DJI Film School – Introduction to Camera Movement

DJI RS 2 is DJI’s latest camera gimbal and filmmaking solution. Packed with powerful functions and features, DJI RS 2 is the perfect tool for professional videographers everywhere.

In the latest installment from DJI Film School, award-winning filmmaker Brandon Li takes a deep dive into camera movement and how DJI RS 2 can help you achieve incredible shots that help tell your story.

Motivated vs Unmotivated camera movement

Camera movement is central to every video we create. When it’s done well, camera movement adds to the story – helping the viewer understand the story being told. However, when done poorly, camera movement can become distracting – moving peoples’ focus from the story to the movement itself.

In general, there are 2 main types of camera movement: motivated, and unmotivated.
First off – time for some definitions:

Motivated movement – when a camera moves based on something in the shot. i.e – tracking a person through the frame.

Motivated movement

Unmotivated movement – if the camera moves on its own, rather than following a subject.

Unmotivated movement
Unmotivated movement

Motivated camera movement:

Motivated camera movement is great for maintaining focus on your main character. This can help to give significance to their actions, or reveal certain details that can help move the narrative along. With the stability of a gimbal you can move with the camera with your subject safe in the knowledge that your video will be smooth.

You can also have DJI RS 2 or DJI RSC 2 follow your subject through the scene automatically by using our upgraded ActiveTrack feature – simplifying the process of getting the perfect take.

Here is a behind the scene shot of a motivated movement, you can see how the camera moved to track the subject.

motivated movement BTS

Unmotivated Camera Movement

As we mentioned earlier, unmotivated camera movement is where the camera moves through the scene independent of the actions of a subject. This can be used to better showcase the setting, or if the intention is to make the camera movement more notable.

Unmotivated movement
Unmotivated movement Behind the Scene

Great filmmakers will often combine both motivated and unmotivated camera movement in a sequence – or even a single shot – for a great effect.

You can see that in this example by Brandon Li where he dollies away from the subject at the café (unmotivated) only to begin tracking her movements once outside (motivated).

Combination of motivated and unmotivated movement
Unmotivated movement to motivated movement

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For more filmmaking tips and tutorials, check out the rest of the filmmaking tutorials in our DJI Film School series on YouTube here: DJI Film School.


Creativity is at the heart of every dream. At DJI, we give creators the tools they need to bring their imagination to life. Our products push visionaries to go beyond the limits of possibility, inspiring them to see the world from a brand new perspective.