We all know that using a tripod is the established way to get a steady shot, but sometimes static shots from a tripod can be quite restricting and not very dynamic OR you may not own a tripod/have the time to set one up.
Hand Held shooting is a skill that all camera operators need to develop, and for all the film directors out there, this is also useful stuff to know because it’s always good to appreciate the camera operator’s challenges when shooting.
Hand Held shooting originated in TV news and documentaries. TV situations often dictate that there isn’t enough time to set the camera up on a tripod. The immediacy of urgent and demanding situations often means you’ll miss the sequence before you even get your eye to the viewfinder if you take too long to set up. News and Current Affairs programmes are where I started out in the industry and I can honestly say that if you dawdle around too much you’ll miss the shot and won’t get a second chance to shoot something again, it’s one chance and one chance only! (Incidentally working in this area of TV is fantastic training, because you have to assess things very quickly, make instant decisions and get on with it!)
When filming in demanding situations such as war zones or riots, speed and flexibility will always take priority over the ‘perfect shot’. Regardless of how demanding the circumstances are, the ability to shoot good Hand Held work is an essential skill for any camera operator, drama or documentary.
Many ‘Reality TV Shows’ use Hand Held techniques not only because it’s quick and adaptable, but it adds a certain immediacy and realism to the shooting style.
Finally, the use of Hand Held is now extremely common in the movies. Hand Held shooting in feature films adds a tremendous dynamic to the film narrative and instantly creates a sense of urgency to sequences – especially action sequences. However, this list focuses mainly on how to get steady shots, as opposed to the shaky, frantic handheld seen in some recent movies… no Paul Greengrass here! (watch this space for a future article)
Regardless, whatever you’re shooting – drama/documentary/action -you need to master the basics.
Here Are My Top 10 Tips For Static & Moving Hand Held Shooting…