These 10 tips for shooting better video will no doubt improve your existing skill set.
Whatever the reason for turning on your camcorder, you’ll want to record footage that will be as easy to edit as possible. Follow these simple rules and you can’t go wrong …
- 1 Plan your shoot
Nothing gives you a better chance of getting the shots you want than knowing what’s going to happen where and when. Be as clear as you can about what you need to get before you arrive and you’re far less likely to miss the most important moments.
- 2 Stand securely
Stand squarely with your feet apart and both hands on the camcorder to steady it. When you move the camera, move it smoothly and with purpose. Decide before you move where you’re going to stop and really concentrate on steady unhurried movement. Don’t overuse the zoom and if in doubt, don’t move.
- 3 Avoid long zooms
The more you zoom in, the more wobbly your shots will be because at high zoom levels, the slightest movement is magnified. Try to simply get closer to your subject and if you can’t do that, brace yourself against a solid object.
- 4 Get a mixture of shots
Shoot a mixture of long shots and close-ups. Get panning shots which cover the whole event as well as focusing in close on the main event. If your entire video is made up of the same kind of shots, it will quickly get boring.
- 5 Think in scenes
You’re going to be editing your day’s filming, so think about that when you’re shooting. Decide how you’re going to edit and make sure you have all the shots you need to tell the story you want to tell. Big wide shots set the scene well while close-ups allow you to focus attention on the main action.
- 6 Over-shoot
Turn on the camera a few seconds early and don’t stop filming until a few seconds after you think the shot is over. That way you always have “room” when editing to cut or fade into and out of your shot.
- 7 Watch out for shot killers
Your camera will automatically adjust its exposure whenever you move between dark and light areas so avoid filming in front of windows and lights or turn off the auto-exposure feature. Likewise, if there’s a lot of movement in the shot, turn off autofocus and set the focus manually.
- 8 Looking room
If you’re filming a person and they’re looking to the left or right, move the camera to give them a little space in front of their nose to look into. If you frame them so they’re face to face with the edge of the screen, the shot won’t look balanced.
- 9 Eyes on a third
When you have people as the main focus of the shot try to balance the shot so that their eyes are a third of the way down the screen. That way, however you frame the shot, it will always look balanced.
- 10 Get cut-aways
Don’t just shoot the action. Get the occasional shot of people’s reactions to whatever you’re filming. Try to grab the odd shot of a piece of local architecture, or objects in the same room. You’ll be able to use these shots later when you edit to cover cuts you make in the main action or moments when main shot doesn’t quite work.