been less effective if for camera movement. Really, the point I am trying to get across is to use the techniques that best suit your film.


The other day I watched Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (Blanchett won Best Actress) and there was very little camera movement.

Blue Jasmine's reflective and thoughtful tone was well suited with the visual style that the film carried, which is as you stated, somewhat simplistic with little camera movement. But that's because that look suited the film. The opening scene to Saving Private Ryan would have been far less effective with little camera movement, as well as United 93. You choose certain looks and styles of camera filming in order to evoke certain moods. Should Captain Philips have been shot in the style of Blue Jasmine? NO! Because they are both different films unique in their own sense.


Old movies have very little camera movement. Silent movies had none.

That's because of the limitations that they had with the technology they were using. I can assure you Méličs would have experimented with moving around instead of tripod shots.


It's great to want to do all the tricky things that film makers with budgets do. But, if you can put a camera on a tripod, get the right angle and have actors that can do exceptional work, you're five steps in front of everyone else.

Again, it depends on what kind of film it is. It depends on what is most effective. In many situations, tripod shots may be far less effective than moving shots... and vice versa.


I guess what I'm trying to say is, remain within your bounds. Pretty shots don't make a movie, acting and story does.

No such thing as an "original" story... or even a good story. Every story that you can think of can be stripped of it's locations or certain small details, and you're sure to find hundreds of replicas of the story you are telling. There never will be, a truly unique story. The only thing that exists is unique execution of an old story that's been told over and over. You could take an average plot, and with amazing execution, make it into something great. Pretty shots CAN make a movie. Moonrise Kingdom, at it's core, is basically the story of two run-aways, and people who both want to help and hurt them. Sound familiar? Ever heard a story or seen a movie like that? But Wes Anderson's layers of less-than-subtle quirky stylization cover the film, and make it unique. Without his signature style, without those nice visuals, the film would have been something else entirely. Would Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? be remembered the same without it's unique and innovative look. Or what about Suspiria. Suspiria is one of my favorite Italian films, well, actually, one of my favorite films, and I'm not ashamed to say that the story isn't that great. Heck, the acting wasn't anything that wonderful. But man oh man, look at it.

http://tommygirard.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/suspiria11.jpg
http://www.rowsdowr.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/argento_suspiria-600x4001.jpeg

What I'm trying to say is that story is not necessarily the most important thing about a film, but rather the execution of that story. And when you make a film, don't use something because someone else doesn't like the technique or they didn't do it in another time period, but choose the most effective technique that suits your film. There's no one perfect style, and there's no answer to if you should move the camera or not. Do what works best for you, do whatever it takes to make your film the best it can be.

Klay M Abele
03-13-2014, 12:58 PM
Well put! I might also add, a moving camera, even at its most subtleness, adds parallax/depth to a scene.

UniqueAmI
03-13-2014, 02:57 PM
The point to this thread is that micro/no budget film makers feel the necessity to use camera movement, because they believe they need to. For many of the reasons mentioned here, especially the "young audience needing it" reason. They spend too much time worrying about "how to" instead of doing what they actually can. In the end, the product suffers for it.

Any budgeted flick can do whatever they want. Personally, I find constant camera movement annoying as sin. Of course during action sequences it's a necessity. But, when two people are talking and the camera moves left to right, right to left, in and out, it's worthless.

All the movies you mention have budgets. With a budget you can do anything, because you have everything at your disposal. You don't in the micro/no budget range. Which is the category most everyone here is in.

In the numerous experiences I've been privy to, actors and DPs will point to a few shots that ended up looking okay, and did nothing for the story or movie to enhance it. They just talk about the waste of time to get one or two shots. Which brings me to the last point, you say do what's best for your movie. Which is absolutely true. But, you're assuming the new film maker knows what is best for their movie.

filmmaker6563
03-13-2014, 07:16 PM
The point to this thread is that micro/no budget film makers feel the necessity to use camera movement, because they believe they need to. For many of the reasons mentioned here, especially the "young audience needing it" reason. They spend too much time worrying about "how to" instead of doing what they actually can. In the end, the product suffers for it.

