Exploring camera movement
When you film, the camera doesn't to be completely still or stay in a fixed position. Sometimes still or 'static' shots are great, other times it's worth experimenting with different camera movements to make a scene more visually engaging. Different camera movements can also have an effect on how the audience experiences the film, some shots might help them feel involved in the action, others might make them feel detached. Some types of camera movement might have a calming effect, others might help the audience feel panicked or confused.
Suitable for year levels: 5-10
Learning areas: Drama, English, Media & Media Arts, Technologies, Arts
Capabilities: Creative and critical thinking, Personal and social capabilities
Static is not exactly a movement, in fact it indicates that the camera should not move. The reason we've included it though is because you might see 'static' listed in a shot list under camera movement, so it's useful to know about.
A camera pan is where the camera turns horizontally left to right, or right to left. A pan can be used to follow something or someone (a character, a vehicle, a rolling ball, whatever) or sometimes to reveal something, or turn the audience's attention away from something. So the camera could pan and reveal a location, or some action that is taking place, rather than showing the audience immediately. There are a variety of ways you can use it.
See the gif below, and observe how the camera pans both left and right, in order to follow the vehicle. Notice too that the camera position doesn't change, as its most likely on a tripod.
A camera tilt is where you move the camera whilst filming from angled down to angled up, or angled up to angled down. Like a pan, a tilt shot can reveal something, or draw the audiences attention away from something. You see a lot of tilt shots to show the scale of a building; starting at its base and tilting up until we see the top. Sometimes a tilt shot will start focused on something, then tilt up to the sky (this often happens at the end of movies and is a little bit cliched). You often see tilt shots at the start of films too, with the camera doing the opposite movement, beginning facing up at the sky before tilting down to the setting or action taking place.
Tracking shots are where the camera follows or moves with a character. This usually means having the camera off the tripod, with the camera operator holding the camera.
The camera can track a character by following them from behind, or the camera operator can walk backward and film a character as they walk forwards.
Some things to remember about tracking shots is you want the camera to still move smoothly and not shake and needs to keep the subject of the shot in focus. Also if you're camera operator is walking backwards to get a forward-facing tracking shot, someone should help them not trip over anything!