Basic Camera Movement Types & History
In the late 1800s and early 1900s tripods were eventually made with rotating head mounts, enabling such camera movements as pansand tilts. Later, in 1903 tracking shots (aka dolly or trucking shots) would be used in narrative films. These shots require the camera to sit on a dolly or moving platform, secured on wheels and/or tracks, that when rolled, could move in/out, beside, diagonally, or around the subject(s). In the 1920s, filmmakers would experiment other ways to mobilize a camera, such as strapping the camera either on themselves or on other moving objects on the set. However, because of the heavy weight of the 35 mm cameras during the first half of the 20th century, handheld dolly shots were rare. As cameras became lighter, thus more mobile, the camera eventually could go virtually anywhere --handheld (or Steadicam shot), crane shots (although first known to have been used in 1915), and evenaerial shots (aka bird’s eye). The handheld dolly shot became something of an advantage and staple for some young filmmakers in the late 1950’s/ early 1960s, sparking the French New Wave of cinema; and during the 1970s, a camera operator by the name of Garret Brown, along with Cinema Products Inc., would invent the Steadicam® which not only provided smooth shots, but enabled the camera operator to be anywhere on set without the inconvenience of tracks and/or dollies.
With the passing of each decade, the camera would evolve to become more mobile. Today, camera movement isn’t only limited by what the camera captures on set, it is also used in conjunction with CGI effects in post production, such as 3-D modeling which may create illusions of endless camera movement virtually anywhere, even through a keyhole.