View Full Version : (stealing) camera moves!

12 December 2009, 02:50 PM
I posted this last week in the animation board, but I thought this might be of interest to compositors as well.

We all know the importance of the camera, and the way it moves. Where people go to great lenghts to have their character animation just perfect, the camera might still only contain two keyframes, maybe an adjusted bezier handle here and there.
I find myself often struggling getting the moves to feel right, and sometimes keyframing just doesn't seem to do the trick (or maybe i'm just terrible at it).
I've found myself resorting to extreme measures: getting a real camera, film the move, 3d track it, clean it up, and use it in the 3d app. It really works, and the feel of the camera is just completely different, it has weight, inertia, etc.
Problem is this takes a lot of time, so I was wondering: is there any database with stock camera moves? Would be cool to have/make. 'Helicopter flyby-3', 'steadycam walking backwards-2', 'car-rig speeding', etc etc. Using animation layers these would be easily remappable to fit your scene, retaining the real feel of the cam.
Any thoughts about this?
Otherwise I'm gonna track all the cool shots from my favourite hollywood productions now, and collect a database myself (or would that violate copyright laws? interesting...)

12 December 2009, 05:40 PM
No database of them that I know of but with a little work you can learn to make them in 3d. You just need to figure out how they were created in the film first and then duplicate the mechanical properties of the rig. Approach shots like you we're a filmmaker. Don't combine moves that are impossible or improbable to do or use in the real world because that's what makes them look incorrect.

Many previz guys actually have a bunch of camera rigs built like ones in real life in a library hooked up in their 3d app of choice. Floor Dolly(with or without rails), Jib, Linear Tracker, Crane, Moco, Steadycam/Stabilizer, Shoulder Mount, etc... If you have a shoulder mount make sure it is in th 5-6 feet off the ground. It is much easier to create proper moves when the rig forces you to do make them.

As for the tracking method your describing, I only use that method to add a more natural handheld movement to the shot. The noise and bump you get from someone with a shoulder mount.

12 December 2009, 04:32 PM
Well, I totally agree that it is best practice in 3d to constrain yourself to real life camera's and rigs. Thinking like a cameraman does on a real set helps a lot with making convincing moves and shots.
But I'm not a previz guy, and want to have the camera feel absolutely real, i dont believe one can make a totally convincing handheld camera just using some noise and wobble 5-6 feet off the ground. maybe it's possible but with a lot of keyframing...
I look at it like motion capture database for cameras. It'd be brilliant...

12 December 2009, 06:22 PM
But I'm not a previz guy, and want to have the camera feel absolutely real, i dont believe one can make a totally convincing handheld camera just using some noise and wobble 5-6 feet off the ground.Heh, funny. I'll go tell that to everyone that on all the features I worked on. Shakey cam is very easy to do with very little work after you practice a tiny bit. Half the time we just add it in 2d.

12 December 2009, 03:14 AM
Thing like "WWRCD?" "What Would a Real Camera Do?"

There are lots of shots that seem to take their (impossible) inspirations from video games. As in real life, the "steady-cam" also gets used too much.

I just did a shot last week where the camera follows a person walking down a bridge about 20 feet off the ground ... from the side. The bridge is actually over a known-to-be dry space, so it was perfectly plausible that a boom would be put down at the bottom with a remote-control camera tracking the actor as the boom slowly rotates about 90 degrees CCW. It was trivially easy to set that up. At first I used a track-to constraint on the camera, then decided it shouldn't be so rigid. But the motion is a combination of boom rotation, camera rotation at the end of the boom, a short follow-zoom and DOF adjustment. The resulting shot looks good because it "rings true." It is "not quite perfect," and that to me "rings true" too.

Another thing to consider is that you should only select a few lenses, and use those consistently.

Oddly enough, a shot can "feel wrong" because the viewer has become conditioned to expect the little "cheats" that real filmmakers are obliged to do in their camera-setups. People watch hours and hours of television every day :hmm: and so I think they really come to expect shots that "look like television." :banghead:

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