July 12, 2016

7 Handheld Shots That Will Help Make Your Film Look More Cinematic

A gimbal isn't much use if you don't know what to do with it.

In this episode of 4 Minute Film School, Aputure's Ted Sim talks with Casey McBeath, a professional gimbal operator, about seven basic camera moves you can do with your gimbal to make your shots look more cinematic. Check it out below.

 

Here are the seven camera movements mentioned in the video:

  • The push in/pull out
  • The boom shot
  • The truck/dolly shot
  • The follow/lead shot
  • The orbit
  • The rotate
  • The tilt

Though McBeath talks specifically about camera moves for gimbals, I think they work with all handheld moves as well, whether they be shot with sleds, monopods, full arm and vest systems, or even no stabilizer at all. 

The purpose, though, of learning about all of these kinds of shots is not just to have an arsenal of fancy camera moves. It's to understand how they can be used to tell your story. For instance, after gimbals came out in 2013, it seemed as though 90% of music videos, shorts, and promotional videos were made up of orbit shots, but many times those orbit shots seemed a little out of place or superfluous because they didn't serve the story—a classic "Just because you can doesn't mean you should" thing.

But McBeath explains the psychological effects of each shot, as well ideal occasions in which to use them in your projects. So, test them out, practice them, and make up new one to help make your story more interesting to watch.      

Your Comment

11 Comments

nice tips!!! tkx for share
the push in for me slowly, is one of my favorite camera positions.
If show objects like in the example, perfect
#interaktfilms

July 12, 2016 at 11:34PM

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interaktfilms
D.P.
111

The morph cut near the end of that clip, was pretty horribly noticable.

Good tips tho.

July 13, 2016 at 11:29AM

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Yep, its glaring. The editor could have done a split edit; kept McBeath on left of frame, and advanced Ted's footage on right of frame. The end result would have been the same but without the nasty distortion.

July 14, 2016 at 4:20PM

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Dave Patterson
Preditor (producer/editor)
182

In out, pan, tilt, orbit, rotate... So... basically any shot that you can do with a combination of handheld, dollies, jibs, cranes, drones, tripods, monopods, bungie cords, wires in general, steadycams...

I... have to say... I am a bit underwhelmed by the revelations here.

July 13, 2016 at 12:47PM

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Johan Malmsten
Movie-Worker
15

same here

July 14, 2016 at 4:26AM

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Sahil Ahuja
Director
16

the cost of "a combination of handheld, dollies, jibs, cranes, drones, tripods, monopods, bungie cords, wires in general, steadycams..." vs. the cost a gimbal...hmmm....doesnt take a genius. Gimbals are everywhere and many people buying them have no filmmaking experience. Clearly the video is geared towards beginners so to speak...but it also highlights the versatility of this relatively inexpensive purchase by being able to achieve shots that would normally take a van load of equipment to pull off (as you pointed out).

July 21, 2016 at 8:14PM

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Kerrin McLean
Director / DP / Editor
203

I thought the whole point of no film school attitude is that you have the vision and the understanding of how a shot can convey an emotion.

What's the point in just being like, this character is of significance, as is the emotion they are conveying... push in

July 14, 2016 at 7:33AM

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7 handheld shots, or 7 GIMBAL shots? Totally misleading headline. Worse, it makes the author look like she doesn't understand the difference.

July 16, 2016 at 5:05PM

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Edmund Lloyd
Cinematographer/Director
306

Totally agree, I came here like "oh, handheld, how nice" and then... Gimbals.

August 7, 2016 at 3:54AM

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every motion has a purpose

July 18, 2016 at 7:45PM

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Alfred Cox
Writer / Director
142

or at least every motion SHOULD have a purpose.

August 7, 2016 at 12:08PM

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Ian Reid
Director of Photography
23

September 9, 2016 at 12:30PM

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