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Favorite Camera Moves


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#1 Cody Jacobs

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 12:27 PM

Perhaps this topic has been discussed before, but I'm interested in hearing peoples general opinions.

My question is what are some examples of your favorite camera moves from the hundreds of films I'm sure we all have seen.

For me two Robert Richardson examples stick out. The first is from Casino in which the camera starts out perched extremely high above the sign of a bookies joint as Joe Pesci enters. With incredible fluidity the camera booms down to eye level with Pesci and turns into a long steadicam shot that follows him as he weaves around the crowded establishment to collect on a debt. I never even thought about how intricate of a shot that was until like the fifth time I watched the film because it fits in with the aesthtic that Richardson and Scorsese created so well that it was practically unnoticeable.

The second is more of a general example from Natural Born Killers in which the camera is constantly swiveling and canting this way and that motivated purely by the intensity of the character(s) being photographed.
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 07:34 PM

The restaurant shot from "Goodfellas" is one of my favorites.
Also, the opening scene from "Boogie Nights".
And of course the opening scene from "The Bonfire of the Vanities".
Oh, and the bathroom scene from "Kill Bill 1" is amazing.
These are all the kinds of shots that steadicam was made for.
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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 12:41 AM

The restaurant shot from "Goodfellas" is one of my favorites.
Also, the opening scene from "Boogie Nights".
And of course the opening scene from "The Bonfire of the Vanities".
Oh, and the bathroom scene from "Kill Bill 1" is amazing.
These are all the kinds of shots that steadicam was made for.



The Steadicam-looking shot in "Paths of Glory" when Kirk Douglas makes his way through the trenches. Talk about getting a sense of a character in one shot...phew!

Bear in mind, the Steadicam was years away from being invented by Garret Brown, but Kubrick already had the concept in his mind.
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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 06:49 AM

This one's an oldie but a goodie.

"The Crime of Monsieur Lange" (dir. Jean Renoir, France, 1935)

The film is about a mild-mannered, idealistic writer, Amidee Lange, who helps form a collective at the printing company where he works, which has been nearly bankrupted by his shady but charming boss, Batala. With the cops and the company's creditors hot on his tail, Batala flees Paris and stages his own death by derailing a train. He returns to Paris, disguised as a priest, intent on trashing the collective. When Lange discovers Batala's plan, he resolves to kill him and flee to Switzerland.

The setting: The printing company is on the second floor above a circular courtyard. It is nighttime, and the workers are celebrating the success of the company in a room on the floor below. Batala, dressed in a priest's habit, crosses the courtyard below. He runs into a woman who recognizes him and gasps. Above, Lange grabs a pistol from Batala's desk and and walks to the stairs, appearing and disappearing through windows. He descends.

The shot: The camera is in the center of the courtyard on a crane 25' off the ground. The camera begins on a wide shot of Lange on the second floor balcony looking down. The camera pans left 90 degrees and booms down to the first floor, following Lange through windows in the stairwell. Lange emerges from the stairwell into the courtyard and moves toward the camera into a medium-long shot, holding the gun. The camera tracks back and quickly pans left 180 degrees to reveal Batala and the woman. The camera tracks into a medium shot of them, catching their frightened faces as Lange enters frame left, sticks the gun in Batala's belly, and fires. Batala cries out in shock.

This is done in a single shot. For those who don't know, Renoir was a master of the long take, the moving camera, and staging in-depth. While his other films "Grand Illusion" and "The Rules of the Game" are more famous, this shot from "Monsieur Lange" is by far his most virtuosic.
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#5 Rod Otaviano

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 11:14 AM

The one when Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) kills Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) in the bathtube in "Road to Perdition" ... you see the camera follow him through the hall ... just one very long shot. One of my favorites.
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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 12:54 PM

This one's an oldie but a goodie.

This is done in a single shot. For those who don't know, Renoir was a master of the long take, the moving camera, and staging in-depth. While his other films "Grand Illusion" and "The Rules of the Game" are more famous, this shot from "Monsieur Lange" is by far his most virtuosic.

I wasn't aware of this shot, it sounds like it might have been the inspiration for the long shot in "Soy Cuba" where the camera descends from a rooftop, down flights of stairs, and ends up in a swimming pool. I'm pretty certain Kalatozov would have been more than a little bit familiar with the films of Renoir.
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#7 Jon Kukla

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 04:48 PM

I'm gonna be massively predictable and say the (second-to-)last shot of The Passenger. Too good to bother describing - watch the newly-struck print if you get a chance!
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 06:08 PM

Well there are some of the old favourites:

In North By Northwest when James Mason say 'Such problems are best dealt with at great hight,' and the camera moves up to look down on him and Martin Laundu.

