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by Allen Kingsbury & Jarret Brown

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How you hold your camera can make a big difference in how your video looks to your audience. Shaky Cam—rough hand held camera movement—is widely used in film making to give a film a documentary or real life feel.

Shaky Cam (from Hill Street Blues)
On television it was made popular by the TV show Hill Street Blues. This intentional use of hand held camera may be appropriate to your video, but in most cases a stable camera gives better results.

Compare these two examples. The first is hand-held; the other is on a tripod. Which would you rather look at? Modern cameras do have built-in image stabilization. So you may be able to hand hold a camera with adequate stability. However, if you can, a tripod will always give you better results.

The same shot this time using a tripod.

Note: When you zoom in with a handheld camera, the image stabilization doesn't work as well.

Remember, a level camera is very important.

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