As still photographers, the last thing we’re usually looking for is a moving camera. We often like to lock down our camera on a tripod and make sure it’s rock solid still to avoid blur in our photos.
If you own a DSLR that also shoots high quality video, you will eventually realize that in video – everything moves – including the camera. Knowing HOW to move the camera and make the video still look great requires skill and practice.
Even if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cool studio gear, you can still make smooth, cool-looking camera moves if you know what youre doing.
The first tip is slow down. You don’t want to give your audience motion sickness. Move the camera somewhat slower than you would turn your head if you were in a brace. Most of the video I’ve seen shot by still shooters contains moves that are simply too fast for the audience.
Avoid jerky movements. Think smooooooth. The smoother the better. This really takes practice. Even though I’ve been shooting more video than stills lately I find myself needing to practice each move several times before I hit the record button.
Panning & Titlting
Practice the move before you can make it. Twist your body in a pan and when tilting, try to make sure you move in a straight line.
Home Made Dolly
Does your kid have a wagon? All you need is a piece of plywood, the wagon and a small tripod and you can set up your own dolly moves. Just be sure to start and end carefully and slowly to make sure your camera doesn’t fall over.
Speaking of tripods, buy the most expensive tripod you can afford. A good fluid head will greatly aid your ability to make good camera moves.
I recommend watching lots of video shot by people like Phil Bloom (http://philipbloom.net/) and Vince Laforet (http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/). They know what they are doing and you can learn a lot just by watching their results.