The purpose of the thread was not stated in the OP, which is misleading. And I find that beginning filmmakers put emphasis on all sorts of things. Some put far too much emphasis on lighting, some put too much emphasis on VFX, for some it's distribution, and for others it's color grading. There are thousands (literally) of things that filmmakers could put too much focus on, and if we truly want to deliver information to people who are thirsty for knowledge and starting out, and best advice that could possibly be given is to get a good idea of each area of production, and try to do the best with what you have, not skipping over essential areas. In the original statement, you talk about how Blue Jasmine had little camera movement. True. Very True. But what if someone is interested in the exploration of another genre or overall style? Sure, a point can be made that camera movement is not necessary in all cases, but I find many of the points you are trying to make are invalid. I already went over Blue Jasmine and older films. Regarding your statement about the Facebook posts about the dolly, that is just a director with horrible time management and lack of professionalism. There are plenty of examples of films were shots take an incredibly long time, both for still and moving shots. Your statement about how pretty shots doesn't not make a movie, and story + acting does... not necessarily. I wasn't stating that I think that people should use camera movement to appeal to their target audience, but instead, stating that it's simply a technique used (for better or for worse) to make a film seem more exciting. I wasn't saying that I recommend you do it, but to explain to any new filmmakers that happen to stumble upon the thread one of the MANY reasons for why people will use handheld, and it's significance and purpose. I later went on to state that there are films that would have lost their effectiveness if shot statically. Filmmakers worrying about the "how to" is a confusing statement to me. Sure, filmmakers should think about how they are going to get their project done, and the techniques they are going to use (heck, they might even stress over it), isn't necessarily. I'm going to make the assumption that you mean that people will worry too much about obtaining enough knowledge and ability to use techniques such as moving cameras. Well, that's true, and that's an issue that often leads to procrastination and fear of just going out there and trying it out. Although that issue isn't all contributed to camera movement, there are plenty of areas that can be problematic and make filmmakers afraid of diving into the craft. VFX, sound work, editing, shooting, video resolution, lighting, directing actors, locations, even doing anything at all. I don't think that the product always suffers though. If a filmmaker is starting out, then there is a good chance the final product will fail regardless! Starting out, you just want to get a feel of how to put together something. Perhaps they might want to through in some techniques and begin to develop a directorial style, perhaps involving.... camera movement.


Any budgeted flick can do whatever they want. Personally, I find constant camera movement annoying as sin. Of course during action sequences it's a necessity. But, when two people are talking and the camera moves left to right, right to left, in and out, it's worthless.

Eh, can't agree with this. Camera movement has meaning. A shot that increasingly becomes closer to the characters can signify a growth in tension, or entrapment, or something wrong, or mental instability, or claustrophobia. A shot that slowly comes out can give a feeling of characters either being relived of tension, coming out of a situation, coming up with a solution, perhaps becoming deeply involved in their environment, or perhaps a friendlessness. Moving right to left can either have the head or other object in the frame visually block another part of the frame to ramp up tension, and moving left or right to get that object out of frame can give the film a feeling of less tension. Handheld camera movement, like I stated, is to keep action going. It can also be to create tension, or the feeling of something wrong, or the feeling of something about to happen, or the feeling of unease, or hatred, or brewing anger, or hidden secrets. Or sometimes people just choose those shots because they look pretty to the DP or director.


All the movies you mention have budgets. With a budget you can do anything, because you have everything at your disposal. You don't in the micro/no budget range. Which is the category most everyone here is in.

