Camera movements are an important tool for bringing visual storytelling to life. Whether it&s a dolly shot, a tracking shot, or a zoom shot, a simple scene can be transformed into an electrifying moment through any of these means. In this half-hour video essay, we will demonstrate all types of camera movements in film using examples from well-known films, and it will also explain what function they have in film, how they are technically implemented, and what effect each has on the viewer.
The first thing that will be covered is the static shot, which is the absence of any camera movement - it is perfect for dialogue scenes or when the actor&s performance needs to be emphasized. A camera pan (Pan), on the other hand, is a good choice when a context or setting needs to be revealed or tension needs to be built. A whip pan can be a dynamic way to move between characters in a scene or between different scenes. Tilting the camera (tilt) is typically used to introduce characters or show the size and scope of a location.
Push-in or pull-out is used to either connect or disconnect the audience from a character or situation. A zoom shot is technically not a camera move, as it is a function of the lens enlarging or reducing the image - combined with a dolly camera move can create an impressive and cinematic camera move, the famous dolly zoom - it compresses or stretches the background around the subject, creating an atmospheric and powerful camera move. By means of a camera roll, i.e. when the camera turns sideways once around it, the world is literally turned upside down.
Tracking shots lead or follow the subject and can be used in a variety of situations. When the camera follows parallel to the subject, it is called a trucking shot. When the camera circles the subject (arc shot), it can convey the feeling that the character is circled or heroic - depending on the staging. A boom shot is a vertical camera movement that can be quite subtle or epic, for example, in the form of a crane shot. The last camera movement is a handheld camera with random shaking and/or seemingly arbitrary zooms, it is used to stage a kind of documentary realism.
Thanks to YouTube&s new chapter navigation, it&s also easy to go directly to the individual sections on a particular camera movement.