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Photography Tricks: Essential Camera Movements For Filmmaking!

camera movements for filmmaking

Anyone can hold a camera and press the shutter but when it comes to the tricky parts, only the pro ones can win the trophy. Camera movements are one of those tricky parts that separate a pro from a noob.

Have you ever wanted to know how those skilled cinematographers and moviemakers get such incredible shots? What’s the trick to all that awesome camerawork?

If you want to reach the top in the photography/videography field, keep reading this guide on essential camera movements for filmmaking and learn some amazing tricks.

Essential Camera Movements For Filmmaking

essential camera movements for filmmaking

Before we jump to our main topic, allow me to discuss briefly what camera movements are and what are they used for.

What Is Camera Movement?

A camera movement, in simplest terms, is a filmmaking strategy that explains how a camera needs to move around to benefit from getting the best visual effects and to enhance the scene you shoot.

Particular camera movements modify the perspective of the viewer without having to cut; they can be an excellent way to create a more impactful and engaging video.

You may not be able to monitor what kind of clips you receive when it gets to User-Generated Films. Many of these moves, fortunately, can be introduced in post-production.

What are the Camera Movements Used for?

Camera movement can be used for a variety of purposes.

By grabbing attention to particular aspects of the shot, it can serve to develop sentiments or suspense.

Camera movement can add a great deal of significance to your videos by modifying and influencing the viewpoint of the audience on a shot. Before incorporating the zooms and tilts (or other such effects), it’s important to recognize how your public perceives various types.

Different Types of Camera Movement in Filmmaking

You probably got to hear the concept of “camera movement,” but did you know how many forms of camera movements exist?

The answer is “A lot!”

Gone are the days when cameras had to stay still and a little movement would give blurry and unfocused results. Technology has progressed and advanced cameras have been introduced so about any kind of shot is now doable.

It entirely depends upon you as a filmmaker to decide how artistic you desire your work to be by implementing unique strategies!

We are about to discuss a few basic camera movements for now. These are:

Pan Camera Movement

Pan Camera Movement

A pan is when your camera moves from one hand to the other.

Panning is highly applicable for disclosing a relatively large scene, such as a large group of people, or for revealing things off-screen. This motion employs an ongoing shot to display to the viewers what a single static camera cannot.

Panning can assist you in determining the position of a scene or allow you to follow a moving subject. This type of camera work can also enable you to disclose details that were previously hidden off-screen.

For instance, if an armed intruder appears in a club scene, you can build suspense by panning to disclose their involvement rather than using a quick cut.

Tilt Camera Movement

Tilt Camera Movement

If you tilt a camera, you alter the viewing angle without shifting the horizontal path. Although the camera stays steady, you have power over the angular position at which it is pointed.

This vertical movement allows you to squeeze more into a single shot. Tilting the camera also enables you to expose a subject that wasn’t previously visible on screen, giving a sense of surprise to the episode you’re creating.

Zoom Camera Movement

Zoom Camera Movement

Zooming is a technique for attention on a particular subject of the shot and is widely used to transition from a long shot to a close-up in the scene being filmed.

There are many clever methods to utilize this camera movement, for instance, you can zoom in on a corpse until it suddenly opens its eyes to create a sense of horror, or you can zoom out of a scene to transition back to another scene in any other location.

Tracking Camera Movement

Tracking Camera Movement

A ‘tracking shot’ is the choice of camera movement where the camera travels along with the subject being recorded. Tracking shots are similar to dolly shots, although they can be distinguished by the direction they follow.

As the object moves, tracking shots will simply follow it all along the horizontal plane. You’ve definitely seen those walking scenes in which the camera just follows the subjects as they walk to create a beautiful scene.

Tracking shots are also useful for displaying a piece of highway or landscape.

Dolly Camera Movement

Dolly Camera Movement

A ‘dolly shot’ happens when the camera moves against or far from the subject being photographed. Rather than using the zoom to get nearer, the camera moves in comparison to the object being filmed.

Slowly pushing in with a dolly can enable you to build suspense or tension in a film, or merely give the subject it’s heading some relevance.

Following Camera Movement

Following Camera Movement

The ‘following shot’is a technique in which the camera needs to follow the subject’s acts in real time.

Steadicams and gimbals prove to be most useful when it comes to accomplishing a smooth and impeccable following shot. Wobbly, hand-held shots, on the other side, convey a sense of unease.

Long following shots, when done correctly, are extremely amazing and captivating film feats.

Pedestal Camera Movement

Pedestal Camera Movement

Unlike adjusting the camera’s viewpoint, a pedestal movement flows the whole camera upwards or downwards on a pedestal. During this whole movement, the camera remains fixed on a single point.

When you “pedestal up,” you are raising the camera and when you “pedestal down,” you’re lowering it.

This movement works best when photographing a tall person or object. To use it efficiently, raise or lower the camera on a tripod in relation to the subject.

What is the best way to learn camera movements?

If your heart is in it, you can learn every camera movement or even invent your own!

If you’re a beginner, it is understandable if you are confused about where to start.

But, if you’ve gained enough knowledge from this article, it should be easier to learn the technique from YouTube videos, by joining filmmaking classes/courses, or by following a mentor.

In my opinion, having a guru is the best way to learn any skill in the best way.

Wrapping up

Camera Movements can be very helpful in adding different effects to a scene to make it more appealing.

From panning to following, every movement has its unique impact on the depth of the film; it all depends on the creativity of the eye behind the camera.

However, it is good to learn where to move the camera and where to keep it static. Moving it too much might disturb the viewers.

Other Guides On Photography Tips

YouTube Video Ideas: The Ultimate List
Top 10 Composition Tips In Photography
10 Common Photography Mistakes And How To Avoid Them?
The Best Digital Photography Tips For Everyone From Beginners To Experts

About the author

Erick Rowan

Hi, this is Erick. I can't resist testing Laptops, Gaming PCs, and cameras. Being a photographer and gamer, I am always eager to try something. I am reviewing and helping people for almost 7 years with my experience with the mentioned technologies and I'll keep doing this till the end.


  • Superb information. I am always working on taking the best shot whenever I visit the tourist spots. Currently, I am working on camera movements for filmmaking and I found this article a sigh of relief when it comes to filmmaking.

    A big thumbs up!

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