Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


A rather controversial plugin has just been announced by CINEFLARE, “hand held” is a plugin that aims to make you footage look more…amateurish, at least thats one of the few comments that underpin the You Tube video.

“So bad. All that hard work to make something look like no thought was put into the camera work.” 

 “Not really sure about this one… I can just drop my GlideCam and shoot by hand if that’s the effect I want.  I can see the “trendiness” if you’re shooting a music video or maybe a scene for a movie, but then again, you can just shoot it that way.  Not for me.”

Its not often a plugin creates a string of negative comments like these but in my opinion its all about the way you apply the plugin, some of the whip pans look very useful but to the professional cameraman this plugin has the ability to make your work look poor and thats the heart of the problem.
You get a hip and so called trendy “director” in the edit suite with a less experienced editor and all your hard work could look less than professional and once its out there for all to see theres nothing you can do about it.

Professional cameramen and women are very protective and guarded when it comes to their creative work so lets hope anyone who buys “hand held” uses it sparingly, at $49 its not going to break the bank.




Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

6 thoughts on ““When bad camera operating and lousy focus pulling become Trendy!!”

  1. My first reaction to this plugin was ‘why?’ to be honest. I suppose it has its uses, but I honestly can’t see this selling like hot cakes!

  2. I can see that it might be a fun thing to have up your sleeve. The bottom line is, we all want to have perfection. Sometimes, you can shoot perfection but what was needed was to make it look like a rank amateur. Well, I shall compliment everyone here. Even the worst, practiced cameraman is better than Aunt Millie, but if you need to make footage appear as if Aunt Millie shot it, well that’s like trying to draw a child-like crayon portrait of your family. It’s easier to find a kid and have them draw it for you. This is sort of that kind of thing. I either hire Aunt Millie for the day or I add a filter to a few clips. lol

    Otherwise, it’s not the look you’d use for interviews or corporate work. lol More like music videos, or opening segment shots or closing credit shots like the “home footage” on The Wonder Years. It will shake it up then you add light effects and film scratches and you’re set! lol $50 is about all it’s worth for all you’ll use it.

  3. I understand why camera ops/DOPs might initially dislike this, but can see where this would be very useful.

    Sometimes shots involving VFX benefit from adding some “imperfections” in post. The theory goes that, subconsciously at least, the audience will more readily accept the action they see “just happened” in front of the camera.

    There’s a VFX-heavy sequence in “XXX” where a few snow particles were added to appear as if they “accidentally” hit the camera lens to help create a sense of realism.

    Likewise, if a drama was largely shot handheld with a docu style (like “The Shield” or “Thick of It”) and then they wanted to shoot a stunt where a person jumped from roof to roof. You might shoot the stunt wide,with a locked off camera, where the crash mats/boxes or airbag were in shot. Then the safety rig would be removed and a clean plate would be shot. The finished, composite shot would show a leap & the ground below (desirable), but if it’s the only static shot in the sequence, might stick out. Once again, subconsciously at least, the audience might suspect trickery.

    Using a plug in effect like this to subtly adjust composite/VFX shots etc might be just what was needed.

    Likewise this plugin FX could be used to help mix-in archive or library footage (which had been shot well)with a sequence.

    A lot of these plugins, filters etc are just “tools”. Used sparingly and appropriately, they can be a godsend. Over used, or employed with a heavy hand, they can be tacky.

  4. I think the really great place to use the plug in is being overlooked, which is funny because that what the promo video for it is: Stock Footage. Stock footage is always so clean and neutral in its camera movements that it begs for more interesting camera action. Most obvious is: stock footage wasn’t shot by me, I have no input how the footage was shot, so I have to rely on embellishing it purely in post. As a shooter/editor the software may seem silly, but if I were just doing post on a project, or the project didn’t have a budget for anything beyond stock footage, this makes a lot of sense.

  5. I’ve been asked a few times recently to make shots less steady and add some focus ‘hunting’ type effects… this combined with lens flares and film burns is very in demand for promo work at the moment. Clearly you can shot for that, but this opens up further possibilities for using previously ‘good’ footage. I have to say, nothing looks more amateur sometimes than perfectly framed, focussed and lit shots… it’s become boring to look at for certain uses. As with everything… moderation is the key.

  6. I’m trying the demo of this and really like it. But, I’m someone who is filming himself by himself so it’s nice to have some human camera movement that’s not done by the Ken burns effect:-)

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