Camera range, POS and Steadycam

The hand-held camera, point of view and the steadycam, are techniques to be quite similar, but each with specific features that can justify the use of one rather than the other by the director of a film.

The hand-held camera

In a motion hand-held camera, the camera is not fixed to a tripod, but directly carried by the camera operator. The movement is thus that of the operator. This gives an immense freedom but leads very often to an image rather unstable. The movement in the camera range allows the developer to create a malaise, an uncertainty in the viewer. The effect is all the more significant if the plan in hand-held camera is used in contrast with one or more fixed plans.

In addition to its benefits dramaturgic to some, the plan camera also has the advantage of requiring very little equipment, the machinery being overridden by the operator. This can be very useful for the realization of amateur films or small budget, provided you do not overly abuse it and only use it when it enhances actually the sequence.

Example – saving private Ryan by Steven Spielberg

The steadycam

This technique is based on a system similar enough to the camera, if not is that the camera is attached to the operator using a harness. Freedom, therefore, is equally important. The difference in the effect rendering is quite significant. Using the Steadycam, the rendering is a lot less nervous, less unstable. The movement is more fluid, as if the camera were floating in space. While the hand-held camera can create discomfort, express a feeling of difficulty, the Steadycam, by this effect of levitation, allows the contrary to suggest the ease. It can also create the impression of a dream.

Example – ‘Elephant’ of Gus Van Sant

Go a step further, The POS

The POS (Point Of View) is not a movement in itself, but rather a technical narrative that can be expressed using a hand-held camera, Steadycam see a dolly shot.

The director will use these movements to reveal to the viewer the point of view of a character or an object. What the viewer will see on the screen represents exactly what the character sees. This technique is ideal for creating identification with the character. Rather it can also be used to create an anxiety in the viewer, the atmosphere threatening.

Example – Halloween, John Carpenter

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