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Actor/Director Film Lab

Lesson 3 of 16

Camera Movement

Robert Milazzo

Actor/Director Film Lab

Robert Milazzo

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Lesson Info

3. Camera Movement


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Shot Sizes Duration:16:46
3 Camera Movement Duration:14:06
4 Actor Critique: Speed Duration:19:09
5 Actor Critique: Motion Duration:10:35
6 Actor Critique: Size Duration:14:49
7 Dynamics of Rehearsal Duration:11:53
8 Dynamics of The Shoot Duration:18:51

Lesson Info

Camera Movement

Camera movement this it's an interesting section we're going to talk about later on in the course how it affects performance. But let's, just do some basic movement paradigms and it's. Not about if this is our camera. We have several in the room. But what's this reference this one for a second that this is our camera. Thiss is well, this is a tripod, obviously. And when we reference in terms of vocabulary and linguistics, that camera in its current position, we call that a fixed position. So the camera is fixed. Now this camera has wheels on it, and we can move it. But at right now the apparatus is fixed. So let's, call this a fixed camera. Ok, so we're going to address camera movement in first. A fixed position. Okay. The first camera movement we were going to reference, I think we could do is put. This camera is a movement from north to south. This movement is called tilting. Okay, we tilt up, we tilt down. I like to use compass directions because up has other connotations. You know,...

