1. Preproduction v
vp1-1. Five skills
vp1-3. Keeping track
vp1-4. First impression
vp1-5. Successful scouting
vp1-6. Words of wisdom
vp2-1. Five production skills
vp2-2. Pep talk
vp2-6. Words of wisdom
vp3-1. Five skills
vp3-3. Grading and graphics
vp3-6. Words of wisdom
Good camera work makes a movie flow effortlessly. But however famous the film director or camera operator is, they still rely on the same shooting techniques we cover here.
What you will learn
You’ll learn a variety of camera shot setups which includes: preparing the white balance, setting shot priorities, starting and stopping a scene, thinking like an editor, simplifying a shot, and composing the image.
Seven Camera Concepts
Here are seven tips to improve your overall camera shooting performance.
White balance means that despite the light color, white should appear white. Several factors affect this, so make your decision based on what you see. Overall, ‘automatic’ is pretty accurate and the easiest to use.
Set Shot Priorities
Make a shot list and shoot the most critical shots first. You don’t want to be stuck when the subject tires, gets bored, or is called away.
Don’t Rush It
Never rush a shot. Start, wait 3 seconds, and get your shot. Count to 3, stop and move on. No shot should ever look rushed. All shots should include a clear beginning and end.
Think Like an Editor
A good cameraman thinks like an editor. Try to get three shots of every scene. That will provide a lot more choices during the editing process. For example, shoot full-length, mid-range, and close-up.
Study Postage Stamps
Postage stamps are great examples of simplified, easy-to-see graphics. Clean shapes. Uncluttered backgrounds. Half the world watches video on mobile devices, so think postage stamp graphics.
Rule of Thirds
When composing a shot, it’s common knowledge to divide your screen into thirds. And place your subject at the one-third mark. However, for video, especially small screen viewing, this is unnecessary. Placing the subject in the center is usually fine. And it can avoid potential auto-focus problems.
One big difference between an amateur shoot and a professional one is that the professional will get a reaction shot for every action. Action-Reaction. It will make your stories better. Five Shooting Techniques
Here are tips on how to vary your shot angles. Remember that the purpose is to help tell your story, not just be ‘interesting.’
A telephoto lens helps isolate the subject from the background. It also creates more flattering portraits.
Wide Angle Lens
Amateurs generally shoot their subjects from too far away. So a wide-angle shot only makes things worse. A wide-angle shot can establish a setting. But sacrifices the details. You can still shoot close and tight and get plenty of detail with a wide-angle lens. Just move in closer.
Close-up shots are essential to any story; never be shy about getting too many. Consider close-up shots the norm, not the exception. They often look best when shot on a tripod.
Keep your shots nice and tight and your details nice and sharp.
Bird’s Eye View
Shooting straight down on the subject is called a ‘Bird’s Eye View.’ It can be amusing and dramatic. Use it sparingly.
As mentioned, amateurs tend to shoot everything from too far away. No, more is not better because the more you show, the less you see. It’s preferable to be a little too close than a little too far away. Any questions?
Five More Shooting Techniques
Dollying is when the camera moves with the subject. This is a fun technique that works. The viewer comes along with the moving subject.
Showing the camera zooming in or out is almost always distracting. I recommend you don’t do it. Better to shoot a shot before the zoom and then one after it.
Panoramic moves the camera from one side to the other to show a wide panoramic shot. Use it sparingly. And when you do, pan slowly. Instead, I recommend a set of individual shoots, concentrating on showing details.
A tilt is the same as a pan only; instead of side to side, it goes up and down.
You pan the camera to keep a moving subject in your frame. Notice how easy it is to follow a smooth pan. It’s easy to follow a great panning shot. This makes it easy to follow the subject’s motion.
There are all kinds of excellent camera shot angles, but the bottom line is all about getting the shot that helps tell your story. Ensure you’re familiar with the lighting and technical terms and how to execute each shot. Some call it practice.
Take several techniques here and make a 10-second sample of at least three. Feel free to comment on any you liked or did not like. You are now starting to develop your own style.