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View Poll Results: Do you like the Shaky Camera effect?

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  • I hate it!

    22 64.71%
  • I love it!

    3 8.82%
  • I don't care either way!

    9 26.47%
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  1. #11
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    Camera direction is not a naive art. It is a highly technical and specialized field. Cinematographers are the golden boys/girls of the industry. The problem is bad directors. Often times you get someone who comes from acting, or screenwriting backgrounds and knows nothing about cinema. The director is supposed to be the leader of all the crews but most don't know squat about the tech aspects of film making, so they give bad direction.
    Cinematographers, sure, there's some great ones. (Or at least, I've seen some beautiful movies so there must be some good pikchur takers out there.) But I mean direction of the camera--how it is used as an actor in the scene. Dumb things like shaky cam for example. What does it emulate? The fact that most people eyes vibrate in their heads?!

    Or like when someone's about the strike a blow on a protagonist, and the fist is raised, and hovers there a moment to be seen by the camera? What's that about?

    I somehow doubt that anyone anywhere has ever had a fight as fluid (and lengthy) as any of those undertaken by Jason Bourne or by countless hong kong kung fu people, but for whatever partisan reason floating around in my head, I believe that the stylisation of movement one can produce with a camera and actor (or more likely, a camera, an actor, and months later an editor) working in concert is... better. And not so often effectively achieved. Since it seems the really fine line of perfectly captured form is to be found only in between easily achieved crap realism and and slightly less easily achieved crap stylisation.


    My father's favourite observation about movies is that all fires crackle. In real life fires don't crackle. But some time in the distant past of movie making, some foley artist needed to make a camp fire come to filmic life so they crumbled paper into the mike and now all filmed fires crackle.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samvega View Post
    I personally think it's the stupidest thing to ever happen to movies. It's a movie, shaking the camera around isn't going to make me think it's any more real.
    Stop watching amateur porn.

  3. #13
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Cinematographers, sure, there's some great ones. (Or at least, I've seen some beautiful movies so there must be some good pikchur takers out there.) But I mean direction of the camera--how it is used as an actor in the scene. Dumb things like shaky cam for example. What does it emulate? The fact that most people eyes vibrate in their heads?!
    I agree that "shaky cams" are a poor and overused method, but it is meant to disorient and jar the viewer, so s/he can feel the experience. Film making is moving towards a holistic experience, as you can see with IMAX or 3D movies (like Coraline).

    The direction of the camera is not, and never is, arbitrary. A Cinematographer is head of the Camera and Light crews. S/he must know Cinematic Language, film stocks, light metering, etc... For each scene you see, a crew of at least 10 set up the exact angle to tell relate a certain mood or perspective. The actors have rehearsed their language and their movements down to milliseconds to move fluidly with the camera. In addition, the lighting crew is part of this dance. Hiding or enhancing shadows, yet remaining consistent (and hidden!) while the actors and cameras move. The sound recordist is also moving. Nothing you see on screen is arbitrary. Every pan, tilt and zoom is also telling the story using Cinematic Language. Those who are just watching the actors and hearing dialogue only are missing about 60% of a film.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Or like when someone's about the strike a blow on a protagonist, and the fist is raised, and hovers there a moment to be seen by the camera? What's that about?
    Big budget films spend a lot of time and money hiring choreographers and stunt people, and they want you to see it. That slo mo stuff is crap, but I get why they do it. One film does well, and everyone thinks their film will do well. Remember all that slo mo crap in The Matrix? Everyone raved about it, so now all directors do it - hoping to be seen as innovative. Times and styles will change with the next "big" breakthrough feature though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    I somehow doubt that anyone anywhere has ever had a fight as fluid (and lengthy) as any of those undertaken by Jason Bourne or by countless hong kong kung fu people, but for whatever partisan reason floating around in my head, I believe that the stylisation of movement one can produce with a camera and actor (or more likely, a camera, an actor, and months later an editor) working in concert is... better. And not so often effectively achieved. Since it seems the really fine line of perfectly captured form is to be found only in between easily achieved crap realism and and slightly less easily achieved crap stylisation.
    It depends on who is directing, what the budget is and what the big wig "producers" and studio heads want. The director, although in charge of the project, rarely has final cut. This is why in american cinema, the "best picture" award goes to the Producer (the one who financed it) not the Director, or the Screenwriter. The one with the money talks. My advice: stay away from Bourne Identity type "films".

