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Shaky Cam: Why?

What is the appeal of handheld camerawork in film and TV? Strictly from an visual aesthetic, I find it disorienting and unappealing. Additionally, I think it's rather cheap-looking, which is insulting, really: these are multi-million dollar productions, yet they can't afford a tripod?%0D %0D Done in moderation - say, in a key scene to amp impact on the audience - it's okay. But entire TV series and films using shaky cam - I can't watch 'em. Friday Night Lights and Modern Family may be marvelously written and acted, but I refuse to watch them because of the shaky cam. I could barely endure the last 2 Jason Bourne films or Rachel Getting Married.%0D %0D I wish they would just stop.

by Anonymousreply 3901/09/2015

Makes it much more seemingly real and authentic.

by Anonymousreply 112/15/2010

If its done well (Black Swan), there is nothing better to put you in that space.

If its done poorly (countless films) it makes you vomit.

by Anonymousreply 212/15/2010

It makes filming cheaper.%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 312/15/2010

Not true, R3.

by Anonymousreply 412/15/2010

Totally agree OP. I cannot watch Modern Family for this reason. It's a stupid and distracting trend.

by Anonymousreply 512/15/2010

I disagree r1. Our brains stabilize our vision, so we don't see the world in a "shaky" way. Thus, it's actually more false than a carefully shot scene.

by Anonymousreply 612/15/2010

Of course, "Cloverfield" was the overdose of this style.

The remake of 'Battlestar Galactica" got it right; usually just during battle scenes in space. It looks like you're seeing it from a spaceship's viewfinder or loking out a ship's window.

For people (no FX) shows or commercials, it's stupid.

by Anonymousreply 712/15/2010

What do you mean it's not true r4?%0D %0D Guiding Light switched to shaky cam to save money for the final years of its run.

by Anonymousreply 812/15/2010

It's because the majority of directors do not know how to frame a wide shot: they do not know where to place the camera, so that the one important dramatic element, however small, draws your attention (Howard Hawks was a master at this and so was Altman, and so are Eastwood and Polanski). Most directors use a wider shot to inform on what the environment looks like and to clarify spacial orientation.

The other thing is, most actors do not know how to say more than two lines of dialogue with any kind of rhythm (except for those with theater experience), so dialogues is usually covered in close-ups for easier editing.

Hand held solves these problems for talent free directors. The kinetics of the movement create a fake sense of urgency. Plus, hand held is easy to edit, it's almost impossible to make a bad cut.

by Anonymousreply 912/15/2010

R6, I disagree. When we move especially, but other than working on a computer or watching tv your eyes dart around. Its second hand so we don't think about it, but its true.

by Anonymousreply 1012/15/2010

[quote]I disagree [R1]. Our brains stabilize our vision, so we don't see the world in a "shaky" way. Thus, it's actually more false than a carefully shot scene.

Actually, in theory R1 is right. Documentaries, news footage, home movies are traditionally shot using hand held cameras. We associate hand held with genres that capture what is real (non acted and non scripted). So, when hand held is used in a fictional narrative is to mimic that sense of 'real.'

by Anonymousreply 1112/15/2010

People with balance problems can't watch shaky cam. I have a relative who can't watch movies or commercials showing shaky cam due to getting "seasick." I had to tell her not to watch Cloverfield, even though I knew she would probably like it.

by Anonymousreply 1212/15/2010

Arrested Development was shaky cam, right?

by Anonymousreply 1312/15/2010

Yes r 13

by Anonymousreply 1412/15/2010

This thread is full of old people.

by Anonymousreply 1512/15/2010

That's me, R12.%0D %0D I can in no way, shape or form watch a movie or television show filmed in "shaky cam." I loved Lost, but had to stop watching it because I suffer from motion sickness, and I end up dizzy and nauseated.%0D %0D I blame this all on the "Blair Witch Project." They started a stupid trend that never ended.%0D %0D The OP is absolutely correct. This practice needs to end NOW.

by Anonymousreply 1612/16/2010

I can't stand the shaky cam but The Shield did it right.

by Anonymousreply 1712/16/2010

Yes, R17, THE SHIELD did shaky cam right. so did HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET.

