MUVC WORKSHOP MARCH 2022 If you want to avoid amateurish zooming, panning, tilting in your videos, then it’s simple...DON’T! However, if you can’t help yourself, then here are some guidelines that may help. And remember, there are no right or wrong methods in creating videos. It is an art form and therefore you are free to experiment and deploy any technique you choose. BUT, if you do choose to pan, zoom, or tilt, then it’s probably best to aim for the most professional result possible. So, here are a few guidelines that you may find beneficial: ZOOMING Turn you camera’s digital zoom OFF, and leave it off. You only need OPTICAL zoom, as beyond that your camera simply zooms digitally, and this same effect can be achieved by you in post. Better to eliminate the temptation to capture footage that is A) pixelated, and B) suffers from excessive “sportscast” syndrome - see below. Zoom IN when you want to draw the viewers’ attention to a particular subject in the distance, increasing interest as you go. Zoom OUT when you want to increase the viewers’ sense of awe and wonder for an ever-expanding view of your entire subject. ALWAYS use a tripod or some other method of holding the camera absolutely steady. The entire zoom transition MUST be silky smooth and free of variation. Pick a FIXED point in the distance and do not waver from that point as you zoom, either in or out.  Maintain a CONSTANT SPEED over the entire zoom. Slower is better than faster. (You can always speed it up in post...easier than slowing down depending on FPS) If possible, start and finish with a pause in the zoom. Not essential, but nice. NEVER do a “sportscast” zoom of say 600mm (equivalent) all the way back to 25mm. You are not covering the cricket for a live audience! NEVER combine a zoom with a pan or a tilt. That is the mark of a REAL amateur. Consider filming a wide shot in 4K and introducing the zoom in post. Digital zooming in post results in a smoother and more constant outcome than is generally possible with a manually operated camcorder. Before you touch that rocker switch on your camera...pause and consider WHY you are zooming. Is it really necessary? And finally, you might consider achieving the same outcome by “stepping” in or out with a series of fixed focal length shots, either increasing or decreasing zoom for each shot. Two or three “steps” can result in a much more seamless outcome and yet achieve the same viewer experience. Importantly, this method dramatically reduces the risk of an amateurish result. PANNING Panning, as distinct to following or tracking a subject, is used when you would like to invite the viewer to see a larger swathe of scenery than your camera’s lens, at its widest, will allow. You can pan left or right for the same outcome, but it may pay to plan your pan (!) so that you finish on the most interesting subject matter. That way the interest level will build during your pan rather than diminish. It is crucial to carry out the pan at a constant speed and on the same plane, usually horizontal. NEVER waiver from that fixed plane.  Once again, SLOWER panning will produce a better outcome that faster.  It is far better to use a fluid head tripod for your panning than to attempt it hand-held. But...if you must do it hand-held, then three small tips: 1. Don’t use extended arms as there is less critical mass to keep the camera steady. Better to hug the camera to your waist and rotate your entire body. This also helps maintain a constant plane. 2. Plant your feet facing the END of your pan, then rotate your upper body to the start of the pan. Begin filming and then rotate your body back to alignment with your planted feet. This results is reducing physical effort as your pan is executed. 3. Don’t hold your breath as you pan. Instead, take a deep breath before you begin, then exhale slowly as you conduct the pan. (Thanks Bob) Again, NEVER EVER combine a pan with either a zoom or a tilt.  And as before, consider carrying out the pan digitally in post. If you can film the scene from far enough back, then post is an excellent way to achieve a silky smooth result. And with panning, you won’t need to shoot in 4K - 1080 will do just fine. Once more, before you start your physical gyrations to achieve your pan, stop and ask yourself if it is really necessary. Will it enhance your viewers’ experience, or will an amateurish pan just look exactly that...amateurish? And lastly, consider the option of combining a number of static shoots to achieve the same effect. Shoot, for example, to your left, then rotate the camera 45 degrees horizontally to the right and shoot again, and then repeat. You’ll finish with three static scenes, all of which will be steady and high quality, and which will deliver the same scope of wide vision you are aiming for.  TILTING Simple...follow the same guidelines as for panning, only in the vertical plane. But...consider ZOOMING instead, as this may deliver the same result without the extra challenge of steady shooting over the vertical plane. Picture Nelson’s Column in your could tilt from the bottom up to Nelson himself sitting on the top. Or, you could zoom out from him, as a fixed point, to reveal the column as you go, placing him in context. Easier to achieve a more professional result. Just a thought. So, in conclusion, it may pay to carefully consider what your desired outcome is BEFORE you carry out any panning, zooming, or tilting. Is it necessary? Can I achieve it smoothly and professionally? Will it add to my intended plan for the video? Are there alternatives? Remember, there’s nothing wrong with panning, zooming, and tilting, BUT there is a lot wrong with AMATEURISH panning, zooming, and tilting.  Oh, and as a final thought, there’s also nothing wrong with significant camera movement during filming, as long as it is INTENTIONAL. If it is unintentional your audience can tell the difference. Best to avoid any risk of this by using a tripod, monopod, or other method to stabilize your camera. And unless you want the absolute widest shot your camera can capture, always turn you image stabilization ON, whether it be optical, electronic, or hybrid.