WATCH: 'United 93' shaky cam clip, stabilized


1 Like

I wish I could compare the original, because I don’t really see the point.

1 Like

I hate it when people just wave the camera around, it seems like a cheap illusion to make it seem like there’s more happening than there really is. “Aren’t we cool? We’ve got a spastic camera operator!”


Yeah, I preferred Lyman’s version of Bourne-- but in United 93, it did make stylistic sense.

1 Like

I just put up a link to the original for comparison. Aspect ratio is off, though.


Weee! It’s just like being drunk!

1 Like

I hate shakeycam. Just gives me a headache, and makes it obvious there’s a camera involved. As annoying as lens flare.

Doesn’t make me feel it’s mimicking head movement, because when I move my head my brain is able to resolve it.


I get motion sickness really easily and unfortunately shaky cam just makes me sick. I once vomited at a cinema because I was in the front row (full house) for a movie with lots of hand held camera.

When I was 12 I once vomited immediately after exiting one of those carnival rides that spins you around and around. This was witnessed by a cadre of members from the local motorbike gang who happened to be standing at the ride’s entrance, they laughed uproariously.


Ugh. I’ll just leave this here.


aNo, I don’t understand it either. Sometimes shakeycam is explained as a way of introducing disorientation into a movie-- but in the genre where that sort of makes sense-- Action films, the stunts are so much more impressive when done with properly stabilized camera movements and longish cuts.

I watched Atonement the other night-- visually stunning, and as exquisite as Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice. I may actually be tempted to see Hanna.

Show me a film with shakeycam that reaches that level of beauty, and maybe I’ll reconsider. But for now, I see it as a distraction.

this one and jackie’s are his best work.

Shaky cam is a trick to hide bad compositing/VFX. Slap a ton of motion blur on every frame, hides the sloppy work.


Sometimes shaky cam really works well. For example, in the movie Milk, traditional static film techniques were used in the personal scenes while shaky cam was used in the political and march scenes to give it a more documentary feel.

And a handheld camera followed Jean-Claude Van Damme in an absolutely brilliant minute long action sequence in Universal Soldier: Regeneration.


And yet, there is often something haunting in stillness and quiet. People industriously and ineffectually staring at screens were a big part of the real event.

1 Like

I wonder if they would have shot it differently if they didn’t use shaky cam there? Like saying, “look how bad orange juice is if you take out the orange flavor”. Although im not comparing OJ to shakycam, OJ is way more better.

Wikipedia says

United 93 was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2006. Roger Ebert, Michael Medved, Peter Travers, and James Berardinelli all awarded it four stars on their rating scales, with Ebert calling the film “masterful and heartbreaking” and saying that it “does honor to the memory of the victims”.[19] It was termed “one of the most moving films of the year” by Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. It holds a 91% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 203 reviews with the consensus: “Potent and sobering, United 93 is even more gut-wrenching because the outcome is already known. While difficult to watch, director Paul Greengrass’ film has been made with skill and treats the subject matter with respect, never resorting to the aggrandizement of which Hollywood has sometimes been accused. Especially effective is the cast of mostly unknown actors, who portray the passengers of the doomed flight as ordinary people who respond with bravery to extraordinary circumstances.”[20]

The film also has a score of 90 on Metacritic, where the film appears on 39 U.S. critics top ten lists, more than any other 2006 film on the site,[21] (although the 2006 film with the highest average score on the site is the 1969 Army of Shadows).[22][23] The film was ranked #1 on 47 lists (the most of any 2006 film).[24]

At the website Movie City News, which ranks 250 critics lists and awards point values for list-placement, United 93 ranks as the #1 movie of 2006[25][26][27] with a score of 917.5 points.

The film has been cited as a favorite by filmmaker John Waters, who presented it as his annual selection within the 2010 Maryland Film Festival.

Here’s the trailer for Bloody Sunday, the film that made Greenglass’s reputation. It’s a trailer, so it’s cut to ribbons, but the shaky cam is still visible. I haven’t seen Bloody Sunday, though I did see United 93.

1 Like

So, no one told you that movies aren’t real? That’s the whole point.


The battle scene in Dr Strangelove where the Marines are overrunning Ripper’s Air Force base is one of my favourite uses of hand held camera. Of course, it was intended to give you “war correspondent in battle” feel.


If movies aren’t real, why do people think that they go to see them?

Shakycam is a cinematic tool - but some stylistic devices annoy, and this one annoys me,

Hanna is a fun throwback to those 1970s movies where a child with special powers is hiding from the government who wants to use the powers for nefarious purposes, and it lets you see the abandoned former East German Spreepark amusement park before it was mostly destroyed by fire.