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HandHeld Camera Shooting: Why and When.
  • Apefos topic number 100: Celebrating my hundredth topic, I decided to post something that can be useful for the forum members:

    HandHeld Camera Shooting: Why and When. Technical, artistic and circumstantial reasons to use camera in the hands.

    The main goal here is to enumerate the reasons to use handheld camera and the relationship with the message/storytelling/client needs, not to discuss if you like it or not.

    So let's go for the list of reasons for using handheld camera:

    01 - conveniently sized for travel

    02 - greater freedom of motion during filming

    03 - small places or places full of people

    04 - fast work for camera operator, ideal for news and docs, and low budget cinema

    05 - allow more freedom in camera angle and position

    06 - good solution for subjective shoots, for show the person point of view

    07 - as a variation, can also be fitted in animals, in the nature, in person body, in vehicles, for different effects

    08 - shaky camera can be used for artistic reasons (more later)

    09 - film sequence gets an ad hoc, electronic news-gathering, or documentary film feel

    10 - It suggests unprepared, unrehearsed filming of reality

    11 - can provide a sense of dynamics, immersion, intimacy, instability, unease or nervousness, depending on how it is done

    12 - It gives a raw, energetic aesthetic

    13 - Too much shaky can feel distracted, dizzy or sick

    14 - breaks the cinema industry standards, turning into a revolutionary style

    15 - the amount and style of shaky camera can be artistic or can be poor camera skills, these two things are different

    16 - shaky camera can be combined with camera operator movements and with of the frame shoots

    17 - handheld camera is inexpensive and can mean financial freedom

    18 - handheld camera can be full of energy and youth soul, even when shooting old people

    19 - handheld camera is good for fight, with even punch the camera

    20 - the camera can be fitted in supports which extends the arms, legs or body

    21 - shoulder mount camera is a type of handheld camera wich can offers a balance between shaky and stable

    22 - overhead supports also works good for a balance between stable and shaky

    23 - handheld camera is discreet and desired where lifeguards, security guards, authority figures can stop your work if they see a tripod

    24 - high end equipment means you are working making money, so people will ask for authorization, handheld camera solves this

    25 - handheld camera can be hidden and used for surprises, or to use a surprise even in a film

    26 - lens stabilization and sensor stabilization are enough for avoiding a tripod or support

    27 - electronic stabilization, lens stabilization, sensor stabilization and post-production stabilization introduces different aesthetics compared to a raw handheld camera

    28 - image stabilization can turn handheld to looks like steadycam or tripod

    29 - handheld can introduce different kind and level of emotions

    30 - can help achieving real time continuity or a long sequence shot

    31 - can help tracking a subject or object

    32 - its has an "you are there" energy

    33 - looks like and amateur film, and amateur films are more realistic and plausible

    34 - shaky camera can be combined with short average shot length, jump cuts, and incompletely frame the action

    35 - can simulate found footage

    36 - can easily do oblique (dutch) angle adding psychological uneasiness or tension, madness, unrest, exoticism, and disorientation

    37 - steadycam is different compared to handheld, steadycam looks professional, observational, detached and also dreamlike, supernatural or surreal

    38 - introduces realism, much desired in documentaries and indie narrative films

    39 - the Objective truthfulness of Direct Cinema style

    40 - handheld used with sync direct sound capture brings the true feeling

    41 - the camera can be used to provoke and reveal reactions in people (filmed people and audience)

    42 - can be associated with productions in the other side of traditional society, ghetto, nich, guerrillas

    43 - can be strongly romantic

    44 - can be combined with fast or slow shutter speed for different effects

    45 - handheld camera can have social, ideological, anthropological and ethical uses and meanings

    46 - it was intense used in times with political changes, economical changes, behavior/tradition changes and war

    47 - a feeling of real life unfolding before the viewer's eyes

    48 - handheld camera can be made when people are aware of it or not. When the camera is present, it must be considered that if the presence of the camera does not substantially alter the recorded event, or if people are already prepared for it

    New ideas for using handheld camera are welcome!

    Also suggest handheld feature films for our appreciation, and comment about the handheld relationship with the storytelling in the movies you say.

    Other topics about handheld in P-V:

    Lens discussion, what is possible to do handheld:

    Previous discussion if handheld is valid or not:

  • 2 Replies sorted by
  • @apefos

    Try to use numbered list.

    Just like

    1. First
    2. Second
  • It does not work well if you do any compositing. I hand-hold almost everything, but I have learned that if you are working in bad light, a locked-down shot is much easier to correct in post. The classic example is replacing a sky that is too light or too dark. If the camera shake is more than a little, you will have to set up a tracker, so that any effects you add must attach to the tracker and follow the camera's movement. In some cases, you will have to keyframe manually. So, while I like to hand hold, I don't if there is any possible need for serous post production.