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I'm looking at a tutorial in which both the terms camera moving and "strafing" are used. I looked onto dictionary.com and found:

strafe verb (used with object) 1. to attack (ground troops or installations) by airplanes with machine-gun fire. 2. Slang . to reprimand viciously. –noun 3. a strafing attack.

WTF???

I'm not a native english speaker.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Strafing is generally moving directly left or right, instead of rotating the camera.

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Strafe is more of a character term than a camera term, although in games I've seen people use it for cameras since they are often directly linked to character movement.

Typically when talking about a camera the movements are.

  • Tilt (rotation on fixed position camera to look up/down)
  • Pan (rotation on fixed position camera to look left/right)
  • Dolly In/Out (physically moving the camera towards or away from the subject)
  • Zoom In/Out (changing the focal length of a fixed position camera to make the subject appear larger)
  • Truck Left/Right* (physically moving the camera left/right as defined by current orientation, this is what is matched to "Strafe" for characters)
  • Pedestal Up/Down (physically move the camera up/down)
  • Arc Left/Right (physically orbit the camera around some central object involving a combination of Panning and Trucking)

*Truck is regularly used in TV, but sometimes Dolly is used for both forward/back and left/right movements.

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It's a gaming term, so here are the relevant definitions: Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary

Basically it means translating/moving the camera (or player) left and right, where left and right are defined by the camera's current orientation.

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