in terms of camera movement. So I think of this is north and south. It just keeps my mind right sometimes a camera man or woman will think in, up, down I like north south, but I would I wouldn't tell an actor we're going to tell to north because that would that would just confuse that holy heck out of them, but I might say, hey, when you get to this part of the monologue, we're going to tilt up or we're going to tilt down north south is tilting, okay? Panning again. I'll use my compass. So panning is east west. Okay, anything that moves the frame east to west, this is the motion. See notices right hand is moving out. Okay, so the camera's moving left and the camera's moving right. That's panic. This is a common a lot of times operators. And this is weird because I watch a lot of sports sometimes sports announcer will say, look at the camera pan up and it drives me a little crazy because cameras don't pan up, they tilt up and they tilt down. Remember, john madden used to always say she had the camera pans up and I love john men, but he had it wrong. They pan left, right? They tilt up down. Cool. Thanks, alex. So those are fixed camera attributes those air fixed camera positions. Does that make sense? Okay, the last three on our screen here are referencing when the camera is moving is moving is a moving object is a moving apparatus we're not going to be able to exemplify them because some of them have technical realities that are attached to them. Darling ok, we could do a little doing here will fire up alex and second dying to me the simple supposition with simple proposition of a dollars when the camera is attached to another mobile object you know the crude example because there is such a thing is a dolly you can go online and say I need a dolly for my short film google dolly you'll get a lot of rental companies to say you will rent you with dolly and there are different types of dollars there skateboard dollies there's there's dollies with cranes on them there's all sorts of apparatus within a dolly but I'm going to simplify for everybody dolly is when the camera what look at outs there in the corner the camera is a fixed to a tripod and the tripod has the potential to be ambulatory mean thinking move basically so this is dolly this is darling you may said there's no dolly track or there's it doesn't to me it doesn't matter if I say to an actor we're going to dolly with you in this model of they know this what alex is exemplifying through the lens I think people may be able to see it at home in some version of this I say to the act of working as you go to the refrigerator, we're going to dolly with you. They know the camera will be mobilized through another apparatus other than picking it up other than something that it relates to the hand and motor science. Does that make sense? That distinction, the classic historic example I'd like to use is stealing kubrick I using pretty much, for example, surprised it's taken me this long clockwork orange hey would tie the camera to ah, a wheelchair it's a very common a lot of film students use wheelchairs to motivate the call it motivating the camera again vocabulary, right? I could say we're going to motivate the camera, you could say, does that mean move the camera acting, directing film, laboratory science? They're both right? Part of the continual subtext of this course and part of the continual take away this course is you've got to ask, don't be afraid to ask I mean, I'm downloading a lot of scientific empirical vocabulary words, but if you don't know something on a set to say, I don't understand what can you clarify? You know, we'll get to that later in the course, I just don't want you to be feel bullied by vocabulary and technology. Department technology creates that never go into it computer store and say I don't know what a gigabyte is versus a terabyte I'm scared to ask because I don't want to sound like an idiot and have to pay two hundred dollars for something I don't need you've got to ask and on the films that you've got to ask in this course we're going to determine who you can ask on who should ask and who knows you know you don't want to ask someone who doesn't know but simply you know, if I'm telling alex outside to move the camera and I may say to the actor yeah, the cameras being motivated, you know, so and it really depends is a great line in making of psycho hitchcock was trying tio janet leigh was channeling a vivian leigh, right? Thank you mike hitchcock expert there in the corner janet leigh was arguing with hitch about a point in the scene and he wanted her to move a certain way and she said I wouldn't you know I wouldn't do that my character wouldn't do that and they fought in front flaw and she ultimately said hitch what's my motivation and he said, your motivation is your salary and that ended the conversation so you know, a lot of this comes down to what I call heightened common sense and communication and as we'll talk about later in the course if if the history of film was the history of people getting along with each other and not yelling, you wouldn't see any films ever know films would exist. So later in the course. We're going to talk about collaboration, stay tuned, and we're also going to be skyping with guests who know a thing or two about what I like to call tough collaboration and that's what this business is about, filmmaker once said to me, if you're going to be in the circus, you need two tough hide that's. What filmmaking is the circus. You need a tough hide. I don't know how we got there from dowling, but I think you saw the progression, darling, when the camera is tied to an apparatus that that which motivates it again for you film students at home if you ever see in the discard been a wheelchair part of your mind you go. Maybe I should use that has a dolly it's very common on office chair with wheels. This's have wheels, no office chairs with wheels, anything with wheels khun b your dolly steadicam. Steadicam again, is another technical apparatus it's literally a vest to a certain extent, I mean, they're different forms of steady cam. There glide cams, they're different can robo cams, their cans that are easy and cheap to buy and use, and a steady kim, the traditional steady can that was created by garrett brown in the late seventies. It wasn't the first film, but the second film that really used it was a shining talking about cuba. Rick, if you watch the making of the shining, the making of the shining, this is not a plug for the dvd, but I would I always tell students about the making of the china it's, one of the greatest documents about the act in art of film collaboration, the realities of being an actor, and the realities of being a filmmaker, and the realities of being a technical crafts person on the set, the making of the shining, twenty five minutes of your time well spent, filmed by vivian kubrick, who at the time was fifteen years old and went around the set, filming everything and talking to people. Beautiful thing. And what you see in that documentary amongst other great eliminate point elimination, is, you see the birth of the