The Curse Of Shaky Cameras And 3D Movies

I have heard it said that directors like using shaky camera shots for action scenes as it makes it more real or exciting. However no one is fooled by this. In the cheaper films you can still see the vehicles travelling at ten miles an hour in the car chase sequence, and in the bigger budget films it just serves to distract from what would otherwise be good special effects.

The real reason they do it is because of course it is cheap and requires little skill. In older films impressive action sequences played out smoothly and clearly in front of you. One could see every little detail, so they had to get it right. This also meant considerable effort and planning as cameras would have to be set up on big cranes with gimbals or on rail tracks. Some of the great panoramic shots in movies must have taken days or even weeks to plan, prepare and shoot. But the end result was really worth it.

Another curse that seems to not want to go away is the 3D movie. I have seen a number, not having had the choice to see the 2D version. All were inferior with respect to colour saturation and contrast, looking dull and lacklustre. Also it does not really work that well, admittedly better than their last foray into this technology but still not good enough. Quite often items in sharp relief are blurred and some of the 3D effects simply just do not work and confuse the senses.

In actual fact most 3D movies make sufficiently little use of the effects to make it worth the drop in quality. I always go to see the 2D version of a movie and tend to boycott the 3D variant. It is funny, when I watched Avatar on the television, I enjoyed it far more than I had done in the cinema.

A plea directed to all film studios and makers: Please cut down on the shaky, cheap camera work and scrap 3D movies (or at least keep it as a novelty version for those that actually like it).

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2 thoughts on “The Curse Of Shaky Cameras And 3D Movies

  1. I couldn’t agree with your comments more. I would only add an additional mention of the epidemic use of under lit photography which obscures entire scenes to the point that it becomes suspect that the cinematographer might have left a lens cap on the camera.

    • Yes I forgot about that :-). The number of times that I have sat through scenes wondering what on Earth was going on because pretty much nothing was clearly visible on the screen… Also having indoor scenes lit by what looks like a meagre collection of 20 Watt bulbs in order to add `atmosphere’. It just ends up being so predictably depressing. Bad lighting is a very poor substitute for fine acting and good story telling. The Exorcist and Devil spring to mind as fine examples of spine tingling horrors that did not have a 20 Watt bulb in sight.

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