You Cannot Escape Shaky Camera Syndrome

Illustration for article titled You Cannot Escape Shaky Camera Syndrome

During a real alien attack, most of us would have no clue what the hell was going on. And judging from both trailers, J.J. Abrams' Cloverfield will bend over backwards to simulate that state of confusion. The first trailer, especially, has a hand-held camera swooping and jostling as if the camera holder is running for his/her life. The picture jumps from image to image without any coherence. It's bold and intriguing. But if the whole movie's like that, it'll just be the latest in a long line of crappy science fiction with Parkinsons camerawork.


The worst recent offender, of course, was Transformers, which made no visual sense whatsoever during its half-hour climax, thanks to a jello-handed camera and lots of jump-cuts. But the trend is out of control, says Cinematical:

Most of today's "action" directors, I suspect, very simply don't understand action, so they use the shaky-cam as a way to hide their ineptitude. The lack of action and choreography is covered up in the sludge of fast film and fast editing.


It feels like a cheat, when you're selling a spectacle, to sell prestidigitation instead. And it feels like the opposite of good science fiction, which is all about illuminating the world, not making it more confusing on purpose. Image by Greefus Groinks.

Jeffrey M. Anderson's 400 Screens, 400 Blows - Shaking News [Cinematical]

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Cloverfield made me motion sick