Man practicing advanced camera movements
12 December 2022 The basics of video production

Advanced Camera Movements

Explore advanced camera movements: jib shots, dolly zooms, and more, for cinematic marketing videos.

Ever watched a cinematic ad or promotional video and wondered, "How'd they get that shot?" Chances are, it's down to some advanced camera magic.

In the world of video production, the way the camera moves can make or break a scene. Let's pull back the curtain on some of these sophisticated techniques, shall we?

1. Jib Shots – The Sweeping Elegance

Imagine watching a shot start from a bird’s eye view, swooping down smoothly to focus on a subject at ground level. That’s the jib shot for you!

  • What's a Jib? Think of it as a see-saw. One end holds the camera; the other is counterweighted. The camera end can be moved up and down, offering a unique vantage point that's different from handheld or tripod shots.

  • Why Use It? A jib shot introduces a sense of grandeur. Whether you’re showcasing a product in its environment or setting a scene, the jib shot can offer a smooth, cinematic flourish that really grabs attention.

2. Dolly Zooms – Hitchcock’s Favourite

Remember that vertigo-inducing feeling in movies where the background seems to move independently from the foreground? That's a dolly zoom!

  • The Mechanics: It's a tricky one. As the camera moves towards (or away from) a subject on a dolly, the zoom on the camera is adjusted in the opposite direction. This creates an unsettling effect where the subject remains the same size, but the background appears to stretch or compress.

  • Why It's Cool: First popularised in Hitchcock's 'Vertigo', the dolly zoom can evoke emotions of shock, realisation, or unease. Perfect for dramatic product reveals or to accentuate key moments in a storyline.

3. Tracking Shots – Keeping Up with the Action

Want to follow a subject as they move? Tracking shots are your go-to.

  • How It’s Done: The camera is mounted on a dolly, a car, or even a drone and then moves alongside the subject. It’s a bit like a cinematic shadow, keeping pace with the action.

  • Marketer’s Gold: Imagine showcasing a day in the life of a customer using your product. Tracking shots can make viewers feel like they're part of the journey, creating an immersive brand experience.

4. Crane Shots – Reaching for the Skies

Crane shots are jib shots on steroids. When a jib just won’t cut it in terms of height or range, in comes the crane.

  • Sky’s the Limit: Using a large crane, the camera can start at ground level and rise to considerable heights, often used in films for dramatic cityscape or landscape reveals.

  • Why It Matters: Launching a new skyscraper-bound office? Or maybe a resort spread across acres? A crane shot can capture the expanse, scale, and grandiosity of it all.

Wrapping up

Advanced camera movements aren't just techy jargon for video pros; they're the secret sauce that can elevate a video from 'meh' to 'marvellous'. When planning your next video campaign, understanding these techniques can give you a leg up in brainstorming sessions.

So, next time your video production team suggests a dolly zoom or a jib shot, you won't just nod along – you’ll know exactly what's coming and the impact it can bring. Ready for your close-up?

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Emily Malone

Written by Emily Malone Marketing Manager for Venture — a full-service video production agency that specialises in producing creative videos & campaigns that get real results.

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