steadicam, it's, incredible, what he did with that study camp, and I think not to sound too editorial here the steadicam is part of is part of the decline part of the decline of modern film is due to this study camp again I put it on our thinking our camera operators lapping on I don't know if he agrees or disagrees but I really do believe that steady can allows speed where speed didn't exist you can set it up you content to set it up in a way that may be quicker and more flexible yes you have to get rid of wires and paths and that sort of thing but you know you watch christopher nolan's batman trilogy to me seventy five percent of that darn thing this steady camped it's all a similar vote cattle I'm not here to best steady camps I just think it's a piece we use in a modern sense actors tend to love steadicam because it's really walk and talk you know this expression we use sometimes on the call sheet we'll talk we won't talk about caution today but on the call sheet you may say a description of a scene is a walk and talk what kentucky's literally two characters walking talking watch reclaimed linkletter's before sunrise after sunset that whole trilogy I don't know the names lots of walk and talk that wouldn't happen without steady camps steady kim's it takes all the potential vibration and crude chicken on a tree and crude tension out of the frame you know versus a john kasich betty's film where you get a lot of handheld handheld we don't we didn't put on our list here's what I would call a camera movement this is sometimes a filmmaker will say what would you call if I picked up the camera? I think that's a type of movement movement implies a certain empirical results handheld waken all describe what a handheld movement is but when you pick up the frame so to me the camera and I'm a dog owner the camera is like a leash you know they tell dog owners when you pick up that leash you're you're transmitting energy to the debt like the dog cigna if you're tense the dog gets tense because literally the leashes of mechanism like an antenna to me the cameras the same way if I pick up this camera handheld right there that's handheld yeah he's he's buttressing it against his sorry alex is but you're singing against his shoulder but that's hand held his hands are holding the camera filmmaking is heightened common sense news flash it is heightened common sense not everyone possesses common sense let's be frank but it is kite income sense that his hand held camera operation this student group is now being filmed hand health so alex the operator can control he can because not all handheld camerawork is equal he could add tension can you add a little rocking this here alex said he can move a little bit he could do whatever he wants he can make this scene like this is a group of mental patients you know the camera and it may be you know the camera is like a leash it it receives energy and that energy that you submit to it it receives and records does that make sense? Any questions making sense? Okay let's move on steady camping so vest apparatus monitor typically you may have a more correct version of this but you have to have a license you have to be a steadicam operator. Not everyone can throw that best on etcetera, etcetera booming to me, this is a classic it's. Part of it is my sycophant ism of fellini who always talked about booming booming is when the camera is literally moving up or down. Two boom up to boom that again, you may step on a film set and we're going exemplified that in second adrian is doing it right now for you folks watching this online this is booming. Yeah, you could turn your eyes to a booming means the camera is now booming down and now he's going to boom up. So do you see the difference between the description of like ok so he's booming up to a high angle so ultimately our vocabularies and integration of all these terms booming is literally moving up, moving it down so if I'm working with an actor and I say when the phone rings we're just going to boom up with you they know the cameras literally being lifted north or south attend to use camera compass directions but ultimately vocabularies and integration of all these things okay actor when you move to the refrigerator, I'm gonna pan a little bit and then we're going to dolly, so now you can kind of fit it in, so if you're hearing dolly a pan and dolly okay, so the camera is going to move and it's going to be motivated by something so all this is now is up to you these air just very basic forms of vocabulary dna there are more there's, different types of angles there's something called a dutch angle of dutch angle is when the frame is literally what we call canted or tilted I mean again it's like I love it because I think words air power and I think communication is strength, especially for actor and director now it doesn't mean you have to talk a lot. It doesn't mean being a great filmmaker great actor is is it can sometimes be the absence of words see that's the strength in vocabulary if you know them, you may not need words, you may not need more than those words you know, if I said that was cinematographer, low angle, slightly dutch angle, so they know ok. Camera here, frame, kind of twisted shorthand, shorthand, shorter and also is an actor. If you're hearing ok, they're going to be high angle on me, okay, so how do I use my eyes? Have we're going to talk about all that? How the actor just to these things, or if they even adjusted all but again not asking, is kind of denying a component of the collaboration between actor, filmmaker and camera that that, really, to me, is the detriment of the work. It's about communication.

Class Description

The relationship between the filmmaker, the actor, and the camera is an integral part of every production, but is rarely discussed. In Actor/Director Film Lab, Robert Milazzo explores cinematographic craft and collaboration and its relationship to acting and performance.

In this beginner-friendly class, both filmmakers and actors learn new ways to work together to bring their best work to life. Filmmakers develop new skills for effectively communicating and collaborating with performers. Actors learn how cameras capture performance and how to adjust their work to suit a production’s technical realities.

Actor/Director Film Lab equips those who work on both sides on the camera with insights that improve their working/artistic relationships, while strengthening the quality of their professional film work.

Special Guests:

  • David Morse, Actor 
  • Kasi Lemmons, Writer/Director/Actor 
  • Keith Gordon, Writer/Director


Philip John

I thoroughly enjoyed and became a better craftsman by watching and partaking in this workshop. Congrats Rob you're inspiring and down to earth made this experience a real pleasure. Cheers Mate Phil from Sydney Australia

Carlos Sandoval

I´ve seen a couple of lessons so far, and this is really a great class. Robert know his subject. Just by listening to him talk about Cassavetes and other fascinating filmmakers that rarely get mentioned nowdays, I get on track. The best.

Laura Latimer

Great Class - Thank you!