Friday, February 17, 2012

Shaky Camera

Nate goes handheld for an intense scene in an
 unique location. photo by L.A. JeJeune Photography

We have had a few viewers raise issues about the handheld camera style of Once You Leave (usually referred to by them as "shaky camera") and we have a few reasons why we used this style:

ONE shooting handheld can put the director/camera operator in the middle of the action with the actors and make it possible to capture anything at any moment- to be highly mobile is a must for a story like this.

TWO the entire series stays with the lead actress, Kayla, the entire time. We never leave her. We are in her world and her world is chaotic and unsure, even crumbling in many cases.

THREE there is a lot of emotion running thru this story and the director/cameraman (Nate) felt a need to have constant movement, it's alive and breathing, there are even times where Nate used a technique he created called "drifting" where he will slightly drift or sway back-and-forth on a character that may or may not be moving.

FOUR the project was shot on a non-existent budget and time was crucial- shooting handheld kept the project moving along in the quick pace it needed.

and finally Nate just enjoys shooting this way, he hates to be tied down and it was a blast to have this surge of energy constantly running thru as he captured some rich scenes and emotions. 

What it brings to the story  is a sense of urgency, chaos and discomfort- maybe you're not supposed to feel good- this story is tough and deals with tough subject matter. Maybe feel like Kayla does for a while and be in her shoes... It makes a statement that the world is not secure and safe, there is no sure footing. 

So we can assure you it was thought out and for a reason.  Whenever he could, Nate would brace the camera on something, or himself but almost always insisted on holding it even after he got a pinched nerve in his hand and bicep tendinitis.  But there are a few scenes where the camera is actually on a tripod but we loosened the tripod head severely and "drifted" the camera here too, can you tell which scenes these are?

**-- as a side note there is a great handheld shot at the beginning of the film La Vie rêvée des anges (The Dreamlife of Angels, 1998) in which Nate paid homage to in episode 1.01 of Once You Leave

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