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Moving Camera

We recommend 'locked off' tripod shots, but of course creating really exciting dynamic sequences requires movement. So here are some ways to start.

Rehearsing your moving shot is extra important as it takes more effort to keep the composition right.

Pan & tilt

Pans (sideways movement) and tilts (up and down on a tripod) are your simplest camera movements. Check particularly your start and end framing, and that you can get a smooth movement between the two.

Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out
Martin Scorsese


A tracking or dolly shot is where the camera moves to follow the movement of a subject. There is no easy way to create a real tracking shot without hiring in specialist equipment, however, great fun can be had and brilliant results created using other makeshift techniques.

To get a good tracking shot think smooth. Your camera operator comfortably cradling a camera in a borrowed wheelchair across a gym floor, is better than a camera on a shopping trolley down a cobbled street.


For some reason a zoom never feels as wonderful as a track-in. It may be because the audience know how it looks to physically move closer to someone, and the track feels like a more accurate representation of this spatial change, with a zoom you subconsciously feel the camera staying still. However, a well-controlled zoom can often do much of what is needed - with a fraction of the effort! Use the automatic zoom and keep the zoom the same speed throughout

crash zoom is different and this needs to be really fast.

Combining a zoom with a pan in the same shot is tricky, avoid it if you can

Although hand-held is not the best way of tutoring young people in film, it would be a shame not to mention it, particularly as it is so prevalent on television and in horror movies. If you are going to use it, make sure the young people are confident with the kit, know exactly what the shot is to achieve, and, if they are walking with the camera pay particular attention to health & safety.

Hand held shots can also be used effectively for moving-character shots or as a contrast to tripod work in another scene.

With experience hand held can be great, but if young people wander round filming endless footage, you can get a disorientating viewing experience! You do not have time to review and edit hours of rushes.

Movement of camera and good quality sound are difficult to achieve at the same time