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Old November 6th, 2015, 12:26 PM   #1
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Shaking on purpose

I've noticed a trend in a lot of commercial, reality shows, weddings, etc, where the 'lack of steadiness' is probably on purpose. I call it ADD shooting, I know it's done to keep the 'eyes' interest.

I freak out when my shot isn't steady. But I may be in the minority. I guess my thought process is, how do you recover from it, if you shoot non-steady on purpose. I know we can add some movement in post, but nothing replaces purposeful shake. I wonder how we got here... I'm thinking outloud.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: Shaking on purpose

Wikipedia says that a shaky camera gives a ad hoc, electronic news-gathering, or documentary film feel. It suggests unprepared, unrehearsed filming of reality, and can provide a sense of dynamics, immersion, instability or nervousness.The technique can be used to give a pseudo-documentary or cinéma vérité appearance to a film."

and then they say:
"Too much shaky camera motion can make some viewers feel distracted, dizzy or sick" :)

I personally don't like films that use shake as a constant effect throughout the movie, it only makes sense in some cases where it enhances a scene; like in a car chase or in a fight but I prefer nicely framed stable shots.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 01:59 PM   #3
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Re: Shaking on purpose

I think the British version of The Office popularized the technique. imho at least.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Shaking on purpose

I think there are two reasons to do it:

The faux doc/fly on the wall feel as stated, but also can convey chaos, angst, horror, confusion, etc. etc. Think of a character discovering her child missing suddenly. . .perhaps the shots up til that point were tripod/stedicam/etc., smooth, "relaxed", child goes missing--BOOM, now we're spinning all around her, shaky CUs of her face, crossing the axis repeatedly. . .can be very effective.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Shaking on purpose

I've noticed the shaky cam effect on some low-action scenes, as if they are trying to create a sense of high energy. For me, it just creates a sense of wanting my money back. Reeks of cheap production, like the editor(s) are going through the footage and at the boring parts saying, "oh we need some shaky cam here... and here... oh, and here..."


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Old November 6th, 2015, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: Shaking on purpose

Watch the behind-the-scenes footage for Star Trek Into Darkness - JJ Abrams himself is quite often standing beside the camera vigorously shaking it himself while action scenes are being shot.

And, there are commercial plugins that include a customizable shaky cam look. I try to avoid as much shake as I can, but a lot of people seem to consider it a desirable, edgy look.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 09:18 PM   #7
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Re: Shaking on purpose

I read something about this some years ago and frankly it makes sense.
The shaking camera is used to make it look like your eye movement. Eyes move unlike on a tripod or other type of stabilizer etc, and the feel of reality that your brain gets from a tripod camera or a handheld (shoulder mount) with movement is completely different.
If I wanted the shaky camera look, I would go to the long end of my lens and frame by moving back or forth. Trust me no one can hold a camera on their shoulder perfectly steady for more than a minute or 2 if it's at the long end of the lens. Try it sometime. I don't mean a WA lens but something in the "normal" to tele range.
It's a more dynamic feel or so I've been told.
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Old November 6th, 2015, 09:44 PM   #8
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Re: Shaking on purpose

I agree with Don that it is meant to replicate the viewpoint of a character in that scene. I'm talking about swaying, like a person might do, and not shakiness. It brings the viewer into the scene more and makes it feel more real.

I think it works where there is a possibility that there is a character off camera whose identity the viewer can assume. In many scenes, this is not the case and this effect detracts from them.

In weddings and other event videos, I like it as long as it's not jittery.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 02:47 AM   #9
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Re: Shaking on purpose

Shaking camera shots have been around for sometime. They came as part of using hand held cameras and were used since the 1950s on a number of feature films. Although, even earlier, Abel Gance uses some pretty wild stuff in "Napoleon" (1927) .
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Old November 10th, 2015, 06:55 AM   #10
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Re: Shaking on purpose

"I can't watch those older action-thriller movies. The camera work is much too stable."

- Said nobody ever.
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