There are a lot of ways to make your footage look more cinematic, like lighting, set design, and costuming. Great camera movement can also do wonders, but you might need some tools to pull it off.
Neumann Films has listed 5 key pieces of gear that have helped them pull off more professional, cinematic-looking camera moves in the video below:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvjuSVww_TI
Okay, so maybe you're not a fan of the specific brands that they listed. That's fine. The important thing here is this: if you're a beginner who doesn't know your way around camera gear, Neumann Films lists 5 basic tools that 1.) you should definitely know about, and 2.) might be useful to you when it comes time to shoot.
So, here they are (minus the actual brands):
- a shuttle system (cable cam)
- a crane (jib)
- a motion-controlled slider
- a dolly
- a drone
Each of these tools offers something different. A slider is going to give you those subtle movements that are perfect for adding a little kinetic energy to an otherwise static scene. Your classic dolly is almost a necessity on set for all of your push-ins, pull-outs, and tracking shots. And drones — they've basically taken over the world (of filmmaking) and have made aerial shots accessible to any filmmaker, no helicopter rentals required.
My one critique to this list, however, is that given their accessibility and lower price point these days, I'd say that gimbals should be added to the list, because although these other tools have tons of capabilities, especially when it comes to capturing different perspectives, aerial shots, and subtle moves, they don't allow you to move freely the way a gimbal does.
In the end, though, if I had to pick just a couple of tools to bring with me on a shoot, I would choose a dolly and a crane. They are usually cheap to buy/build, easy to use, and will probably get the most use anyway. But don't think that you have to just go out and buy thousands of dollars on camera gear. Look around you and see what you can use, especially when it comes to sliders and dollies: shopping carts are free — kind of, shoot with rollerskates/skateboards, carefully shoot from a car, wheelchairs are great, office chairs — not so much. Cranes though, are a little bit more tricky. I bought a crane back in college for a few hundred bucks and though it had its flaws (did I mention it was only a few hundred bucks?), it helped me capture some of my favorite shots.
Which tools would you recommend for camera movement? What are your favorite DIY solutions for these tools? Let us know in the comments below!