12 Creative Shot Ideas for Cinematic Footage

A nice tripod shot is a staple of filmmaking. Adding motivated movement is where things start to get truly cinematic. It really is the elevating factor. Motion is a part of cinema and making use of it will take all your projects up a notch. You still need to think about when and why you are using it, but learning some good techniques and options will help you get started.

If you want to capture some more exciting footage or even just some better B roll you can check out a dozen different camera movements in this video by filmmaker Jacques Crafford.

Movement is tough in video since getting it smooth and steady can require additional equipment or a practiced technique. The ideas presented here are mostly possible without something like a gimbal so don’t worry too much if you want to get started with them today.

1. The Michael Bay

Brought to us by, obviously, Michael Bay, this shot requires shooting from a low angle to elevate your character. Start off lower and use a normal or slightly wide lens and then move the camera in the opposite direction of your subject while simultaneous turning to keep them centered. The subject should turn towards the camera while moving the opposite direction as well. Plus, filming in slow motion will complete the look.

2. The Zoom Push

The idea here is simple as it just requires zooming in your lens as you make a move towards your subject. This will actually change the look and feel of the footage as you move while a standard crop in with editing won’t do that. Doing the opposite is an alternate option.

3. The Model Reveal

This is designed for multiple subjects in the shot. Start with one model hidden behind the other. You are going to move around the front model to reveal the second model. They should ideally turn to face you in the opposite direction that you are moving.

4. Stuff on the Lens

When working with something like food, turning the camera straight up and then dropping ingredients on the camera is a fun and interesting shot. Clear plastic wrap or glass will keep your camera safe.

5. The Bicycle Reveal

Doesn’t have to be a bicycle just some sort of moving object. How it works is to start off a bit ahead of the subject, let them catch up and hold in the frame for a moment, and then have the speed up through the opposite side that they entered. It’s a good opener.

6. Pan Up, Look Up

This works by doubling up on a similar movement. Time things right, but doing a pan up to your subject and then having them immediate look up will add some impact.

7. Pull Back Reveal

Another simple trick and best performed on an action. Move backwards from a smaller portion of your subject and slowly bring their entirety into frame. You can also have someone step into the frame and shift focus.

8. Forward Push Wide

Similar to pulling back, now you are going to follow your talent forward. It’ll help you transition to a close up following it. Using a wide lens and having some distance and foreground in the frame you can start moving forward before the model hits the final spot.

9. Cross Movement

You can’t always plan for this type of shot but if you can have two subjects moving in opposite directions across each other it is a nice dynamic look.

10. The Twirl

A fun shot, especially with gimbals that feature a rotate function, the twirl is a very dynamic shot. Make sure you have something in the foreground the emphasize the movement. Slow motion can help smooth out the results.

11. Reflections

This you have probably seen before, but if you can find a natural reflection in your scene you can use it to great effect.

12. Centered Look Back

When following your subject and keeping them in the center of the frame you can have them turn back towards the camera for a great shot. Slow motion also a good call here.

Bonus Tip

If you are struggling to give your models some direction a safe technique is to give them a prop or a destination. A prop will give them something to do and the action will help things feel more organic. You can achieve a similar natural feel by giving them a place to move towards.

Which of these techniques are you most excited to try out?

[source: Jacques Crafford]

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