Didn't your movies have budgets as well? Blue Jasmine was shot for roughly 18 million dollars. Silent film directors had gear that the average joe couldn't get his hands on, not to mention the extravagant costumes, sets, and even SFX. But that doesn't even matter.. at all. Techniques, effects, and camera movement from films can now be produced on a low budget, without the need for millions of dollars. On a quick Youtube search, there are plenty of filmmaking instructors that can prove that. Camera movement can be achieved through making cheap $15 PVC DIY builds from Youtube, cheap gear such as the Spider Steady, and even camera tricks with tripods, DEVICES COMMONLY USED FOR THE KIND OF STILL SHOTS YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT (refer to The Basic Filmmaker or Film Riot if you want proof). You don't need a large budget to mimic the candy-colored madness of Suspiria or the handheld movement of Saving Private Ryan. It may not be as impressive, but if you are a dedicated person who puts effort into your work, you can achieve similar results. There are resources and technology out there that can help filmmakers starting out.


In the numerous experiences I've been privy to, actors and DPs will point to a few shots that ended up looking okay, and did nothing for the story or movie to enhance it. They just talk about the waste of time to get one or two shots.

Yeah, I know people that have been in similar situations as well. But that doesn't only apply to moving shots.


Which brings me to the last point, you say do what's best for your movie. Which is absolutely true. But, you're assuming the new film maker knows what is best for their movie.

Starting out, a filmmaker isn't going to produce great content, IMO. But there's plenty of time to learn all the little things that need to be learned. The best thing a filmmaker can do starting out is going out there and just making something... anything. It doesn't matter if there is movement or not, just something. They'll develop their styles and opinions along the way, and discover things themselves if they really care about their craft.

UniqueAmI
03-16-2014, 09:56 PM
I just wanted to go over a few things. There’s just way too much to go over everything.


The purpose of the thread was not stated in the OP, which is misleading.

1. Besides the site owner, this entire site is made up of micro/no budget film makers. I seriously doubt that the moral minority have spent over $20,000 on a full length feature. I haven’t even come close to spending that on my entire musical/film making career. I’ve recorded 4 albums and made 2 movies. So, putting in about micro/no budget is repeating the obvious. They’re the only ones seeing any of this.

2. We both agree that helping film makers make the best possible movie they can, should be our goal. I believe this thread is completely valid, because it’s one of the things that new film makers feel the necessity to do. It’s not. Yes, it does at times all the things you state. But, the majority of time it does nothing. If a viewer needs that constant moving to stay interested there’s two things 1) the story or acting sucks. In which case nothing will help. 2) They’re not worth having as a viewer. You shoot for the story, not the audience. If it doesn’t aid the story, omit it. If a film maker has the time to accomplish his moving shot, that’s great. If they don’t, they shouldn’t. If they want to practice moving shots, they should do it when there isn’t people waiting around wasting time.

3) All the things you mention that film makers do that they spend too much time on, is while they’re alone. Moving cameras is a production thing that eats time. Which is something that new film makers don’t have much of.

4. You wrote in your first post “Story is not necessarily the most important thing”. and you reiterated it here. Get that out of your head. Nothing is more important than story.

The following is about budgeted film makers. Do you think any film maker could raise capital if they believe the script is mediocre at best? Or if they think it sucks. Every film maker believes the movie they’re about to shoot is going to be gold. They couldn’t go in any other way. Some movies are great and others suck. But, no one goes in thinking this sucks. They all start at the same place with a script they believe in. Because story is the most important thing.

filmmaker6563
03-17-2014, 01:11 PM
1. Besides the site owner, this entire site is made up of micro/no budget film makers. I seriously doubt that the moral minority have spent over $20,000 on a full length feature. I haven’t even come close to spending that on my entire musical/film making career. I’ve recorded 4 albums and made 2 movies. So, putting in about micro/no budget is repeating the obvious. They’re the only ones seeing any of this.

Fair enough. I'll give you that one.


2. We both agree that helping film makers make the best possible movie they can, should be our goal. I believe this thread is completely valid, because it’s one of the things that new film makers feel the necessity to do.

Okay, well it's glad we agree that our goal is to help other filmmakers. While some new filmmakers feel that camera movement is a necessity, why does it matter? They're beginning filmmakers. By experimenting with certain techniques and ideas, they're developing their style and getting comfortable with how to make films. I don't think that we should limit them in terms of experimentation (something I believe is lacking the film industry).


