In the MPAA ratings where brief explanations of what constitutes the rating (e.g., Strong Violence, Nudity, etc.) are listed, I am requesting that production companies include something like HHC (for Hand-Held Camera) on this listing when over 1/2 of the movie is shot in this manner.
Motion sickness due to films and other video:
This type of sickness is particularly prevalent when susceptible people are watching films on large screens such as IMAX, but may also occur in regular format theaters or even when watching TV. For the sake of novelty, IMAX and other panoramic-type theaters often show dramatic motions such as flying over a landscape or riding a roller coaster. There is little way to prevent this type of motion sickness except to close one's eyes during such scenes or to avoid such movies.
In regular format theaters, an example of a movie that caused motion sickness in many people is "The Blair Witch Project." Theaters warned patrons of its possible nauseating effects, cautioning pregnant women in particular. Blair Witch was filmed with a handheld camcorder, which was subjected to considerably more motion than the average movie camera.
Home movies, often filmed with a hand-held camera, also tend to cause motion sickness in those that view them. The camera-person rarely notices this during filming since his/her sense of motion matches the motion seen through the camera viewfinder. Those who view the film afterward only see the movement, which may be considerable, without any sense of movement. Using the zoom function seems to contribute to motion sickness, as well, since zooming is not a normal function of the eye. The use of a tripod or a camcorder with image stabilization technology while filming can minimize this effect…
This minor addition to the MPAA rating could prevent countless movie-goers from wasting valuable time & money as many would forego the movie experience altogether to view the film at home on a smaller screen in a far less nauseating format. I believe that I am not alone in walking out of movies where the "shaky cam" was too much to overlook. Filmmakers are trying to “pull” people into the action when they do the opposite and bring many people out of the movie. They tend to forget that when we walk, our brains steady the image we see; but if a cameraman is walking, we constantly see the camera bump with each step. I also believe that this method of filmmaking is nothing more than a cheap way to work around detailed stunt sequences and CGI implementations to cheat the audience.