Basic Camera Setups

Basic Camera Setups

In order to achieve the desired shots your script calls for you are going to have to use a variety of different types of camera setups.  Below is a lit of the most commonly used camera setups along with a short description.  At the bottom of the list is a video from the IAFT that gives examples of all the different setups.

Static camera:

with a static camera setup both the camera ad the subject remain stationary in the frame.

Static Camera, moving subject:

The camera is stationary while the action moves within the frame.


Compensating to the right or left.


Compensating up or down.

To achieve a panning or tilting shot the camera is mounted on one of two types of camera supports, a fluid head or a geared head.

With a fluid head you physically move the camera up and down or side to side with the use of a pan handle.  It’s then mounted on a tripod, crane or other stable shooting platform.

With the geared head you move the camera with a set of wheels, which helps produce a more stable shot because the cameraman is not actually touching the camera and can really help get a smoother shot when using a big lens.

the left wheel moves the camera from side to side and the right wheel moves it up and down.

The moving camera, static subject:

The camera moves while the subject remains stationary.  Moving the camera into or away from the subject and increase or decrease the importance of it.  This helps give the audience a sense of involvement and draws them into the action.

Another technique you can use is dollying the camera into the characters face and emphasize the moment of realization.  The actor will usually be showing some kind of stronger emotion like surprise, anger or shock.

Moving camera, moving subject:

The camera and subject are both moving through space and help give the audience a sense of involvement

Tracking shot:
The camera is panning or tilting to follow the subject which is moving through space.