Camera Movements: Seven Essential Movements



In, When To Move The Camera During Filmmaking: There’s Only 3 Reasons, we highlighted the three reasons for moving the camera. However, there are many camera movements to be considered when it comes to moving the camera. In this post, Camera Movements: 7 Essential Movements, we cover seven of those camera movements.

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Generally done on a tripod, this is when you move the camera horizontally (left to right, vice versa).


This shot is also performed on a tripod. It’s when you move the camera vertically (up, down or vice versa).


Not tilting, but physically moving the height of the camera up or down, usually on a tripod. This is often referred to as “pedding” the camera up or down.


The camera is set on tracks or wheels (“railroad track”) and moved towards or back from the subject being recorded. Tracking shots can also be done with the camera moving alongside the subject that is being recorded.


FLOATING DEVICE (e.g., Steadicam)
Floating devices mount/strap to the camera operator. The camera itself is mounted by a series of metal joints controlled by gyroscopes. The camera operator can then move with his/her subjects with smooth motion. The gyroscopes isolate the floating device from shock and vibration, giving a steady feel to the moving shot.


This works and looks similar to a construction crane. It is used for high sweeping shots or to follow the action of your subject.


Handheld is when a camera is held in the camera operator’s hand versus being mounted on a tripod or other base.


Handheld camera shots are usually done purposefully to give a shaky camera effect.



We hope that this introduction into camera movements can be useful to you in your filmmaking endeavors. If you’d like to delve deeper into camera movements we recommend you read Jeremy Vineyard’s book, Setting Up Your Shots: Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know. Though it’s available on Amazon you may also find it at your local library. It’s a simple but yet powerful book. It has over 100 storyboards with simple descriptions.




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