Ever since the dawn of motion pictures, cameramen everywhere have tried to create ways to make the shot more interesting, more compelling, more dynamic. Keeping the video moving is a great way to keep viewers engaged.
A tripod it good, essential even and believe me, you can live or die by the tripod you use, but what I’m talking about is moving the camera through the shot.
As a director of photography I’m always trying to make the shot the best it can be with whatever budget we have. If our client has next to no budget, I still try to create movement, even if it’s using some homemade dolly that rolls on a ten foot length of pvc pipe. But when there is some money there, I always use a doorway dolly, jib or stedicam. Even handheld can convey a particular mood.
My favorite is the jib. Especially when it comes to a big establishing shot. In my opinion, nothing is more beautiful than a well thought out, sweeping establishing shot that whisks the viewer into the action. So much emotion is conveyed by how the camera moves.
It’s not just the big shots, when shooting interviews I love to use a real slow dolly move, back and forth, just letting the shifting background make the shot way more interesting than just a talking head.
Now, I don’t want to take away from the good ol’ lock down shot. Sometimes you got to let the action speak for itself, but as a rule begin looking for way to keep the camera moving and take your production to the next level.