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Improving your pans and other camera moves


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 01:38 AM

Hi, besides continual practice, how would you improve becoming smooth about panning, holding the camera steady, keeping the camera aimed center at say...a speaker that moves around, and other camera moves? Thanks in advance.
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#2 Jon Kukla

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 03:09 AM

Are you talking about handheld or would you be using a head? If the latter, would it be fluid or geared?
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 08:39 AM

Hi, besides continual practice, how would you improve becoming smooth about panning, holding the camera steady, keeping the camera aimed center at say...a speaker that moves around, and other camera moves? Thanks in advance.


I usually do it by holding the camera or head at some other point than the panhandle if it's a fluid head. This lets me move my whole body for most moves and it helps keep it very smooth. If you just do it a lot you'll find your method and make it work.

If you're talking about a geared head, the secret to getting good with one of those is to take it on a shoot and don't take a fluid head, as well. You'll get good fast. ;)
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#4 David Calson

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 09:46 AM

Are you talking about handheld or would you be using a head? If the latter, would it be fluid or geared?


all of the above.
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#5 Hal Smith

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 10:25 AM

Hi, besides continual practice, how would you improve becoming smooth about panning, holding the camera steady, keeping the camera aimed center at say...a speaker that moves around, and other camera moves? Thanks in advance.

One trick the old pros use for pans is to start the pan in the physically most uncomfortable/off-balance position and pan to a comfortable/balanced position.
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#6 Dan Goulder

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 10:37 AM

If you're using a fluid head, try using one that's built for even heavier duty than the camera you're using. The extra mass will smooth out your moves.
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#7 joefunk

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 11:27 AM

To answer the initial question NO there is no other way you can speed up the process of becoming a good operator/photographer etc... Practice makes perfect.
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#8 Brian Wells

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 06:15 PM

First, you've got to have a real fluid head (i.e. - fluid in both horizontal and vertical axis). Very few of the "DV" heads are completely fluid. Assuming you have a real fluid head ($1000+) that is capable of smooth diagonals, then it's just a matter of practice. I have found it very difficult to get smooth diagonals using anything less than heads in the $1K price range. Most skills are easier to master if you have access to the right tools than if you are stuck with inferior tools, in my observation. I recommend the Cartoni Focus as the bottom of the rung professional head if you want to achieve smooth pans and diagonals. The Vinten Vision 3 is also very nice, but it has a completely different feel than the Cartoni. I would avoid Sachtler and Miller in the sub $2k price range because they have very few adjustments compared to the others and are not as flexible for different types of cameras (primarily in the area of counter balance). If money is no object, then look into the O'Conner Ultimate DV. I have the Cartoni Focus and have found it to be an adequate head for my needs and certainly a notch above all others in its category. Hope this helps.
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