Hand-held camera was a technique first used sporadically towards the last years of the silent era. Although many movie cameras produced before that period were lightweight enough to be carried by a single person, the camera shapes were too boxy and bulky to be adequately operated without some form of camera support. Further, they were often hand cranked, adding to the difficulty of hand-held shooting.
By the early 1920s, however, cameras were beginning to be created with hand-held ergonomics in mind; this was largely in order to satisfy demand from both the growing documentary field, as well as the emerging amateur market. These cameras were specifically designed to hold shorter lengths of film—usually 100 to 200 feet—and included hand-wound spring motors which could be pre-wound enough to last continuously through most or even all of a roll.
The emergence of the sound film had an immediate dampening effect on the use of hand-held shots due to the need for camera motors to maintain a constant film speed. The motors were far too loud to be able to record synchronized sound on set, and thus early sound films were forced to install the camera within a soundproof booth. By 1929, camera manufacturers and studios had devised shells, called blimps, to encase the camera and dampen the mechanical noise sufficiently to allow the cameras to be free of the booths.
Filmmakers notable for their use of hand-held cameras
Peter Berg (born March 11, 1962) is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is known for directing films such as Friday Night lights, The kingdom, The Rundown and Hancock.
Steven Spielberg, (born December 18, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, film producer and video game designer. In a career spanning six decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. He is also one of the founders of Dreamworks.