Cinematography For Directors [Ep 4 – How To Use Whip Pans]

Cinematography For Directors [Ep 4 – How To Use Whip Pans]

Cinematography For Directors is series of short videos dissecting the shot selection and framing used in nine specific scenes in the movie Drinking Games. HUGE thanks to Cinematographer Andrew “Tank” Rivara at and AC Chris Falkowski for making it all possible!

My hope is that the ideas expressed in the videos help your decision-making process on your next film. Remember, these are just ideas, a jumping off point, a way to start thinking about picking and framing shots. Hope it’s helpful!

***Ep 4 – How To Use Whip Pans***
I discuss how we used whip pans- when the camera swings quickly from one focal point to another across a (usually) horizontal plane- in the film Drinking Games, and some ways you can apply these specific techniques to your own projects. Full text below.

***About me***
I’m an independent producer/director with award-winning features distributed in theaters, online and internationally. When I have a new project, I do a lot of Q&A’s and with my new feature Drinking Games, I took a lot of questions about the cinematography and shot selection. I thought this type of breakdown would be helpful to other directors like you, so I put in video form. You can check out my films below, they’re all available on Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.

Drinking Games

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn

The Graduates

***Full Video Text***
This is a short segment but an important one I think. This 30-second shot was technically pretty difficult to put off, because of the number of characters in a small space, the complicated movement of the camera that involved both a slow and steady dolly roll and really quick whip pans from one character to another.

Making sure to hit the correct landing spots for each whip pan was hard for Chris and Tank, but Chris also had to land on each character already in-focus. A quick side note, we had to turn off the air conditioning in the dorm room and put 10 and Chris on her a black blanket so that there was no reflection of them as the camera with around the room. This was an exhausting and very sweaty series of shots.

One of the added benefits of the quick movement in the first half of the shot, is that when we stop and hold on Shawn, played by Nick Vergara for the second half of the shot, the change in tempo is really jarring. The contrast highlights the comedic beat that follows.

Again, one of the big reasons to seek such dramatic camera movement, is that even though the scene is relatively simple, it is a huge deal to all of the participants in the scene. So the camera movement needs to match their experience which is: “things are really picking up speed now, and I probably can’t slow them down.”

Hope this was helpful.

Post any questions in the comments or email me at
ryan at believeltd dot com


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