When taping it is always best to use a tripod. When you set up your tripod, make sure
that the “bubble” is centered therefore creating a level camera shot.
You also want to frame your shots. The Wide Shot, or the Establishing Shot tells your
audience where they are, in one sense it gives them a feeling of belonging. This Shot
can simply be a freeze frame that you roll your titles over at the beginning of the
program. The establishing shot will show the location, or shots of the crowd, or the
Interior of the location. Please NOTE an empty room doesn’t make it, you want people
or something alive moving around. Animals, insects or even leaves blowing in the wind
will do, motion will bring the shot to life.
The Medium Shot, or Head to Toe Shot, supplies much information to the viewer, the
actual scene where your action is going to take place. This shot will also introduce the
individuals in your tape. Don’t pose them, rather have them interacting and doing
something relevant to the rest of the video you have planned.
The Close Up, or Head and Shoulder Shot – this is a standard shot. You will see it in
most of your news broadcasts and interview shows. These are called talking heads.
The Extreme Close up – or detail shot. This shot does many things – It will lend impact
to the tape, the viewer will become familiar and can identify with the emotion they are
expressing. The extreme close up shot will show the tiny details, which would otherwise
be unseen. The set in the ring – the inside of the flower, the parts and movement of a
Where you shoot from is always a challenge, in many cases you have little choice. Your
Wide Shot is one of the first places you have almost total control – scout the area and
look through your viewfinder. You can usually find a really pretty view of the area. The
medium Shot also follows this rule, first you find a scene – in the viewfinder – and make
a pretty picture – then you take your talent and place them in that picture. You can ask
them to walk into the picture for an interesting effect. You will have to experiment and
have a mark on the ground, which you will have them walk to.
Or you may simply have them already be in the picture doing something. It is not really
necessary to have any dialogue in this shot.
The Medium shot may be used as introduction to a dialogue or speech – in this case
you may use your ZOOM to as a transition to a CLOSE UP – HEAD AND SHOULDER
There are various ways you can shoot to help you tell your story and make the video
more interesting. You may use pillows or your camera bag for support, tape or clamp
your tripod to and existing support, think high, low or even having the camera at the
subject’s point of view. Let your imagination be your guide!
A picture has three areas - the immediate foreground - the middle or action area - and the background area.
The immediate foreground - helps to supply depth to the picture - this may be a tree
limb hanging down to one side of the picture, or flowers, anything that does not take
away from the action area.
The middle area is where your people will be; there they do the performing.
The background is the pretty picture - think of this as a photograph - make a really nice
shot here. Make sure this picture is not tilted - have all of the vertical lines straight up
and down.
This rule has two different applications
In your mind draw a grid on the viewfinder THREE ROWS ACROSS AND THREE
ROWS DOWN - you will use the tic-tac-toe grid to align your pictures.
1/3 L
top 1/3
1/3 R
C 1/3
C 1/3
C 1/3
1/3 L
1/3 C
1/3 R
When you are shooting people put their eyes at the top 1/3 line
When you are shooting landscapes with a wide shot – put the horizon line on either the
top 1/3 line or the bottom 1/3 line
Now the up and down lines –let’s say you have a standing figure of a person or just a
head and shoulder shot - you may place the person to the side on either of the vertical
lines. This will leave approximately 2/3 of the screen for a pretty or interesting picture.
You will also use these lines to place moving figures or objects, giving them the big area
to run toward. This is called leading the action - for example you are at a football game
the runner is on one side of the screen running into the open part of the screen. This
idea will hold true with all action shots.
Only use the center area - C 1/3 C - when you are illustrating a detail of some object most of the time a perfect centering is just not interesting.
The ZOOM is one of the most misused and difficult controls on your camera. The
beginner’s most common mistake is to turn the camera on and FIRE-HOSE, you know
what I mean, they zoom in and out - point the camera up and down, never stopping or
looking at anything. You are to record motion, not to create it!
Common ZOOM problems:
Being unable to control the speed of the zoom going fast and slow in the same shot.
Going too fast
Going too slow
Stopping the zoom before you were ready and then zooming some more to make frame
the shot the way you wanted it.
Shaking the camera as you try to zoom
Reasons to ZOOM
To zoom in from a wide shot to show a detail
From a detail to a wide, medium or close up.
As a rule of thumb make it short, and when you stop – STOP –
HOLD ON THE SHOT YOU WHERE END UP. It really looks bad when the cameraman
makes a lot of little zooms in and out to finish the framing. Also keep the picture square
and plumb as you zoom - if you are going to adjust the tilt do it while you are zooming. If
you are using a tripod the shot should remain aligned - handholding is when you must
be continually aware of the vertical alignment.
Storyboard your video before you start taping. This will give help you plan your project.
Encourage students to be aware of lighting. Students should try to keep their light
source behind them. If you are taping indoors make sure that available light is
adequate. Keep light at your shoulders when outdoors. NEVER have a window in your
camera shot!
Export your video to a computer daily. Never tape an entire project and then export it to
a computer. Reviewing footage in a computer daily provides valuable feedback on the
success of your camera work and sound quality, better to discover a taping problem
early in a project.
Use microphones. Use a lapel microphone when filming individuals and use a hand
held microphone when interviewing someone. When interviewing, do not pass the
microphone back and forth. The interviewer should hold the microphone at all times.
Make sure you have extra microphone batteries, just in case.
Start taping before your subject speaks and let the tape run a few seconds after your
subject has finished speaking. This will insure that you don't miss anything.
DV tape cannot be taped over more than two or three times. If you are reusing tapes
and the image quality degrades it is time to get a new tape.
Shoot more video than you think you will need.
Make sure you fill the screen and don’t have unnecessary object or action.
Make sure you have permission from people that you are videotaping. Even people in
the background need to give you permission.
Before you begin using any equipment, make sure that you have a storyboard of what
you want to accomplish!
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