Shooting video usually isn’t as simple as just pointing a camera at something and hitting record. Sure, sometimes it is, but if you want to try and tell a story with your films, you need to think about how the camera can help you to tell that story. In this video, Jordy from Cinecom shows us 10 tricks to help tell better stories in our films.
So how can we use our camera to enhance the story in our films? Jordy films a short sequence and explains each of the different camera positions and his reasons for using them to help enhance the mood of the scene and his subject, Lorenzo.
- Using a tripod: The camera mimics the mood of the subject. If you want your subject to be confident, the steady shot of a tripod can help to get that across.
- Eye level: Keeping your camera at eye level also helps to show that your character is in control, or that the shot is neutral.
- Above or Below eye level: Putting the camera slightly below eye level helps to impress confidence and power in your subject. You don’t have to go super low, even slightly below eye level will help to illustrate this. Going slightly above has the opposite effect, making them appear small and weak.
- Pushing in on a slider: The camera moving slowly towards your subject helps to illustrate that they’re about to learn something important. Usually something bad.
- Moving in close: Getting close to your subject with a wide lens, especially handheld, can help to create an uneasy feeling, that your subject is stressing out.
- Moving back and zooming in: This can help to bring more focus to a stressful situation. It allows you to target important things for the viewer to pay attention to.
- Get back and obscure the view slightly: This creates a disconnected, voyeuristic look on the scene that’s unfolding. We’re not part of the action, we’re simply watching it play out. Obscuring the view slightly with objects in the foreground helps to illustrate this distance.
- Pushing in handheld: Starting off with a little camera shake and getting steadier towards the end of the shot can show that the chaotic situation is calming down.
- Pulling out: This can help to provide the subject with some room to breath after a tense situation is over.
- Orbit your subject: With still or moving subjects, this can provide focus to your subject, forcing the viewer to ignore what’s going on around them.
You can see in the video that Jordy combines techniques in some parts of the sequence, which allows them to tell a slightly different story. Like orbiting from below eye level to help focus the viewer’s attention on the subject and show confidence.
There are plenty of other storytelling camera moves and techniques out there, too, but these should help to get you started.
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