Shooting a great video pan

One of the easiest ways to show a landscape in video is to rotate the camera on its horizontal axis. This camera movement is called a panoramic. Or a pan, for short.

There are two basic rules in order to make a good pan. You should never pan too fast, and you need to decide where to start and where to stop.

You are looking at a breathtaking landscape. You've already taken some great photos with your wide angle lens. Now, you’d like to share how great this place feels. Time to switch to video mode and follow these instructions carefully.

A point of departure and arrival

Before you shoot anything, you must choose where your shot will start and where it will end. Camera movement that goes straight from one side of a lake to the other will not allow your viewers to easily understand where they are. And, they won’t even have enough time to see how beautiful it is.

Imagine how great your pan will look if it goes from one great image to another. So now’s the time to find those two images. Choose a nice looking frame or a tight shot of a cottage on the left to start your shot. To complete your shot, you have to find where it will end, maybe a tree that stands on the right, for example.

After choosing what will be in your frame, the last step is working out the count.

Not too fast

To make sure you keep an adequate speed in your movement, you can use the 3-5-3 rule. From your starting point, start recording then slowly count to three. (Don’t count out loud or you’ll hear your voice on the recording!)

When you get to three, you begin your movement and count to five to get to your final frame. You have to think about making one continuous motion using all your upper body instead of only your arms. If you end up doing a lot of this, a tripod with a fluid head is a great piece of gear to have.

When you have reached your final shot, remember you still count up to three. That way, spectators seeing your video will understand that you have reached the end of the shot.

Practice makes perfect. Feel free to repeat as many times as you want. We’re not using film here, so it will only cost you a bit of your time to get that money shot.