movements necessary for good motion video are
divided into three categories:
Primary movement (movement of the subject)
Secondary movement (movement of the camera)
Tertiary movement (movement produced by
successive shots from different cameras)
Movement in front of the camera, usually that of the
subject, is called primary movement. Primary
movement toward or away from the camera is stronger
than lateral movement. More emphasis is created by
having the subject move toward or away from the
camera. Exits and entrances are more impressive when
they occur toward or away from the camera. Lateral
movement of a subject should always be lead with the
camera The viewer wants to know where the subject is
going, not where it has been.
Secondary or camera movement is normally done
in television studios. Secondary movements include:
pans, tilts, dollys, zooms, trucks, and pedestal
movements. Secondary movements are used to follow
primary movement, to change or adjust picture
composition, or to emphasize or dramatize something.
Secondary movements must have a valid purpose. Do
not make them just for something to do.
DOLLY.-A dolly is a piece of equipment that
normally requires a small crew to operate. You can
dolly-in to increase the size of an object gradually on the
screen or dolly-out to decrease the size of the object on
the screen. Likewise, dollying decreases or increases the
field of view. A zoom lens can be used for the same
purpose as a dolly. During a zoom, the camera does not
move; therefore, perspective does not change as it does
during a dolly.
TRUCK.-A truck is a piece of equipment that is
basically a tripod with wheels. The camera is used to
follow lateral subject movement or you could truck the
camera along the objects. In either case,
camera-to-subject distance does not change.
PEDESTAL.-A pedestal is used to either raise or
lower the camera. Pedestalling can provide the audience
with a view looking down on the subject or up at the
subject. A pedestal may also be used to compensate for
tall or short camerapersons or subjects.
Tertiary movement results from a sequence of shots
from two or more cameras. When two or more
cameras are used, you can select from a variety of
pictures and determine which picture is to be recorded
and when. When more than one camera is used, you
can easily emphasize, de-emphasize, show action and
reaction in rapid or slow succession. The effect of
tertiary movement is accomplished through videotape
Video images, like still photographs, are subject to
the aesthetic rules of picture composition. There are,
however, factors peculiar to video that more or less
influence television composition. These factors are as
The small monitor requires objects to be shown
relatively large so they can be seen clearly on a
small screen. You must shoot more extreme
close-ups (ECU), close-ups (CU), medium shots
(MS), few long shots (LS), and very few extreme
long shots (ELS).
The 3:4 aspect ratio of the picture cannot be
changed so all picture elements must be
composed to fit it. The aspect ratio is the ratio of
picture height to width. There is no vertical
format in television. You must always think
The video camera is the eyes of the viewer.
Therefore, camera movement, as well as the
static arrangement of elements within the frame,
must be considered.
When shooting uncontrolled action, you may not
be able to predetermine composition. Sometimes
all you can do is correct certain compositional
In motion media, the picture on the screen is referred
to as a shot. A shot is one continuous camera run from
the time the recording starts to the time the recording
stops. A shot may last a few seconds, several minutes,
or the entire program. A motion-video cameraperson
must always think in terms of shots.
Most rules of composition in still photography
apply equally well to composition in motion media.
Composition was covered earlier in chapter 5. The