These are some of the greatest camera moves ever recorded on film.
It has been about six months, but CineFix is back with the latest installment of their Best Shots of All Time series. While previous videos showed us the very best in shot size, shot types, and establishing shots and cutaways, Part 4 explores the wonders of camera movement. From pans and tilts to rolls and pushes, we get to see how some of history's greatest auteurs cleverly moved the camera to communicate in new and exciting ways with their audiences.
The subject matter in this installment of the series, in my opinion, is the most accessible and palatable, because everyone loves a good camera move. Whether it's Wes Anderson's signature whip pans or the knockout dutch tilt in Creed, audiences love the showmanship of a kinetic camera. However, the moves that earned a place on CineFix's list are a lot more subdued and subtle than the examples shown throughout the video.
For example, the pans in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window are absolute masterpieces in that they work on so many levels of the art form, but the top pick comes from the battle scene in Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Yes, it's simple, but it's actually the simplicity of it that makes it work so well, because in the chaos of battle, a basic pan not only reveals the true scale of the tumultuous landscape but it also helps to communicate the speed in which the samurai are maneuvering their strikes against the bandits.
This video, as well as the others in the series, are fantastic at teaching filmmakers how powerful the visual language of film truly is. A basic camera movement, the size of a shot, or a simple over the shoulder are not creative choices that should be made arbitrarily or for the sole purpose of making an image aesthetically pleasing. These stylistic choices communicate so many things to your audience, and getting familiar with how other filmmakers have brilliantly used them to tell stories will help you as you design your next shot.