Broom Kid said:
“Shaky cam” is just a colloquial synonym for “hand-held photography.”
Nobody’s actually shaking the camera, it’s just not stabilized on a dolly or tripod or steadicam machine.
It’s not in this movie, OR in The Force Awakens very much.
I obviously can’t speak for ROS as I haven’t seen it, but Force Awakens was shaky-cam from start to finish. It wasn’t just in the action shots - yes there was steady-cam of course, but there’s many scenes where there’s shaky-cam just for the sake of it for example when Finn and Rey are on the Millenium Falcon It’s not “hand held” it can look like it, but it’s a stylistic choice. If you like it that’s fine, some people like it, and some people like me can’t stand it being over-used. Here’s an example from Force Awakens, and this isn’t even an action scene: https://i.imgur.com/xrULFXV.mp4. Completely unnecessary, it’s there by the director’s choice.
There’s a good discussion on it on the cinematography.com forum, this I think is very very true: “Please, please, please, tell those who think that the audience enjoys it that they are wrong, wrong, wrong. At best, they tolerate it. At worst, they despise it.” And here is what a director said:
"I’m finishing a movie right now with a domestic fight scene that I had to shoot in this style. I wanted so bad to stage the whole thing in one single, static, wide shot similar to the domestic fight scene in Raging Bull, but it was beyond my abilities to make it authentic. I just couldn’t do it and believe me I tried. So, the last minute decision was to shoot in the Borne style and make it in editing.
"The scene came out okay, but I can’t help but think how much better it would have been if I could have staged it properly in a static wide shot.
"Point is, we do what we feel we have to in order to make it work. The shaky cam scene is one of many, many, many compromises I made on this movie. When you’re in charge of a project, you do whatever it takes to make it the best it can be and obviously there are plenty of directors out there that feel the shaky cam is what works best for their project. If you don’t like it, then get out there and show us how it’s done. 😉"
That is very different to JJ’s approach, he uses the style for the whole movie. But it’s not just shaky-cam that I don’t like about JJ’s style, it’s the culmination of filming and editing techniques - snap-zoom, focus shifting, lighting decisions, having the camera too close to the action all the time, huge number of edits/shots in single scenes, etc.
This. Shaky cam doesn’t mean moving camera. It’s means handheld photography. And it’s almost entirely absent in the film. In that clip, not a single live action shot is handheld.
To sit there and say that there’s no shaky-cam is disrespectful. You don’t notice it, clearly, that’s fine. But you don’t get to make up your own definition so you can dismiss it - shaky cam is any shot where the camera moves unnecessarily in more than one direction. As Wikipedia puts it shaky cam is: “a cinematographic technique where stable-image techniques are purposely dispensed with”. It’s fine when it’s used in moderation, but JJ’s style has no moderation at all.