No Handholding the Camera

Shooting Handeld Can Cause Motion Sickness

Technology changes, we all understand this. As technology changes, so must individuals and businesses. There was a time when video cameras weighed around 30lbs and had a padded area on the bottom, so that the camera operators could hold the camera on their shoulders. This kept the camera steady, but still allowed for nice, smooth movements.

As technological advancements hit the media equipment-market, cameras became much smaller and lighter, with the average camera weighing in at around 6-8lbs. Many of the cameras were too small to incorporate a shoulder-mount, so it became necessary to steady the camera on a tripod, steadicam, dolly, or crane, but new entrants into the market (new production facilities) began handholding the camera, resulting in a nauseating experience for the audience.

cloverfield-movie-posterA film released in 2008, called Cloverfield was classified as an American Sci-Fi Thriller, and attracted crowds from the 18-30 year old demographic, but the audience wasn’t prepared for the experience.

Much of the film was shot with the Panasonic HVX200-a quality camera for some things. The problem wasn’t so much the camera, but the way that camera operators shot the film…handholding the camera during much of the scenes. This had quite an effect on the viewing audience.

As the movie began, and those handheld shot were projected onto the screen, many of the moviegoers became nauseated and began to vomit inside the theater. The film was meant to look like amateur footage and it obtained that goal.

It’s never a good idea to handhold the camera, if at all possible. There may be situations when that is the only possible method for getting the shot, so shoot handheld under those conditions, but never as a regular method of filming.

We always use the proper steady equipment for each production that we film. The result looks more cinema-like, and the viewers receive a much better experience.

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