Precise way of timing camera movements?

Is there a precise way to animate or edit the speed of camera movements?

I’ve animated a camera in two ways:

  1. Direct recording of a camera flight, using a 3D-mouse. This is not ideal for two reasons: a) The system will be more and more bogged down as more keyframes are added, and b) as far as I can see, there is no precise way of editing the timing later on.

  2. Following a path. This makes it easy to achieve an even speed and to make primitive changes to the timing, animating the offset values and adjusting the f-curves. But as far as I can tell, there’s no way to control the speed precisely (you’re not editing the speed, but the offset which is ‘floating’ and relative to the average length/time).

So is there a way to directly and precisely control the speed, like controlling the speed of a real dolly or crane?

It will depend on keyframe timing but I have something that may help you. This is a camera rig addon for blender that may help you greatly.

More information about it and how to use it is down below on that page.

Thank you Rod!

Your addon looks very interesting, but my problem is not so much about camera/camera movements; it’s more about precise timing and time-editing…

Lets see, how about parenting the camera to what is moving? Say a moving car is going down the track and you need it to stay at the same pace. Emptys or Bones can help. Messing with the F-curves in the graph editor can help as well.

Thank you again, Rod.

In this case, the camera isn’t parented to anything (it’s just exploring a scene on its own), so I suppose F-curves are the best way. They still don’t make much sense if you’re following a path, though.

Hi justavisitor,
Maybe a way to start to help you would be to understand precisely what you are looking to achieve.
How would you explain it with measure and timing to real cameraman?


Hi mathiasA,
Thank you for your reply.

I simply want as much control of all camera movements, including ease in and out, as possible.

But I think I’ve found a solution: My main problem with the #1 option above (direct recording of a camera flight, using a 3D-mouse, and then editing the F-curves) was the huge amount of keyframes you get when you use auto-keyframing. Editing takes a lot of time if you’ve got complicated camera flights and it’s not that easy to figure which keyframes you can delete without ruining the movements.

But the Curve Simplify addon turns out to be extremely helpful!

The large number of auto-inserted keyframes during recording still puts a lot of strain on the system, so the overall speed of the camera movements has to be decreased, which is rather counter-intuitive. But reducing the keyframes in a super fast, and yet surprisingly non-intrusive way, using the addon, makes it much easier to edit the F-curves.

Then again, it’s beyond me how it is possible to control the timing in any meaningful way if you use option #2 instead (following a path)… :spin:

It’s strange that you feel that way, usually with a path and keyframing the offset allows me to get pretty good results.

Here is an example
cameraMove.blend (505 KB)

I also added some key frame on the width of the camera, just for fun! :wink: but it really feels like I just did what you did in option 2 and that’s why it’s difficult to know what you mean by being precise.

Anyway, I’m glad that you found a solution that works for you! :wink:

Thank you for the .blend - it’s interesting to see how other people work.

Well, I think the problems occur if you, for instance, take a long flight around your portal and you have to subtly increase and decrease your speed at exact points, while your overall time must be in synch with an audio-track. But maybe it’s just me… :slight_smile: