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The camera panning is a stylistic device when recording documentaries or feature films . The film camera is moved (panned) over a shot or scene in order to give the viewer an overview and to clarify the connections. In contrast to the tracking shot , the camera does not leave its location.

Pan Levels

  • Horizontal pan
  • Vertical pan or tilt . The camera movement resembles a nodding head.
  • Combination of both of the above pivot directions. This leads to the diagonal or - with different acceleration values ​​- to a curve shape.

Types of camera panning

Accompanying camera panning

The camera accompanies moving objects. The object is in the foreground, while the background appears blurred and restless and is no longer really perceived by the viewer. The pan speed is determined by the object. The accompanying panning does not necessarily have to be carried out horizontally or vertically, but you should pay attention to the composition of the image. So the horizon should always remain horizontal. The photographic counterpart is pulling along .

Slow camera panning

The slow panning of the camera informs the viewer about the surroundings. This swivel corresponds to looking and observing, which is why the swivel speed in this case should also be adjusted so that the viewer can look comfortably. This type of pan allows you to search for something (search pan) and highlight details.

Panorama pan (360 ° Pan, Circular Pan)

Due to the shape of the Sveti Ilija , the camera movement was somewhat restless during the panoramic view from the Pelješac summit
(Croatia 2015)

Complete rotation of the camera around its own axis in the horizontal direction.

Fast camera panning

This type of panning is almost never aimless, but rather points out certain information to the viewer. Often news is brought into the picture. This pan is very much connected to the plot of the film. Fast pans can also bring sudden reactions of the film characters into the picture, can make opponents even more contrasting than with shot-counter-shot. You can tell entire scenes without editing, switch back and forth between dialogue partners. Often, for example in a crime film, the quick pan can also be perceived as aggressive.

Tear pan (tear pan, wiper, swish pan, whip pan)

When panning, the camera is swept around very quickly horizontally before or after a quiet take. This connects two motifs without clearly recognizing the space in between. With this panning, hectic, nervous effects can be achieved and a change of location can be indicated. It is often used to switch from one take to another scene. At a tear swivel that starts at the end of a fixed or normally swiveled setting, another can be cut almost unnoticed in the same direction, which in turn can end on a stand. The tearing swivel is intended to cause the viewer to "tickle the eye" and trigger his or her orientation reflex.

Pan speed and direction

The perceived narrative time is changed by the speed of the panning. A quick pan therefore speeds up the felt time, while a slow pan stretches and slows it down. If there is no object on which the speed of the pan can be oriented, one should orient oneself according to the number of details to be recognized by the viewer. The more details the pan contains, the slower the pan should be.

The speed is also dependent on the focal length . The longer this is, the slower it should be panned, since the long focal length not only makes the objects appear larger, but also the panning speed. However, panning in telephoto position is very difficult, as every vibration is shown enlarged on the screen . Therefore it is easier to pan with normal or wide angle position.

If the pan is panned faster than the image resolution allows, a shutter effect occurs . In particular, vertical lines in the motif produce doubling and trembling images when you pan across them horizontally. When choosing the swivel speed, the recording method used must also be taken into account. In the following, with a low motion resolution, a correspondingly low swivel speed should also be selected.

A pan has a beginning and an end, at which the picture stands still. You don't cut into the movement for no reason. Before you perform a pan, you should know where it comes from and where it should lead, i.e. know the beginning and destination and, if necessary, have aimed at them on a trial basis. Failure to do this often results in jerky compensation and searching for an end position. In addition, the image content should have a statement at the beginning and at the end, otherwise the pan seems unnecessary.

The direction of movement also plays a role: depending on the culture (i.e. whether you read from left to right or vice versa), the viewer perceives the naturalness of a panning differently.

In amateur films, too many cut pans should usually be avoided.