It’s not. Yes, it does at times all the things you state. But, the majority of time it does nothing.

I find often times camera movement does something, not nothing <---- like the statement above, this is an opinion... no point in arguing our opinions, that's just fighting over person taste... which to me is pointless... I'm not saying that you're wrong, it's just pointless to argue this statement, IMO. ;)


If a viewer needs that constant moving to stay interested there’s two things 1) the story or acting sucks.

Well, not necessarily. Acting or story being horrible usually won't be made up for with camera movement. Camera movement is usually used to generate suspense, tension, action, or energy. Sometimes acting and story cannot provide that energy, so camera movement is used to assist the story and acting of the film, or to further push the tone and style of the film.


In which case nothing will help. 2) They’re not worth having as a viewer. You shoot for the story, not the audience. If it doesn’t aid the story, omit it. If a film maker has the time to accomplish his moving shot, that’s great. If they don’t, they shouldn’t. If they want to practice moving shots, they should do it when there isn’t people waiting around wasting time.

I think you do need to shoot with an audience. One of the biggest problems within the film industry is the fact that the large majority of indie films are not distributed and do not make money, or even make the money back that was spent. You need to have an audience and shoot for that audience so that you have people that will watch your work so that you can generate a profit and have a successful film if you are looking to be a filmmaker that makes his/her living off of his craft. Finding audiences is incredibly hard because of the scarily massive amount of indie films being made every year, slowly rising because of the progressive amount of availability of technology for filmmakers. To find an audience in the mass ocean of content being produced is amazing.


3) All the things you mention that film makers do that they spend too much time on, is while they’re alone. Moving cameras is a production thing that eats time. Which is something that new film makers don’t have much of.

That could be said about anything. Audio, lighting, finding locations, and acting. But if each one of them have more time and perhaps even money or focus put into them - you usually come out with a higher quality product.


4. You wrote in your first post “Story is not necessarily the most important thing”. and you reiterated it here. Get that out of your head. Nothing is more important than story.

If you were to take a film, and strip perhaps the setting, specific characteristics of characters, etc. etc. etc., you could find that it is has been told literally thousands, perhaps millions, of times. Because every film is an old idea executed in a new way. If you strip a stories meat from it and are left with the bones, I'm almost sure that you'll find a story that has been told hundreds of times, perhaps with some variation on it, different settings and backstories of characters, etc. There is no such thing as an original, or even good or bad story, there is only good, bad, or original execution of an old story. Even a film as horrible as say... Troll 2... had a good story, but horrible execution. It's my opinion the film could have been a hilarious and campy horror/comedy in the vein of Dead Alive or Bad Taste. I could take a film as great as say... Citizen Kane... and I could make a film with unbelievable performances and horrid cinematography... I'm sure people wouldn't be praising the film as it was praised today. When you get down to it, there are really no good stories or bad stories... there are only good or bad executions of, just, STORIES.


The following is about budgeted film makers. Do you think any film maker could raise capital if they believe the script is mediocre at best? Or if they think it sucks. Every film maker believes the movie they’re about to shoot is going to be gold. They couldn’t go in any other way. Some movies are great and others suck. But, no one goes in thinking this sucks. They all start at the same place with a script they believe in. Because story is the most important thing.

Filmmakers can make money knowing they have horrible scripts or knowing that they're not shooting gold. Sometimes filmmakers just want to make some cash, and if they have a clever distribution plan with a target audience, they can make a successful film. That's why so many crap indie films become successful. Think "Troma" or "Creep Creepersin".

And to your last statement about story being the most important belief, as I already stated, it is the execution of that story.

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Also, I hope that you're not angry or anything... or feeling hostility or anything. Not that you've exhibited that, it's just that it's hard to understand what people are really thinking over the internet. Just hoped that we're both just having a friendly debate for the benefit of any beginners that stumble upon the thread.