Because TV shows have a lower budget than films, the camera work on a TV show is often quite simple when compared to the artistic nature of some film scenes. But some TV shows like to push the envelope with creative cinematography, and these scenes really wow the fans. Even if you've seen these TV moments before, watch them again, because these thoughtfully composed shots are truly impressive.
"Breaking Bad": Jesse pleads for helpThe camera work in "Breaking Bad" is always creative and worthy of commendation, but a scene from the fourth season episode "Bug" is especially deserving of praise: The scene where Walter visits Jesse's house and the camera stays utterly still while Jesse explains that Gus wants him to teach the Mexicans how to cook "blue."
Sitting the camera down and not moving it seems like a boring, conventional technique, but in fact it is anything but. The long, single take mirrors the seething fury that Walt is trying to suppress as he sits utterly still on the couch. In addition, the stillness in this part of the scene is a great counterpoint to the fight that comes later on.
"Downton Abbey": A tour of the houseThe very first episode features a sweeping tracking shot that follows various servants around the massive home of Lord Grantham and his family. The long shot establishes how palatial the home is, while also working to introduce viewers to some of the major characters. With a single shot, the camera instantly conveys the utter luxury that this family lives in. A shot like this would almost certainly not be possible if the program wasn't filmed on location.
"Sherlock": The camera gets your head spinningThe very first episode, "A Study in Pink," features an amazing bit of camera trickery that many viewers completely overlooked. There's a shot where the camera follows Sherlock and Dr. Watson down the stairs from their Baker Street apartment, and then rotates around them twice: once while they speak with Mrs. Hudson, and again before they go out into the street.
The camera then rises up into the air as the pair drive off in a taxi. The shot was achieved by having the actors freeze at certain moments, and using a camera on a crane. The spinning nature of the shot mirrors the idea that Watson's head is metaphorically "spinning" because of Sherlock's crazy life.
- Cameras & Photography