Crappy Camera/editing in documentaries.

That’s just pathetic. One of the Rocky movies, maybe the one with Dolph Lundgren (sp?) had TONS of swish pans in the fight scenes. They used it to build tension and get the audience agitated because without it, I suspect the fight scenes were just awful.

It is a core complaint. Hand in hand does the snap-fire cuts. Watch “The View”. They cannot go 2 seconds without a cut. It is utterly maddening.

The antithesis of this trend is out there, but hard to find. Two scenes come to mind.

  1. The movie “Love, Actually” has a scene with Emma Thompson. She’s just found out her husband is cheating on her. The scene plays- aside from one abysmal cut in to a close-up- as a single locked-off shot. She just gets to ACT.

  2. The low budget feature “Smoke”. It has a scene at the end that likely runs an entire 400’ roll. ( 11 minutes in 16mm ). Two men sitting in the smoke shop, talking. At some point, the camera imperceptibly starts to zoom in a bit. Mostly, it is a lock-off.

People are completely unused to sitting and watching acting without cuts. Or, in the case of a documentary, watching a shot or scene cut slowly and simply with unintrusive shot composition. Look, I’m a Steadicam Operator. I’m all about movement- but with the power to move the frame comes, as Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said, great responsibility. One composes movement with great care.

Not wanton abandon.

Yeah, Steadicam op here too. To me it was something to strive for since being a young pup cameraman. The elegant, flowing movement as opposed to the jerky, homemovieish handheld.

How about the Russian Ark? Shot in one take on steadicam.
Lots of real estate to cover in the Hermitage so it never got old.
But I think directors like Kurosawa and Kubrick can make a long static shot really work.

You’re right about flash trying to make up for lack of content.

I started a thread about that very subject a little while ago,its not just in military history docs.that the same subjects have been done to death,off of the top of my head I dont think that there is any real necessity to make any new films about J.Caeser,sharks,big cats,the Colosseum,Pompeii,any kind of weapon ancient or modern and most of all the fucking Pyramids unless some earth shaking facts previously unknown to science come to light.

Like I say that was just off of the top of my head,if I put my mind to it the list would be a hell of a lot longer.

Ref. the poster who advised me to watch more P.B.S. I live in the dont get it.

U.K. terrestial T.V. brings out some incredibly interesting, new and very watchable docs.(Particulary enjoyed Britain from above)but inbetween there are one hell of a lot of soaps, sitcoms,games shows etc. which I’m just not interested in.