Let’s face it, some of us suck when it comes to shooting videos. From shaking hands to out of focus shots and bouts of the giggles, it can really take away from the moment and not everybody is a professional videographer. We at Stordeo have some tips to give to help you make those videos more memorable:
1. Read your video recorder manual
Like any good workman, you need to be familiar with your tools. Your manual can help you understand how to work your machine to best advantage, taking into account the light you are in, your distance from the subjects and the moments you wish to capture. Overuse of the zoom is a problem that is quite common and can create a video that is out of focus, unsteady and quite frankly can make the viewer feel quite dizzy. Read the manual and then read it again, and remember the 7 P’s. Proper, prior planning prevents pitiful, poor performance! No pressure, but you will be pleased with the end results.
2. Do a field test
Now that you’ve read your manual, take your video camera out for a field test. Shoot in different types of settings where you have varying lighting conditions. It’s best to know your gear, where the buttons are, what those buttons do; familiarize yourself how to quickly adjust the pan/tilt smoothness of the tripod head or how to best balance your glider rig – we’ll cover these and more on our Stordeo Field Testing post.
3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
Good video is all about the lighting. Depending on the look you’re going for, it’s essential to understand the different types of lighting, their effects and how collectively they contribute to the style you’re after. Backlit shots for example often result in bright halos around the figures and no visible features or facial expressions. If your recorder has a feature to reduce backlighting, do this, or move to another angle to prevent this being a problem and remember that there is only so much video-editing software can do to fix this. Shooting outdoors is probably the easiest way to create enough natural light to give your video a fresh, crisp look with lots of colour. If it is an incredibly sunny day, shoot in the early morning or late afternoon to prevent unflattering shadows on your subjects. When you have to shoot at night, try to create as much light as you can or use your recorder’s built-in light where possible. Check out our Lights, Camera, Action post to know more about the different kinds of lighting techniques you can use, plus tips and tricks to help you light your scenes to capture your next compelling stories.
4. Shoot from a few different angles
If you record quite a lengthy video, recording from one vantage point can be quite dull to watch. Try to capture footage from different angles and elevations which will result in much more interesting and exciting video once you have put it all together. It may even help to highlight important emotional moments in the recording. Whether you’re capturing an interview, live event or a music video, shooting with multiple cameras always bring efficiency into the production workflow and wider coverage.
5. Use a tripod
Unless you have incredibly steady hands like a brain surgeon, shaky handheld shots can be very frustrating and spoil your whole video. Some cameras and recorders come with inbuilt image stabilizers that can help, but if you are shooting from a stationary position for some time, a tripod is a good option to prevent the shakes. They are surprisingly affordable and you can find some small portable stands too. In some cases, however, a ‘lockdown look’ when shooting on a tripod may not always be the best way convey your story – but that’s another topic for another post: Know what gear and why?
6. Keep a spare battery and memory cards to hand
It is advisable to keep plenty of memory cards and a spare battery in your camera case. Running out of memory in the middle of capturing some wonderful memories is no fun at all. Buy batteries that offer you longer recording times so your battery life is never a problem. If you do run of out space, you can switch to Long-play mode, however, you will be sacrificing quality when doing this, so it is not recommended unless it is absolutely necessary.
Most importantly, enjoying capturing those special moments. From all of us at Stordeo.