Top DP Alan Caso, who has worked on such big features as Reindeer Games and such TV shows as Six Feet Under and Lie To Me, is currently working on the new show Trauma and began his career as a Steadicam operator. "There have been so many advances in technology in the past decade or so with all the new telescoping cranes, jib arms and remote heads," notes Caso, "and the language today is all about moving the camera. Cameras have always moved, but today’s audience is so educated and tuned in to quick visual bites, thanks in part to the MTV revolution and the way editors now cut. People need that kinetic kick. They don’t want or need long, languorous takes to tell a story." Like Greengrass, Caso stresses that camera movement "invests the audience to be a part of the scene, especially if you’re using a wide lens and moving into the scene. In a way, you’re almost inserting the audience into the set."If the invention of the Steadicam was a seminal moment in the liberation of the camera, other developments followed with the increasing sophistication of jib arms, cranes and so on. "Jan de Bont was always a big jib-arm fan," reports Caso, "and again, for me, it’s just like an extension of my body, and very mobile and versatile. When you place a camera on the ground, or even on a dolly, it’s a very two-dimensional thing. But once you can telescope through a window or use a jib arm, you’re immediately into a three-dimensional world, and for me that’s a huge benefit and a huge step away from a static world."
HDVideoPro takes a look at some of the key players in camera-support gear that moves the camera in new and exciting ways.