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Camera Movement

The first three common movement terms are orientational - the camera itself does not change position, and is usually mounted on a stationary tripod which it can rotate smoothly on.


Panning refers to horizontal rotation of the camera.


Tilt is just what it sounds like - the camera tilts up or down.


Roll is rotation around the Z axis, meaning the camera remains pointed at the same subject.

The following terms describe translational movement, meaning the camera's position actually changes during the move but it's rotation does not.


A "Dolly" is a wheeled platform which the camera and tripod can be mounted on. When describing camera movement, "Dollying" refers to rolling the camera forward or back on a Dolly. If you bring the camera in closer to your subject the move is referred to as "Dolly In" and if you are pulling back away from your subject the term is "Dolly Out".


Trucking is sideways movement of the camera. You would use a dolly for this, but instead of moving in and out you would "truck left" or "truck right".


A crane shot involves moving the camera in a vertical direction, either "crane up" or "crane down".

Like many of the other compositional terms we have covered, these movements can be combined describe a more complex shot. For instance, the camera may crane down from a high angle shot, tilting to keep the main character on screen, as it trucks left to follow the character's movement.