Hot Moves - The Science Of Awesome is an interesting DVD set that disects some of the most spectacular camera moves that you've seen in big effects movies.
Per Holmes, the creator of the Hot Moves DVD, is adding to his set of filmmaker learning tools. His first product was Hollywood Camera Work which teaches how to block and stage scenes for movies using computer generated 3D visuals. Hot Moves is both a sequel to Hollywood Camera Work in that it extends what is taught in that product, as well as a stand-alone course in creating stunning action scenes.
The product consists of one DVD totaling almost two hours of instruction. Each lesson consistes of overview shots showing camera placement and movement followed by the view through the camera to see the effect. Explanations and titles accompany the lessons so everything is pretty easy to understand. Two hours may sound like a long time but a lot is covered in the DVD.
After an introduction there is a quick recap of the important concepts you need to know from the original Hollywood Camera Work set so you won't be lost in terminology. Then you are taken through the concepts of parallax, pivots, keyframes, grid theory, stacked moves, angles on a path, rolls and other techniques to create a sense of awe and disorientation in any viewer. The price is reasonable for how much material is presented. The illustrations are all very clear and repeated enough times that you will completely understand them. Beyond simply learning a set of techniques, no matter how extensive, what you will really get from this DVD is a new mind set of looking for more effective ways to film scenes for emotional impact.
My criticisms? Most of the computer generated scenes feel like they are rendered in "draft" quality. That doesn't keep you from learning but I did find it a bit distracting to have leaf shadows flickering on and off as the camera dropped down on a resting subject. Because we are used to such slick productions in the movie theater it would be nice if the quality of the renderings in this set was up to the same standard. You will also soon realize, and it is pointed out in the narration, that many of the effects will require booms and dollies as well as computer generated effects that are far beyond the budgets of most indie filmmakers.
My few criticisms aside Hot Moves is an good learning tool and might open your mind to new possibilities in filmmaking. (Note that the educational discount previously offered from this site is no longer available which made the cost of the course much more reasonable. Check with the publisher to find out if this product is still available.)