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    My father's favourite observation about movies is that all fires crackle. In real life fires don't crackle. But some time in the distant past of movie making, some foley artist needed to make a camp fire come to filmic life so they crumbled paper into the mike and now all filmed fires crackle.
    You are talking about several different things. Sound cliches are quite common and people need them. It's like when someone pulls a sword out, you always hear metal brushing metal. Whenever you see a full moon, you always hear a wolf howl in the distance. I could start a whole discussion about the subliminal manipulation in sound design. But I'll leave that for another day.

  4. #14
    lurking.... Wyst's Avatar
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    I think the first movie I remember seeing the shaky cam in was 'Saving Private Ryan' - I think it was very well incorporated into the film and added a certain tenseness to the movie.

    However since then, I think it's gotten overused and can also serve as a cover for lame choreography in fight scenes. In the last Bourne movie, I use the longer right scenes to go to the bathroom. No point in watching. You can't see what the hell is going on anyway.

  5. #15
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    It's only been done well in The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Also in The Shield, if TV shows count.

    Generally, I think that constantly moving the camera, period, is an overrated gimmick. (Although I like Michael Bay.)
    yes, basically it's a gimmick or (less cynically) a tool to suggest realism and movement.

    I've seen it work sometimes... I remember the scenes in the lair in Aliens that were raw and sort of shaky... to emulate the head-mounted cameras. (In that sense, it was part of the physical plot and was "realistic.")

    I think it worked well in Blair Witch... unfortunately too well. I got sick after awhile and had to watch the last 30 minutes of the move out of peripheral vision or I would have had to leave the theater.

    I think in some of the frantic fight scenes nowadays, it takes away because you can't perceive the movements anymore, the entire scene you might as well go out and buy popcorn.

    for a decent stylized opening, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan was excellent. Spielburg took liberties with sound and movement and whatever else, but it was done in a way that accentuated the chaos while not clouding our perceptions of what was happening.
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  6. #16
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I remember the scenes in the lair in Aliens that were raw and sort of shaky... to emulate the head-mounted cameras. (In that sense, it was part of the physical plot and was "realistic.")
    My favorite "shake" technique was in Requiem for a Dream, when Jennifer Connelly came out of that nasty guy's apartment when she first prostituted herself for drugs. As she walks down that long hallway to the elevator, she has a camera mounted to her waist pointed back at her. The whole scene looks so surreal and real at the same time.

    These methods work if you do them well, and if the people making the film have artistic license and are not bowing down to the financial guys.

  7. #17
    12 and a half weeks BerberElla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    My favorite "shake" technique was in Requiem for a Dream, when Jennifer Connelly came out of that nasty guy's apartment when she first prostituted herself for drugs. As she walks down that long hallway to the elevator, she has a camera mounted to her waist pointed back at her. The whole scene looks so surreal and real at the same time.

    These methods work if you do them well, and if the people making the film have artistic license and are not bowing down to the financial guys.
    Heck yeah, that was a good movie and the camera stuff worked well with it.
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  8. #18
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    Every pan, tilt and zoom is also telling the story using Cinematic Language.
    Yep.

    And I'm a lot of times left wanting in the movie experience. Which I suppose is unfair. I'm expecting, say in a fight scene, an experience akin to a stylised version of what I'd see... which I suppose, unfortunately bringing this topic back out of the realm of high art down to pop MBTI, would be the Se view.

    I wish I had some examples of films of note I could trot out. But I'm racking my brain for something that's impressed me recently and I can't think of any.

    Best I can come up with is HK gangster movies. I haven't seen it in a while, but it seems I have a soft spot for Infernal Affairs. (And a corresponding distaste for The Departed.)

  9. #19
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Yep.

    And I'm a lot of times left wanting in the movie experience. Which I suppose is unfair. I'm expecting, say in a fight scene, an experience akin to a stylised version of what I'd see... which I suppose, unfortunately bringing this topic back out of the realm of high art down to pop MBTI, would be the Se view.

    I wish I had some examples of films of note I could trot out. But I'm racking my brain for something that's impressed me recently and I can't think of any.

    Best I can come up with is HK gangster movies. I haven't seen it in a while, but it seems I have a soft spot for Infernal Affairs. (And a corresponding distaste for The Departed.)
    You and me both...

    (and I loved Internal Affairs, too.)

  10. #20
    Oberon
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    I hated what they did with it in Gladiator and Cinderella Man.

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