Planning your camera moves based on the motivation, means only using specific moves when it moves it is necessary, to help move the storyline along, creates a specific feeling in the viewer, or when the characters actions warrant it. When you watch amateur video you’ll see things like a zolly shot stuck in for no apparent reason, except because the cameraman wanted to try it out. When you shoot your video, it’s not the time to practice shooting techniques.
Left to its own natural devices, the human eye doesn’t pan, zoom, dolly, or truck. When we’re looking at the world around us, we rarely tilt our heads or deliberately try to view something obliquely (like at a dutch angle). In reality the eye will naturally jump from spot to spot—from a wide shot, to medium, to close, back to wide—et cetera. The easiest way to recreate natural eye movement in video is to edit in simple cuts from shot to shot.
So why use those fancy camera movement techniques at all? I’m not saying you shouldn’t use them. I’m saying you should only use them for a good reason.
Next time you go to the movies, pay attention to camera motion. Better yet, watch a movie you’ve seen a million times, so you don’t have to focus on the plot or character development. Since you’ve seen it before, you know how it affects you emotionally. Watch how the camera moves to analyze how the director used movement to create emotion or convey meaning. If it’s a good movie, every motion has a purpose.
Get to know the purpose behind every camera movement. Beginning video shooters often make the mistake of over-using motion. It’s like they figure out how to do something, and then think they have to use it every chance they get. That’s the easiest way to lose your audience and give you an amateur reputation. Most of the effects you want can—and probably should—be created in your editing suite, rather than behind the camera.