Video Tips and Tricks

People always seem to make the same mistakes when shooting video.
•Making a subject appear as if they are in the witness protection plan because the background is too bright.
•Positioning a person in such a way it looks like a tree is growing out of his/her head.
•Shooting boring shots of buildings with no action.
•Placing a subject in front of a background that is the same color as their clothing.

We’ve all seen them so why do they keep happening? Here are a few tips to help you shoot better video.

1.Plan your shots. Make sure you know what you need to tell the story visually. The story isn’t in the camera or on your notepad. It is between your ears. Try to envision what the story will look like when it is completed.
2.Know your equipment. Know the capabilities and limitations. Be able to trouble shoot.
3.Check your gear. Make sure you have all of your gear before you leave for the shoot. (Also bring it back with you.) Clean your camera lens. Put your smartphone in Airplane Mode.
4.Check your audio. Always use headphones. Set your levels and monitor them constantly. Audio is just as important as video.
5.Shoot Selectively. Think before you shoot and be aware of when the camera is recording. Focus and set your shots before you record.
6.Shut up when you shoot. Video camera’s pick up everything. It’s amazing what shows up on video recordings.
7.Use a tripod…. Use a tripod…. Use a tripod…. Always use a tripod.
8.Pre-roll and Post roll. Start the camera at least 5 seconds before you need to be recording and run it at least 5 seconds after you have finished. Do this even if you aren’t shooting with tape.
9.Hold your shots. Hold for at least 10 to 15 seconds before you pan, zoom or cut to another shot.
10.Avoid Excessive Panning and Zooming. Sequential compelling shots will always work best.
11.Shoot Sequences. Think of everything like a movie with good shot coverage. (Wide-Medium-Tight-Action-Reaction) A good shot mix will be 50% close-ups and extreme close-ups, 25% medium shots and 25% wide shots.
12.Don’t just shoot the interview.
13.Use good composition techniques. Pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to stop an interview until you can properly set up the shot.
14.Headroom, Nose room and Rule of Thirds.
15.Depth of Field. Be aware of how to create the illusion of depth. Video is a flat medium. Separate your background and foreground.
16.Change Angles and Perspectives. Look for the unusual and don’t shoot everything from eye level. Use the “foot zoom” technique.
17.Get people in your shots.
18.Anticipate Action. Let the action happen in your frame. Don’t try to attempt to catch everything.
19.Interviews. Ask the interviewee to look at you not at the camera. Avoid the straight on shot. Watch for distractions.
20.Mic the Interviewee. Position a handheld mic about 5-6 inches below the person’s mouth while also making sure the mic is not in the frame of your shot. Don’t let them hold the mic. If you use a lavaliere mic, “dress it” and look for things that rattle, rustle, clink and bang. Be sure to center the mic and point it toward the mouth.
21.Avoid High Contrast in Lighting Situations. Avoid shots of areas that have high contrast such as dark versus light settings, or bright sunlight and shadows. If the sun is directly overhead, hold your hand over the top edge of the camera lens. This will “extend” the sun screen and avoid having the camera misread the amount of sunlight.
22.Know how to use manual exposure and focus. The “dummy” mode works pretty well in most cases but not always. Know when, why, and how to change things.
23.Get all your shots the first time.
24.Log your shots…. now not later.