I absolutely detest the use of shaky cam on sitcoms, though. It's just silly, pretentious, and lazy all once.

by Anonymousreply 1812/16/2010

R16, you may have a mild form of Meniere's disease. It's a permanent, or long term, imbalance of the inner ear. A low salt diet can help.

by Anonymousreply 1912/16/2010

Agree 100% OP.


by Anonymousreply 2012/16/2010

I think it's used masterfully on THE WALKING DEAD. That may be one of the best examples of what shaky cam can achieve when done well.

by Anonymousreply 2112/16/2010

R2, definitely.. I got sick from Cloverfield.

by Anonymousreply 2212/16/2010

The troubling thing about Modern Family is that the shaky camera is used as a never ending effect. They are intentionally zooming in and out and moving the camera around to mimic a real documentary style. Badly at that. It is affectatious and annoying and adds absolutely nothing to the show. Unfortunately since M F is such a success you will see many copy cats

by Anonymousreply 2310/13/2012

There goes my career as Steadicam's biggest star.

by Anonymousreply 2410/13/2012

The worst offenders are TV commercials when they're doing the "man on the street" testimonials filmed with a shaky cam.

Phony as a $3 bill.

by Anonymousreply 2510/13/2012

the're made to brainwash(or worse ) the masses

by Anonymousreply 2602/02/2013

Bouncing off of R1's point, it made sense in the films of John Cassavettes to film this way because he made movies before the invention of the steadicam.

However, once the late 1970s came along it made no sense. I remember even the TV show thirtysomething used to move the camera around to make the situations look more authentic or something, but it just ended up looking silly.

BTW, I think Cloverfield is an exception because the style is incorporated into the plot re the video camera (in that wasn't the camera given as a gift?) So it made sense there. But then I saw it on TV not in a theater, where on a big screen it could be irritating.

by Anonymousreply 2702/02/2013

Eldergay thread.

by Anonymousreply 2802/02/2013

I absolutely apore the shaky cam. It adds NOTHING to the scene, especially when it is done constantly. It's distracting, nauseating and a ridiculous technique. I have been watching The West Wing on Netflix. I am near the end is season 6 and because of that idiot technique, I am unable to watch it anymore.

What the morons, who came up with that technique failed to realize is that you will NOT attract people to a show using shaky cam, but you sure as hell will lose them.

Just stupid.

by Anonymousreply 2902/20/2013

It's often used to create a fake silliness in not-so-funny comedies. See, the camera is wobbly- laugh!

In the extras for "Saturday Night Fever", director John Badham said SNF was one of the first movies to use the handheld camera. Before, they never would have gotten into tight spaces like that, following and leading actors around.

by Anonymousreply 3002/21/2013

What is so obvious is that it is FAKE ! When they record it, there is no camera shake or all that zooming at all! It is all added in during editing! They carefully decide what to zoom in on, zooming in, out, in, out, and what they use an algorithm with random shaking. It's all just purposely added in. Intentional engineered camera shaking and zooming this way makes it 100% unwatcheable for me.

by Anonymousreply 3110/16/2013

Yep. It bothers me enough to check online to see if anyone else didn't like it either.

by Anonymousreply 3211/28/2013

R28 is correct.

Only old people worry about this.

by Anonymousreply 3311/28/2013

It may be meant to give a "home video" type feel.

by Anonymousreply 3401/09/2015

[quote]Only old people worry about this.

I find it annoying and lazy.

by Anonymousreply 3501/09/2015

Iirc, the first tv show that focussed on shaky-cam was NYPD Blue.


by Anonymousreply 3601/09/2015

Made "Parenthood" and "The Thick Of It" virtually unwatchable for me Visual Tourette's, a dated affectation that does indeed cover-up the sins of the lazy.

by Anonymousreply 3701/09/2015

Sure, R19. If you'd listened to Heather screaming non-stop during the Blair Witch Project, you'd have some inner ear problems, too....nothing to do with salt.

by Anonymousreply 3801/09/2015

[quote]I absolutely apore the shaky cam.

Did you mean 'abhor' or something else?

by Anonymousreply 3901/09/2015
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