Skip to main content

Improve Your Video and Animations - Vary Your Camera Shots

A lot of first time video digital camera owners don't have access to a tripod and vary what their camera films through their own natural movement when filming a scene (and going overboard with the zoom function).

However once they start to learn technique and story telling they soon discover that fixed (usually tripod camera mounted) shots with minimal use of panning the camera and using the zoom function are how stories are more conventionally told through the lens.

On GoAnimate the camera is replaced by the scene stage and how it is framed using the CUT, PAN and ZOOM frame tools. Whilst this article is focused on GoAnimate, the principle applies to almost any film medium.

Below are two videos of the same 'Where's your Helmet?' joke animation. The first uses a single, fixed camera shot to film the entire scene, with a panning shot at the end (which is needed so as not to spoil the joke). The second uses variable (or multiple) camera shots to tell the same joke. This is the version that I originally published.


Fixed Camera Shot


Variable Camera Shot

Which do you think is better from a storytelling point of view?

The first is the equivalent of fixing the camera to a tripod and only moving it when the panning shot is required. The joke still works and, because this is a short animation it doesn't become too tedious. However imagine if the conversation went on for five minutes or more with the same camera shot. Never changing.

In the second version it starts with an extremely wide shot (known as an 'establishing shot' to familiarize the viewer with the whole scene). The wide shot shows us one character standing with a second walking towards him.

It then cuts to a medium wide shot that brings us closer to the characters and makes us feel part of the conversation as the first begins to talk. This shot also establishes that the first guy to talk is actually talking to the second guy because they are both in shot.

After the second guy answers the question the shot then changes to a close up of the first guy as he continues to talk. It's not absolutely necessary to do this (as indicated by the Fixed Camera example) but what it does is focus the viewers attention on just that character as he speaks - in much the same way as the second guy would also be focused on the first guy. The change in camera shot also gives your eyes something new to look at as this conversation progresses.

We then cut back to a medium wide shot so we can see the second guys reaction to what the first guy is saying - as you would if you were actually standing with these two as they spoke. As soon as the first guy said something that you know is going to get a reaction from the second, you'd want to see him react.

Hopefully you're getting the idea. Almost any video or animation can be improved by varying the camera shot between wide shots, medium shots and close ups. Use the choice of shot to focus the viewer's attention on the most important elements of the scene or the things you need them to notice.

Usually it's the characters talking that you want to focus on but, provided you've set up your scene with a good establishing shot, you can focus on almost any other part of a scene, even whilst a character is talking. As demonstrated in my GoAnimate tutorial, The Scene, that I created for GoAnimators several years ago (below)(Note that GoAnimate's PAN, CUT and ZOOM tools have changed since this video was made).



Learning this simple technique of varying your camera shots can dramatically improve the professionalism of your videos. Although flashy special effects can really grab attention nothing beats a good story told well. Learning to move the camera around is the first big step in telling a story well.

Comments

  1. You taught me this trick right away when I first got on board with GA....didn't know nothin bout zooms, cuts or pans. I remember that very well. Best advice I ever go on GA. Gonna go learn some more tricks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knowing how to use the ZOOM, CUT and PAN tools well makes such a huge difference that, even if you learnt nothing else, you could still tell a fairly professional looking story that would stand streets apart from a complete beginner.

      It's the main reason why my GoAnimate Better: The Scene was my very first tutorial.

      Delete
  2. Came by to try and find the blog post about the 12 shots of moving making (Title was something like that.) Found this instead. I don't have time to read it now, but I'll be back. Here is the link to forum if you want to check it out.

    http://goanimate.com/thread/6120665

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc. I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations. I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Voicemod - Free and Easy to Use Voice Changer/Modulator Application

Voicemod is a real time voice changer app. A common problem for hobbyist animators is finding people to voice characters. Friends are often called in to our no budget productions because they're friends and they're usually happy to help. However friends aren't always available and/or willing, and hiring voice actors can be expensive if you're making a lot of short animations just for fun. In desperation you start voicing all your own characters but quickly realize your vocal range extends to only about three different voices. This is where  Voicemod  may help. Voicemod is a free dedicated, real time voice modifying app for Windows (other OS's are in the works). It has a very simple interface that makes it easy to alter the sound of your voice to any saved voice profile with a single click. It also makes it very easy to modify any profile or even create your own voice modifications from scratch. Before I go further, while Voicemod is free you are limited

Blender 2.8 Amazes with 2D Animation Features. Might Be the All-in-One Animation Studio for You

Hero - still from a 2D animated short created in Blender 2.8 with Grease Pencil. There are a number of animation apps that like to promote themselves as the one tool for all your animation needs and, while many are certainly very powerful, I think Blender 2.8 , released earlier this year, may be the closest yet. If you're not familiar with Blender it's been almost the go to tool, since at least 2002, for anyone wanting to learn 3D animation on a budget - and nothing is easier on the budget than completely free. With the release of 2.8 not only is Blender a complete 3D animation tool, it's now also a complete 2D animation tool. That's right you can use it to create 2D, hand drawn animation, motion graphics, and bone rigged 2D characters. As well, it has plugins that can give 3D animation that 2D look. Hence my suggestion that Blender 2.8 is truly the one tool for all your animation needs (because Blender is also very capable at VFX - think of any 'live acti

Learn Moho Pro 12 Free Using SmithMicro's Own 104 Video Tutorials Sorted into a Logical Order of Progression

So you've bought Smith Micro's Moho Pro 12 along with the Moho, 10 hour, 104 Video Tutorials Add On pack so you can get learning right away... only you can't. For whatever reason, the video tutorials aren't sorted into any logical order of progression making them hard to follow. Yeah, I've been there, only I've done what Smith Micro should have done and sorted all the video tutorials into a logical order of natural progression for you. That is, each tutorial builds upon what you learned in previous videos and you won't suddenly come up against some feature you've never used before, unless that feature is what the video tutorial is about.

Review: Headshot Plugin for Reallusion's Character Creator 3

Headshot for CC3. Quite possibly the best 3D Avatar I've made of myself in any 3D application. Creating a realistic 3D human avatar is a whole lot easier with Reallusion's new Headshot Plugin for Character Creator 3. The plugin is an AI powered extension that can generate 3D digital humans from one photo. Which sounds like an amazing proposition but, in practice, if you're trying to achieve a specific likeness to an actual person, Headshot will give you an excellent base to work from. Headshot has two modes, Auto and Pro. Auto Mode Auto is well worth a try if you have an ideal photo of a front facing person that is properly lit and posed to Headshot's optimum requirements. It's also the only mode that will take a crack at generating a hair model. I grabbed an image of Harrison Ford, dragged it into Headshot without changing any of the default settings (other than specifying 'male' and selecting an 'old male' setting) and this is what I

Artbreeder - Using AI created Character and Background Content in your Animations

A selection of User/AI generated images from Artbreeder. If you're looking for an endless supply of 2D character and background images for your animations then Artbreeder , an online Artificial Intelligence (AI) that generates image mash-ups you can tweak as much as you like, could be the ultimate content library. What is Artbreeder? Artbreeder is free to use though there are various paid plans, that give you additional features, such as higher resolution download images or more settings to play with. All images created on the site are Public Domain (CC0 License) and can be used in commercial projects. Using Artbreeder's online app you can generate head shot portraits, full body characters, landscapes, and other scenes simply by choosing two or more existing images to mash together then, using a series of sliders, to select which traits from each image you wish to lean toward in the final image. Photo Comparison - Top is my original uploaded photo. Bottom is Artbreeder's ap