shock absorber. When handholding a camera, keep your
arms in close to your body and your legs and feet spread
about a shoulder width apart. Bend your knees slightly,
keeping your weight on the balls of your feet. Lean your
body backslightly for better balance. The camera should
be over your knees for greatest stability. Hold the camera
firmly against your face and place your hand in the
Control your breathing while shooting. Each breath
you take causes the camera to rise and fall slightly. The
technique of taking a deep breath, exhaling a little, and
holding the rest while you shoot is an effective way to
help eliminate camera unsteadiness. When shooting a
long scene, breathe as evenly and slowly as possible.
For added steadiness when handholding a camera,
you can lean against something, such as a tree or a wall.
Another method for handholding a video camera is to
kneel on one leg and rest your elbow on the raised knee.
When you must pan the camera, keep your elbow free
and pivot your body at the waist.
When handholding a video camera, keep the
following facts in mind to reduce the shakiness problem:
Concentrate on handholding the camera steady
while using a wide-angle lens. Your shakiness will be
reduced considerably. When using a wide-angle lens,
you must get as close to the subject as possible to provide
an acceptable image size.
Shakiness is directly proportional to the focal
length of the lens. Slight shakiness may be almost
unnoticeable with a wide lens. With a long lens, the same
amount of shakiness destroys the entire scene. (See table
Give yourself a steady platform. Before you
squeeze the record button, inhale, then partially exhale.
Now, squeeze. Do not pull or jerk the record button.
Lean against a building, a tree, or the side of a car. Any
support of this nature may provide more steadiness than
A tripod can literally be considered the basis for
most good motion-media products. To help you realize
just how important a tripod is for shooting motion
media, consider handholding a movie projector. You
cannot hold the projector steady for any period of time.
The picture weaves around on the screen and is very
distracting to the viewers. The same result is created
when a motion-video camera is handheld, but in this
case, images within the picture area appear to weave
around because of camera movement. The image you
see in the camera viewfinder is so small that you may
not notice the camera movement. It is easy to think you
are holding the camera steady. Bear in mind that the
slightest amount of camera movement is magnified
many times when the image is played back
While not all situations permit the use of a tripod,
the use of a folded tripod as a unipod is preferable to
shooting without camera support. Even the lightest
weight, so-called handheld video camera produces
much better results when supported adequately.
Camera steadiness is only one advantage of using a
tripod. When using a tripod, you automatically take
more time to compose and check scenes before
RECORDING FROM A MOVING VEHICLE
Sometimes you may have to record from a moving
vehicle, such as a truck or a boat. For this type of
assignment, the problem of holding the camera steady
becomes even more difficult. In this situation you should
handhold the camera, because a tripod transmits
vibrations and movements from the vehicle to the
camera. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, and
keep your knees flexed so you can sway and bend as the
vehicle rolls, pitches, or bounces. Watch the horizon in
the viewfinder. A tilted or wobbly horizon is very
detracting when being viewed. When shooting from
moving vehicles you should use a short focal-length lens
and a fast shutter speed.
When shooting from a moving vehicle, you
must follow all safety precautions. Use
common sense, you do not want to jeopardize
yourself or the video equipment.
One of the most commonly abused motion-media
techniques is panning. Panning is moving the camera
from left to right or right to left. Moving it up or down
is called tilting.
Only a few subjects require panning while you are
actually taping. The use of panning can keep a moving
procession, such as a marching unit in view, show a
sweep of landscape, or show the relationship between
objects or subjects.