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When to use tripod for dialogue scenes?


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#1 tim westover

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 12:52 PM

I'm confused on when to use a tripod opposed to using a shoulder rig. I notice in many films that the camera seems to almost always have a very subtle movement keeping the actors framed. Is this usually done on a tripod by subtly panning and tilting or is this done with a rig. I realize this could completely depend on the film but when is a tripod used in most cases? Thanks.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:19 PM

Usually you use the camera mounted on a tripod or a dolly (possibly a crane) for dialogue scenes in a narrative film, you pan or tilt to maintain framing as the actors move. In this case, the camera is mounted into a fluid or gear head, which allows the operator to smoothly follow the action. Not quite the same, but depending on the movement required and the terrain the camera can mounted onto a Steadicam or similar body mount.

Hand held is style decision, which needs to be justified as part of the story telling, it's not the default set up for shooting dialogue.
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:23 PM

Almost always if it's just straight dialogue. If you have to pan quickly between characters and then move with them you could go handheld but as a default go to a tripod and not hand held. Instead of a tripod most films and TV are shot on a dolly. Tripods are for mostly outdoors on rugged terrain or for a quick set up. You can use them on a set if you don't have a dolly. Sometimes you need to grab a quick shot without having to move the dolly or maybe you have space limitation. But, most shots require a little camera movement other than panning or tilting so the dolly is essential. On shoots with a budget, you have a crew and setting dolly track is what they do.. Think of it in terms of what the shot requires. What is it that you want or need to make a shot successful or to fulfill the directors vision..
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#4 Anthony L Spano

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 05:03 PM

I use a tripod for everthing...................................Nino
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#5 tim westover

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 05:03 PM

Thanks for the quick response. What would you say are some common dolly movements used in dialogue?
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#6 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 05:51 PM

Thanks for the quick response. What would you say are some common dolly movements used in dialogue?


The most common one is probably tracking along in front of walking actors as they talk. Camera moves are usually motivated by the performances and actions of the actors, possibly revealing a psychological aspect of the interaction and the characters' relationship.
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