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Guest Message by DevFuse


Deliberately crappy camerawork

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9 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   AntAltMike


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Posted 02 April 2014 - 05:21 PM

I got rid of cable a year or so ago. Actually, cable got rid of me. I was leaching off someone else's cable subscription and when he dropped cable, I chose not to pay the bill myself. I am lucky to be in overlapping major DMAs, Washington, DC and Baltimore, so I get all the "rerun" subchannels except RTV, if that is what they still are calling it, and I get five different non-profit TV stations including 12 MegaHertz subchannels, so all I'm missing that I might care about is ESPN.

One thing that does bother me, however, is that when I am looking for reruns late at night and early in the morning, a slew of the shows are fairly modern reruns of shows that I never watched first run and that use the annoying, shaky, hand held camera operation. And not only is the panning and reaiming unstable, they use jerky zoom-ins and zoom-outs that occur mid-sentence and are done by camera operators who are so uncoordinated that when they zoom, they jerk the camera off-line and back, and overzoom and then back off.

The first show that I remember trying to watch first run that was shot this way was "The Shield". I never made it through a single episode, even though I was partial to it because I had enjoyed Michael Chickless in The Commish.

What exactly is that kind of ham-fisted camera operating supposed to accomplish? It has to be done on purpose, but what is the purpose? And for that matter, when a camera is crudely zoomed in and jerked off centering for an instant, isn't that lateral jerking fake? I mean, isn't zooming done electronically now, rather than by twisting the lens mount?

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#2 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 05:36 PM

I blame Blair Witch. The handheld jerk camera faking "reality TV" has made it into many show.

The other shot that tends to annoy is the circular track shot where the camera spins around a pair or group of people in conversation. It is another reason not to watch TV.
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#3 OFFLINE   inkahauts


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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:50 PM

Nah. It's nypd blue that caused it IMHO.

#4 OFFLINE   dpeters11


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Posted 02 April 2014 - 07:28 PM

I think the strangest camerawork I've seen lately is Scandal.

#5 OFFLINE   gov



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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:01 PM

Another annoying technique is how short the 'shots' are.


Although a favorite movie of mine, Dark City is a particularly bad offender.  As I recall, the average shot length of that movie is under 3 seconds.

#6 OFFLINE   djlong


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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:54 AM

I seem to recall that originally being called "MTV-editing", after the quick-cut style that most music videos used in the 1980s.


Some shows know they do this.  In one of the before-a-new-season recaps (Like a version of "our story so far", but for a half hour) of Battlestar Galactica, they were doing a quick-cut synopsis of so-much of what had happened the previous season and, in the rapid-fire voice-over I heard "...where they cut off the edges of of paper for some reason and nobody can hold a camera steady".

#7 OFFLINE   AntAltMike


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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:02 AM

Short shots don't annoy me... except when I am evaluating the pictures from a hotel TV headend I am setting up and the channel I am working on is in commercials. Nearly all commercials flash pictures at a rate of about one per second, making it impossible to compare incremental changes when adjusting brightness, color level, sharpness, etc.

What I am talking about here is what appears to be deliberate, amateurish handling of the camera that must have been done for some psychological effect on its audience, like making something seem urgent, or stressful, or natural, but which doesn't have the desired effect on me, as evidenced by the fact that I am impelled to change the channel.

Edited by AntAltMike, 03 April 2014 - 09:35 AM.

#8 OFFLINE   Nick


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Posted 03 April 2014 - 08:34 AM

Another annoying technique is how short the 'shots' are.

Although a favorite movie of mine, Dark City is a particularly bad offender.  


As I recall, the average shot length of that movie is under 3 seconds.


About the average attention span of today's youthful target audience.


As a one-time professional videographer, I have long lamented what

I call  machine-gun camera work. Slice-and-dice editing, short-shots

and flouncy-bouncy hand-held shots get on my last nerve.


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#9 OFFLINE   4HiMarks


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Posted 03 April 2014 - 11:58 AM

I don't notice the zoomimg problems. The circling around shot does annoy me, though. It was particularly bad on Leverage.

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#10 OFFLINE   Rich


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Posted 03 April 2014 - 12:05 PM

Seems as if it's a personal choice, much like filming movies in B&W as Woody Allen is prone to do (I think that statement is true, if not please correct me).



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