This is a small and quick guide to the types of shots and cameras involved in the post-production of films.
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Step 1: Types of Cameras
There are many types of cameras used in "big" movie productions, for this instructable we will be talking about only a few.
Types Of Cameras:
- Trolley Cam
- Steadicam (Mo-flo)
- Crane (wooster sherlock)
Trolley Cam: not covered in this instructable
A trolley cam is any camera that is rigged to a platform that is free to move because of wheels. Trolley cams are generally used for faster moving shots, or for shots where the camera is turning. These cameras are used to maintain a steady motion, for dialog or action scenes that sometimes steadicams can lack.
A trolley cam is usually manned by two people, one is the cameraman and the other is the person who directs the trolley. A trolley is also good for wide shots of a whole area, where the angle and the p.o.i is moving.
Also can be used for wide overview shots of an area, but the angle of the shot is stationary. Good for pans and turning shots and for driving scenes. Good for stationary angles of indoor scenes because of its "steady state" and ability to lock in place. The tripod is the camera of choice for most dialog scenes especially if they are in smaller areas.
Steadicam can be used for all types of moving, changing angle and speedy shots. They are extremely useful is the camera is moving at constant velocity, for POV shots, on stairs and in small enclosed spaces. The camera maintains it center of gravity by adjusting as it tilts and turns, making it good for moving shots.
The Crane is extremely useful for overhead shots, sweeping pans overview pan, wide downward shots and for wide shots of entire rooms. Also can be used for following a person who is walking around in a room, and for "fly-by shots".
Step 2: Crane Image Positions
As illustrated below the crane is extremely useful for fly by shots or when an actor is walking around the room from a distance and you want to follow him as he moves. Crane produces a steady and extremely smooth sweeping motion when flying through a scene.
The crane is also useful for office spaces where there are desks in the way where normally would you place a tripod. Since the crane has extended reach and can film from above you can film over obstacles without moving furniture around.
Crane is an ideal choice for congested rooms, flybys and overviews shots an entire scene. The cranes overview shots are a nice filler for scenes that you think may need extra cuts.
Step 3: Steadicam Image Positions
Like the crane the Steadicam is used for in closed spaces, that either have limited space or a lot of obstructions. With the Steadicam you are not limited to where you move, because the camera is hand held. It is ideally used for following someone who is walking up stairs or for scenes with dialog.
Steady cam is good for when you want to follow people as they leave the scene or when you want a shot of you enter the middle of the room and panning. The Steadicam can be used to add a more dynamic shot in, unlike one from a tripod. When filming dialog in one sequence using two steadicams is ideal because you can film over the shoulder of each person without making cuts or having the other camera in the shot. Also if you have scenes with people talking and you want to make them not so.. "boring or static" then use a Steadicam and have the actors walk and talk.
Step 4: Tripod Image Positions
Tripod positions are very common in all scenes. They are used to gain perspective on the locations of actors and key props. For static dialog (boardroom meeting) tripod can be used and if the feel of the scene is serious and you want exterm steadiness, then tripods are the proper tools to use.
Tripod placements are very important because you want the tripod to be active during the entire scene without being in the shot. You want to make sure that the tripod can pan across and film for the entire sequence. With camera men everywhere it becomes hard to know where to ideally place the tripod camera.
1. Make sure the tripod is place in such a way that it can pan across the key points of interest in a scene without getting another camera in the shot. (corners are good places)
2. Make sure that the tripod will not end up in the shot during the entire sequence.
3. Make sure the tripod is in the appropriate placement for shots (camera clips are not disrupted by lighting or bad sound). using a boom mic and making sure your lighting is good will prevent this.