'Wild' Cinematographer Yves Belanger on Creating Steady Handheld Camerawork

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Cinematographer Yves Bélanger talks to The Credits about his work on Wild--which was mostly shot with a very small crew and with Belanger himself operating a handheld camera as he captured star Reese Witherspoon on the film's epic hike.

"We asked ourselves, ‘How are you going to shoot a girl with a forty pound backpack?’ Well, we tried a wide shot, we tried walking in front of her, and we tried walking behind her, and we realized the best way was walking backwards in front of her. This way we see her face and we could be with her, it’s very instinctive, whereas when we were walking behind her we only see this big backpack walking around, because it was bigger than her," he says before going on to explain how he managed to make those handheld shots appear so steady. "When you’re walking backwards with someone, you have to walk at the exact same pace, because when you walk there’s the transfer of weight, so if you do it at the same time with the person you’re filming, you don’t notice it. It’s like playing music with someone, you look at her and you go, ‘Okay, one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four…when her left foot goes down, my right foot goes down.”

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