At this point, I’m not particularly certain if the utilization of the “shaky cam” is really a thing anymore. A few years back, it was the bane of every action movie fans existence. But with recent trips to the theater, I feel like I’m seeing less and less of it on the big screen.
Is Hollywood wising up? Are directors going back to more traditional methods of shooting action? Or maybe filmmakers have finally figured out what legendary director Steven Spielberg had figured out all along: That shaky cam shouldn’t be used as a cheat, but an opportunity to merge chaos with clarity.
In the following clip, YouTube’s Nerdwriter1 (Hey, that’s my name!) explains the difference between bad shaky cam and good shaky cam. He does this using Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg’s World War II classic. While Saving Private Ryan wasn’t the first film to adapt the technique for the purpose of action, it definitely started a trend. It also remains one of the best examples of how to get that desired chaotic effect without losing clarity.