You have heard that your friends who have studied cinema television or worked on movie sets use many expressions such as pan, tilt, dolly or mesopan when talking about the camera movements of a movie. In order not to be alien to dialogues such as “You cannot believe that the camera is making an arc movement while bullets are on the Neo in Abi Matrix” and when shooting movies, you need to learn these 8 basic camera movements literally.
Since directional words such as more or less back and forth are insufficient to describe the camera movement, a separate definition has been created for each movement. Come to these terms, which are divided into 2, let’s look closely together.
A- The movements made by changing the position or viewpoint of the camera with the help of the camera and connected apparatus.
1) Pan (Side flip)
2) Tilt (Up-down flip)
3) Pedestal (Changing the height of the camera from the ground)
4) Dolly (Moving the camera to the side)
5) Tracking (Moving the camera back and forth)
6) Arc (Moving the camera circularly)
B- While the camera is still, the movements made by playing with the bracelets in the lens
7) Sharpness shift
8) Zoom (Optical shift)
1- Pan Movement
Pan movement of the camera from right to left or left to right is called pan movement. It is expressed as pan from left to right and left to right when left to right. In this camera movement, the camera is fixed on a tripod, so the camera does not slide left or right or back and forth. If you turn the camera to the right or left while the camera is stationary, you will perform pan movement.
While panning, this movement is preferred in order to inform the audience about two interrelated elements and to relate these two elements to each other. For example; When you see a woman sitting on the bench panning to the right and showing her a woman who looks at you with interest, you show two interrelated characters in one plan. As can be seen from this example, you must set the first and last frames correctly in order to perform the right pan movement. For this reason, the starting frame and the last frame of the pan movement are very important for the pan. If there is too much gap between these two elements, the pan is not preferred, as the gap in between is not important for both the audience and the subject, it bores the viewer.
The speed of movement is also very important for you to perform pan movement correctly. If we make a very slow pan movement from the man sitting on the bench in the previous example to the woman who looks at him with interest, the audience will be bored and the tempo of the movie will drop a lot in that part. In other words, pan motion should be slow enough that details will not be lost, but brisk enough not to squeeze.
2- Tilt Movement
Tilt movement is the movement of the camera from top to bottom or bottom up. In this movement, the camera is fixed like a pan movement. Tilt is done if you move up and down without sliding forward, backward, right and left with the camera. If this movement is done from top to bottom, downward tilt is expressed as upward and upward.
In order to provide information about the details of the objects whose general view is known to everyone or shown in previous plans, to take a downward look (eye drain) with the eye of the person who knocked the door after the appearance of a woman opening the door after the appearance of her head when a woman opened the door or normal In order to show the surprise of a behavior that is not present (such as the woman at the door being naked), a tilt movement is performed for many purposes such as special effects or confusion.
For example, if the place where you want to give the information of a place is a large building such as a skyscraper, you can show the viewer in a plan by using a tilt movement or you can inform the audience that a situation will occur after a while by tilt down the face of a man and pointing the gun in his waist.
Let’s come to the movements of the camera by sliding. Pedestal technique is the upward or downward movement with the camera. The difference of this movement from the tilt technique is that the camera moves up or down on the vertical axis. For example, it is done to follow a person from their feet to their head without extending the frame. In order to perform the pedestal movement, the camera must be on the tool called pedestal or crane. With this tool, you can perform the pedestal movement. This movement is also called boom crane movement.
Let’s imagine we’re pulling a tall basketball player. We can inform the audience that he is facing a giant basketball player by performing the pedestal movement from the feet to the head level to show that his height is above normal.
The dolly or, in other words, sliding movement is a camera movement performed by moving the camera to the right or left within a rail or wheeled tripod. This shooting technique is frequently used in movies to follow a motion without changing the scale of the frame or to increase the tension.
On flat grounds, this movement can be achieved with a wheeled tripod or gimbal. This shooting method is provided in the healthiest way with a tripod placed on a rail.
Truck camera movement is the movement of the camera forward or backward on a rail or wheel. This shooting technique is used in motion tracking. The movement of the subject can be done in the opposite direction. In this way, the effect that the subject moves faster than it can be evoked. It is used not to enlarge or reduce the frame unnecessarily. When using this movement, we mostly center a dynamic object and keep the interest in the original object while its environment is constantly changing.
In order to perform this camera movement, a tripod or rail that can move back and forth should be used as in the dolly movement. Today, this movement is also provided with gimbal.
6- Arc (Circular)
The technique of performing a circular motion by centering a subject of the camera is called arc technique. In this shooting technique, the camera is placed on arc-shaped rails so that the camera can rotate around a 360-degree subject. Generally, the start and end frame is very important in this camera technique. therefore, by performing this movement, extra attention is paid to the starting and ending points.
–It is generally used to take an object and turn around to indicate the point where the object is in space and to give information about the location of the object.
It is the movement of the camera that rotates 360 degrees around the object to give information about every aspect of the object.
-It has a psychological effect when done slowly. When done fast, it suddenly takes the audience to a different dimension and surprises them.
It is a movement that is not used very often. However, it is impressive from other camera movements when it is made in place for its purpose.
7- Sharpness Shift (Mesopan)
When the camera is stationary, the motion that enables the transition from one subject to another by turning the sharpness ring of the lens is called mesopan. This shooting technique is used to focus our attention from one object to another or to establish / disrupt the relationship between the object and its surroundings. This movement is also called sharpening and sharpness shifting. In the video below, you will see the successful implementation of the sharpness shifting technique.
8- Zoom (Optical Shift)
In this camera movement, the camera is fixed. It is a camera movement created by moving the optical elements in the lens. It is provided with the help of lenses that the subject is kept in a fixed place and the image angle is enlarged or reduced without the need to move with the camera body.
In fixed angle lenses, this movement is not possible because the focal length is fixed. It is possible with variable-angle zoom lenses. In fact, zoom lenses are produced for the purpose of eliminating waste of time when sudden changes in angles are required, when the camera will change lenses frequently, and when many lenses cannot be moved. However, the zoom movement emerged with the directors who used this sudden angle change as a movement.