In Phsyco when Norman's 'talking' to his mother and the camer stays out side the bedroom, and rises to look down on a birds eye of the hall as Norman carries her downstairs.

The opening continuous take in Touch of Evil, starting on a guy with a bomb.

The circular traking movements around the soldiers in Jean-Pierre Melville's Army in the Shadows.


I think Alfonso Curan is probably a present-day master of camera movement,

In Great Expectations, there is an amazingly long continuous tracking shot of Ethan Hawke running through the rain and into a restaurant to take Paltrow from her fiance.

In his Harry Potter film there are several noticable camera movements, one being when the camera flys in and out of a reflection on a wardrobe mirror as the children learn to battle a monster in the closet, another when the children run from the top of a clock tower and when the children go down the stairs the camera continues to fly through the moving clock pieces. Another more subtle use is when Harry's teacher is reasuring him and the camera creeps in on Harry's face then creeps back out again.

The camera movement Y Tu Mama Tambien is more 'rough' but it has a beautiful 'creeping' action collecting little snips of drama or detail, like when the 2 boys and the girl are in a restaurant chatting and the camera wonders of to show the elderly restaurent residence dancing in the back room. The most amusing is around a party where the two boys are dancing alone on the dance floor and the camera creeps of to show their friend and his 'first experience of group sex.'
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 12:34 AM

The one when Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) kills Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) in the bathtube in "Road to Perdition" ... you see the camera follow him through the hall ... just one very long shot. One of my favorites.

Yeah, that's a good one. And at the end of the shot you see the reflection of the bloody scene in the mirror. You can see Hanks put his hand on the door to make sure it stays in the right place for the reflection.
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#10 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:23 AM

Yeah, that's a good one. And at the end of the shot you see the reflection of the bloody scene in the mirror. You can see Hanks put his hand on the door to make sure it stays in the right place for the reflection.


My favorite in that film is when Tom Hanks is in the diner, eating and Jude Law walks in. The camera dollies in a bit to Hanks; Hanks stops chewing for a moment and the realization of who this is character is is never more evident.

A beautiful synergystic combination of photography, acting and direction.
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#11 Eden Lagaly-Faynot

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 06:02 AM

In Psycho when Norman's 'talking' to his mother and the camer stays out side the bedroom, and rises to look down on a birds eye of the hall as Norman carries her downstairs.


It's my favorite too for sure, the camera seems so free in this one !
I saw about the same movement in another movie but I can't remember the name :ph34r:. Maybe someone have an idea ?
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:05 PM

The Steadicam-looking shot in "Paths of Glory" when Kirk Douglas makes his way through the trenches. Talk about getting a sense of a character in one shot...phew!

Bear in mind, the Steadicam was years away from being invented by Garret Brown, but Kubrick already had the concept in his mind.


---I think it's called a dolly shot.
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#13 Mitch Gross

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:51 PM

The ending to "I Am Cuba" (Soy Cuba) is rather spectacular.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:40 PM

Although it isnt a true camera move, the rapid cuts from medium to close up on Hals eye in "2001" is one of my favorite and most dramatic cinematic moments. Im not sure why Kubrick didnt use a true zoom or a dolly shot there. Apollogies for no apostrophes; my keyboard isnt working right.

Regards,

Karl

Edited by Karl Borowski, 28 August 2006 - 02:42 PM.

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#15 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:50 PM

---Veronika getting off the bus and running through the crowd in 'Cranes are Flying'.

Bondarchuk's 'War and Peace' is full of amazing shots.
Natasha's first ball.

The battle of Borodino.

The burning of Moscow.

Most startling at Borodino is a rapid track beneath an artillery battery as it's firing. At the move ends a shell explodes sending a cannon cascading down hill landing at the foot of the camera.
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#16 Bob Hayes

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 12:03 AM

Charlton Heston finds a box of dynamite in ?Touch of Evil?. Its a great low angle indoor oner. Wells does a quick magic trick to dump his burning cigar before slapping one ofthe actors.
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#17 Adam White

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:34 AM

In his Harry Potter film there are several noticable camera movements, one being when the camera flys in and out of a reflection on a wardrobe mirror as the children learn to battle a monster in the closet, another when the children run from the top of a clock tower and when the children go down the stairs the camera continues to fly through the moving clock pieces. Another more subtle use is when Harry's teacher is reasuring him and the camera creeps in on Harry's face then creeps back out again.


That film (Prisoner of Askaban) has got so many good shots. Another shot of note is in a pub, where an adult walks harry away from the others to discuss serious matters. The use of the sillouettes hints at the impending darkeness as well as showing the directors aim to keep the audience on its toes.

Caught "25th Hour" on TV last night. . . Does anyone do tracking shots better?
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#18 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 03:28 AM

---I think it's called a dolly shot.


It's far more than the garden-variety dolly shot...
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