Panoramic and traveling: meaning and function

At the beginning of the cinema, the camera was motionless, so there was only one single frame and in it, the whole story had to occur. Fortunately, the movement of the camera has enabled a host of stories that have made cinema the best storytelling of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The two main camera movements are panning and traveling. We understand by panning the rotation or rotation of the camera on its own axis; traveling is the movement of the camera horizontally or vertically with respect to the axis .

There are different types of panoramic:

  • vertical
  • horizontal
  • oblique

In the same way, we have traveling:

  • vertical
  • horizontal
  • traveling in
  • traveling out

The meaning of these movements can be multiple , but we can include them in:

  • descriptive: they serve to describe the scene; for example, a horizontal traveling over the gardens of a Victorian house
  • of juxtaposition: they serve to link two elements / characters of the frame; for example, an oblique panorama where a character is linked in front of a door and a clock
  • of accompaniment: follow a number or character; for example, a traveling in of some characters that are entering a house
  • expressive: they are those that have a dramatic sense, and can also be descriptive and accompanying; for example, a horizontal panorama that accompanies the murderer just at the moment of committing the crime

In the following fragment of Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorsese we see a descriptive semi-circular panorama of Travis’s room but also dramatic if we listen to the character’s voice; then we see a tracking shot of the night city, this horizontal shot is descriptive and dramatic since the degeneration of the city is also the degeneration of the character.

As regards traveling in and out , these movements also serve to open and end a sequence , including the film.

In addition to these two movements, we have the sweep , which can be defined as a very fast panoramic view, where the viewer does not have time to see the images correctly . The sweep can be used as a resource to express tension and abrupt movement in a chase, but also to make a change of scene and sequence . One of the best-known examples of sweeping used in this regard is the lunch scene between Mr. and Mrs. Kane in Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment