Eight Methods to Shoot Video Like a Professional

Nothing brings out the camcorders like the vacations, which is why that is the right time to confess an unpleasant fact: You suck at making house motion pictures.

No, actually. I am positive you are a pleasant particular person and all, however there’s extra to videography than simply taking the camcorder out of the field and urgent Report.

As with images, good videography requires a little bit of know-how. Fortunately, I understand how, so here is my checklist of how you’ll be able to enhance your property motion pictures. You will not come out Soderbergh on the opposite facet, nor even Singer, however your Uncle-Henry-dropped-the-turkey-on-Aunt-Edna’s-head submission to America’s Funniest Residence Movies will look a lot higher.


A very good fisherman is aware of what’s in his deal with field, and an excellent videographer is aware of his camcorder. The second Junior takes his first steps or a spaceship lands within the yard, you need to have the ability to modify the shutter pace, flip off the autofocus, or do no matter else is critical to seize one of the best pictures. In different phrases, be taught your camcorder inside and outside. Learn the guide—twice. Know how to entry the menus, which menus comprise which settings, and so forth. Maintain a crib sheet helpful if mandatory (laminate a 3×5 card, hole-punch it, and fix it to the neck strap). Slightly little bit of research and preparation can go a good distance towards serving to you shoot higher video. Now, onto the recommendation you may really observe.

2. Be ready

Anytime you go someplace along with your camcorder, here is what you need to be packing:

  • No less than one spare battery, totally charged.
  • No less than two extra clean tapes than you assume you may want.
  • A lens-cleaning fabric. Irrespective of how cautious you’re, the lens goes to get smudged. There is not any post-production software program filter on the earth that may appropriate for that.
  • A tripod. Throw it within the trunk, even for those who do not assume you may want it.
  • The battery charger/energy provide.
  • An extension twine for the facility provide, which you may invariably want.
  • Duct tape, for taping down the extension twine so folks do not journey over it.
  • Lighting gear, lens filters, microphones, and every other equipment you personal. You obtain them for a motive, proper? Carry ’em!

three. Use a tripod

It is rather a lot more durable than it appears to be like to tug off that cool shaky-camera look. Most house video simply finally ends up trying shaky, which is totally no enjoyable to observe. By mounting your camcorder on a $20 tripod, you may get rock-steady footage. On the similar time, you may free your self to carry out pans and zooms, and even to get in entrance of the lens. In case you’re planning to depend on your digital camera’s digital image-stabilization function, do not. All that does is decrease the video decision by cropping to the middle of the body. Optical picture stabilization is healthier, but it surely nonetheless cannot beat a tripod.

No tripod? Lean in opposition to a wall. That’ll assist hold the shakiness to a minimal. No wall? Put your butt on the bottom, bend your knees, and prop your elbows on them. Presto: instantaneous tripod.

four. Elevate the lights

To paraphrase the outdated actual property maxim, good videography is all about lighting, lighting, lighting. Many of the camcorders I’ve reviewed through the years do a very crummy job beneath poor lighting, producing grainy, washed-out video that may’t be improved in post-production. (Hey, there’s solely a lot your video-editing software program can do.) The simplest approach to overcome lighting points is to shoot outdoor, the place even a cloudy day produces sufficient ambient gentle to maintain your video crisp and colourful. If it is sunny, attempt to shoot within the morning or late afternoon when the solar is decrease within the sky. When it is instantly overhead, it casts unflattering shadows on topics’ faces.

When taking pictures outdoor is not an choice, convey as a lot gentle into the room as you’ll be able to. Activate lamps and open blinds to let exterior gentle in. In case your camcorder has a built-in gentle, use it. On the very least, it is going to assist convey out faces in close-up pictures. A shoe-mounted exterior gentle may be useful as nicely. Many camcorders can help you modify aperture, white stability, shutter pace, and different light-oriented settings, however these will get you solely to this point except it is a actually high-end mannequin. My recommendation for when the lights are low is to disable the autofocus, in any other case you threat getting that annoying pulsing impact from the lens making an attempt to lock onto a topic.

5. Ace the audio

If lighting is crucial component in high quality video, audio runs a detailed second. Sadly, that is one space the place it may be troublesome to realize skilled outcomes. The microphones constructed into most camcorders are pretty primary, recording audio from any path. In case you’re making an attempt to movie somebody speaking close to a busy avenue, the site visitors might drown out the particular person’s voice. Your finest wager is to get your topic(s) as near the microphone as attainable (with out sabotaging the shot, after all).

Ideally, your camcorder ought to have a jack for plugging in an exterior microphone. There are lots of varieties to select from, together with: shotgun mikes for capturing audio instantly in entrance of the lens; lavaliere (a.ok.a. tie-clip) mikes for sit-down interviews and stand-up reporting; and pzm-type mikes, that are omni-directional and subsequently appropriate for auditoriums, giant convention rooms, and the like. Hopefully, any camcorder outfitted with a microphone jack will even have one for headphones, which is crucial for monitoring audio ranges as you report.

6. Arrange your pictures

Sensible photographers obey the “rule of thirds,” and you need to do the identical. Think about a tic-tac-toe board over your viewfinder. The strains intersect in 4 spots. Your purpose must be to border the motion utilizing a number of of these spots. Or, to place it one other manner, hold the birthday lady out of the middle sq.

In fact, for those who’re feeling inventive, you’ll be able to at all times throw this rule out the window. However do not go overboard: Many amateurs fall in love with their camcorders’ built-in particular results, then later remorse filming a whole birthday celebration in “outdated film” mode. Though these results may be enjoyable, use them sparingly—or under no circumstances. Higher you need to begin with pristine colour video, then apply particular results utilizing your modifying software program. Likewise, skip the camcorder’s auto-fade options; your modifying software program gives you far better management over transitions, and better selection as nicely.

7. No digital zoom!

Optical zoom, good. Digital zoom, bad. Very bad. Sorry for those who have been suckered into shopping for a specific camcorder as a result of it touted some astronomical digital-zoom quantity (240X! 300X! 800X!), you need to by no means use it—except you want grainy, pixilated video. Digital zoom is definitely an enormous pretend: As you enhance the zoom stage, the camcorder crops additional and additional into the middle of the picture, enlarging that cropped portion so it fills the display. In consequence, your video appears to be like, nicely, terrible. Stick along with your camcorder’s optical zoom (often you’ll be able to flip off digital zoom from inside the digital camera’s menu system), which depends solely on the lens for magnification. If you must get nearer to your topic, observe the outdated photographer’s maxim: zoom along with your toes.

8. Shoot B-roll

B-roll is secondary footage that you simply splice into your main video to flesh out the story. As an example, for those who’re filming a marriage, you may take pictures of the church, the invitation, and the little bride and groom atop the cake. When the time involves assemble your ultimate film, you’ll be able to combine on this footage so as to add selection.

Something may be B-roll. Throughout the warm-up earlier than the soccer recreation, as an illustration, get some footage of simply the youngsters’ toes. Seize a close-up shot of the ball hitting the online. Get there early and report the empty subject; then report from the identical place in the course of the recreation and you are able to do a neat fade-in. That is the place planning comes into play: You shouldn’t solely permit further time to shoot B-roll, but in addition decide upfront what pictures will make one of the best additions.

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