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Quick Rant | Ian Guthridge.com
Ian Guthridge.com

Quick Rant

by Ian on Oct.06, 2009, under Rants

F@#$ THE SHAKY CAM!

Why oh why is it so freaking popular? It used to just stick to particularly INTENSE fight scenes in action movies… something about the INTENSITY of the scene causes an acute loss of the cameraman’s ability to hold his wrists rigidly.

The directors always tried to pass it off as intentional… something about immersion.  Their “peers” struggled to tell them about the wonderous invention of the tripod through their deep guffaws.

“But what about when the camera moves!?”  They asked smugly, thinking they had outsmarted their detractors.

“A dolly.” They replied plainly.

“What if I don’t have the room for track?”

“Then beg, borrow, or steal a stedicam.” They advised.

Alas the advice was for naught, and decades upon decades of work to develop technologies to stabalize the image were thrown away in favor of the ad-hoc look of a low budget documentary, or a local cable broadcast.

Why don’t they down sample the image while they are at it.

Or compress it via MPEG so I can feel like I am watching it on the internet.

I don’t need a clear picture. I also don’t need to shell out $10 to watch your “masterpiece”.

I just don’t get how waving the camera around like an epileptic 3 year old trying to record the flight of a drunk butterfly in a hurricane makes a scene more INTENSE.  The camera is a window into this [hopefully] interesting and engaging world you have created.

No, a window is to restrictive… Ah yes! A portal! It is a portal into your world. Your world should pull me in and smother me with LIFE.  I should walk out of the theater felling not that I had watched a great film, but that I had lived a great (funny/touching/etc) moment!

Yet every unwelcome jostle of that frame reminds me that I am not in your world, but merely observing it.  My suspension of disbelief shattered I can no longer hold back the clawing, acidic doubt, that has built up in the deep pit of my stomach, that there isn’t really anything to see beyond the unstable porthole. That the world and the characters that in habit it are just one giant, shiny, hollow facade. Devoid of any meaning, depth, or even interest.

*cough* Michael Bay *cough*

Is it seriously too much to ask for a little production value in a $200,000,000 film?  Just a little?  I mean I like explosions and all, but you could have afforded one of these…

Now my bile is spent, and I have returned to a more rational place, so I must admit that there are a few places that this effect is suitable. BUT, if it’s applied with the proper subtly I shouldn’t even notice it as a distinct element; it should blend with the other techniques you used seamlessly. PLEASE remember that there isn’t an excuse to make it look like your the camera operator is a Parkinson’s patient.  Take a look at Children of Men and District 9, I feel these films did a fair job of using this effect.

-Ian “in no way a credible source” Guthridge

(P.S. If you are feeling really ambitious, how about you even create some interesting charactors. Go watch Up, Wall-e, Toy Story, or heck any Pixar movie if you want to learn how to make deep, interesting characters. )

(P.P.S I am not joking.)

(P.P.P.S. Seriously, why are you still reading this drivle?)

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