Camera Movement

Pan

Where the camera pivots horizontally, either from right to left or left to right to reveal a set or setting. This can be used to give the viewer a panoramic view. Sometimes used to establish a scene.

Track

A shot where the camera follows a subject/object. The tracking shot can include smooth movements forward, backward, along the side of the subject, or on a curve but cannot include complex movement around a subject.

‘Track’ refers to rails in which a wheeled platform (which has the camera on it) sits on in order to carry out smooth movement.

Crane

Basically, dolly-shots-in-the-air. It can move up, down, left, right, swooping in on action or moving diagonally out of it. The camera operator and camera are counter-balanced by a heavy weight, and trust their safety to a skilled crane/jib operator.

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Steadicam

A steadicam is a stabilising mount for a camera which mechanically isolates the operator’s movement from the camera, allowing a very smooth shot even when the operator is moving quickly over an uneven surface. Informally, the word may also be used to refer to the combination of the mount and camera.

Handheld

A shot that is filmed from the cameraman’s own hands, therefore is a little shaky.

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Tilt

Where a camera scans a set or setting vertically (otherwise similar to a pan).

Dolly

The camera moves through space on a wheeled truck (or dolly), but stays in the same plane.

Zoom

Using a zoom lens to appear to be moving closer to (zoom in) or further away from (zoom out) a subject/object when in fact the camera may not move (so, strictly not camera movement). Can be used for dramatic effect.

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Reverse zoom

The horizontal movement of the camera from left to right or vice versa, where the camera base is static.

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