A couple of months ago, I created a video tutorial to show how camera movement can affect your story. The take away from the video and article was that filmmaking should be about the sexiest camera movement, but instead the focus should be on camera movement that fits your story. Learning how to put my story first was something repeatedly drilled into my head while attending a workshop by filmmakers “Stillmotion” last year. Stillmotion's story-first approach has been the key to their success and has helped them land huge contracts shooting the Superbowl, Callaway Golf and Canon just to name a few.
As I noted in my Slider vs. Jib vs. Steadicam article:
“When dealing with the visuals of any story, composition, lens choice, lighting, color grading and camera movement all need to work seamlessly together to keep your audience engaged.”
When it comes to lens choice, the first question filmmakers usually ask is “What focal length should I use?” and “How much do I want to visually compress my image”. Although this is important to your story, Stillmotion has shifted the focus (pardon the pun) to the often-underestimated power of depth of field.
In their video, Patrick covers three different ways to shoot a scene. In true Stillmotion fashion he merely shows the examples and leaves the decision up to the viewer. His final thought is an important one:
"Just like any filmmaking tool, we have to make sure we’re using it effectively. Just because we have a Steadicam, doesn’t mean we should be shooting with it for every single shot. Likewise, just because we’re now able to have a super shallow depth of field, doesn’t mean that it makes sense, or is propelling our story if we use it for every single shot."
Check out more awesome Stillmotion tutorials on their blog.
Feel free to leave a comment below telling me which storytelling component I should cover next.