real- and virtual camera

In this research Blogpost, we will look at the camera for animations. We will dive into the topic of real- and virtual cameras with a focus on the movement.

Knowing the difference between real and virtual cameras is essential to use the virtual camera right.

Here is a comparison between the real and virtual camera

real camera

virtual camera

  • it depends which model it can be heavy
  • harder to control
  • 2-4 Years of learning, many years to master
  • limited in movements/physical limits
  • expensive to make hot moves, you need a crane or a drone, which creates extra costs
  • has no wight​
  • easy to control​
  • faster to learn how to use it in the software ​
  • you can go everywhere​ and as fast as you like
  • comes with the software​
  • moves have no limits​

If you use a virtual camera in software for animation, always keep in mind you would use a real camera.


A real camera is used by a human, crane, or robotic arm on a dolly. A Dolly Camera on a rail track can only move slowly, and the movement can’t start instantly. There will always be an easy in, easy out, and secondary motion when it starts and stops. A natural jiggle or shake. A natural secondary motion, like a slight shake, gives the camera shot a natural feeling, making it more pleasing to watch. 


This is not a no go, sometime you need exactly that movements 🙂 but for a natural camera shot:

  • don’t use linear movements / A real camera is used by a human, crane, or robotic arm on a dolly. Easy in, easy out
  • don’t make big movements / a camera is not the head and should not move like the head, meaning from left to right within a second
  • don’t use long movements / meaning 10s of animation with the same camera and view
  • don’t make rollercoaster movements / meaning changing directions and view within 1- to 3 seconds

A camera shot is more pleasing to watch, when…

the camera is not used like a human head. The human head’s natural movements are often fast and sometimes not controlled. On the other hand, the eyes change their view every second or faster; It needs concentration to look at something for a long time without looking away. Therefore, camera movements should be more controlled.

Add handheld secondary motion, some small vibrations, and some slight imperfections to bring a natural feeling to every camera move.

Here are the most used camera movements and the description.

Camera movements​

  • Zoom / – in or out / drama and intention ​
  • Pan / – position still camera target move/showroom or follow moving objects ​
  • Tilt / – cam vertically camera still / target moves up or down / Up more important / down less important. 
  • Dolly or push/push introduce/push back good by effect. ​
  • Dolly_side / sideways follow moving object or shows details.​
  • Crane move / Move op or down cam and target move / show the height of objects and give the audience a better view of the object from another angle​
  • Orbit / long lens / show an object of interest or follow spiral stairs.​
  • Tilt and Pan / to show them a big Object / Dolly tilt: Push and tilt up or down ​

Note: The Camera has not been in motion every time. Work with focus and a camera that follow the target movement​. Make cuts, switch between different cameras, and follow the principles of Camera work.

If you want to dive deep into camera work, learn how it works, and learn from professionals, here is one of the best learning sources for camera work:


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