- Always always shoot for at least 10 seconds you can shoot longer of course but no shorter as this will make your editing much much easier and simpler.
- ALWAYS USE A TRIPOD.
- Keep your camera movements to a minimum unless you use professional video tripods.
- Just like photography you have to vary your shot length. So always think in terms of wide, medium and tight shots.
There are a few basic video rules which if followed will ensure you produce good quality professional looking video.
This video guides you through some basic camera movements
Adding a little camera movement can add dynamism to your video. ONLY attempt camera movements if you have a fluid head and a sturdy tripod otherwise your footage will come out shaky and unusable.
Pan: This is a horizontal movement and is used to show scenes that are too wide for a single frame.
Tilt: Is a vertical movement and is used to show objects that are too tall for a single frame.
Track: This is only time where it is acceptable to take your camera off the tripod and you follow your subject through the frame.
Zoom: A well known camera movement that should be avoided at all costs on a DSLR. It’s better to cut from a longer shot to a tighter shot instead of showing the movement.
This video gives you pointers on setting up and doing a video interview
Interviews are an essential part of your video production. Refer to the audio section for a more detailed guide to getting your audio right for interviews.
It’s best to keep your interviews simple. Use the rule of thirds to compose your frame with your subject either on the right hand side of the frame looking left or the left hand side looking right. Your subject shouldn’t be looking straight at the camera.
Try to find a simple background as not to clutter your frame and distract from your subject. Ideally try to conduct your interview in natural light so use window light if shooting indoors. When interviewing it can be useful to include some environmental elements to give visual reminders of your subject’s job or field.
Ideally use a tie clip microphone for good audio and remember to use manual audio levels and conduct an audio test by asking your subject a few simple questions to set your levels correctly (-6dB).
Depending on how big your production is, you might want to have a two camera set up with one camera having a tight shot of your subject and the other a wider shot which will help vary your visuals. Remember to frame quite loosely to leave some space around your subjects if you need to include subtitles.
Prepare for your interview, think about what role your subject plays in the video. Will he help tell the story, provide background and contextual information, is he an expert in a particular field or is he the central character? Knowing what role your subject plays will enable you to ask the appropriate questions.
Always ask open ended questions; you do not want simple yes or no answers. For example if you ask the question “Is it cold today?” your subject may answer Yes. An open question would be “What is the weather like today?”
Don’t interrupt your subject, rather nod your head to agree. Don’t be afraid of silence. This will help draw out your subjects. Its a good idea to start off your interview with simple questions to allow your subject to relax.
One of the main advantages of shooting DSLR video is the very shallow depth of field and this can be very useful in composing video portraits of your subjects and characters. A video portrait is essentially the same as a photography portrait but instead of pressing the shutter you record ten seconds of video. Any movements your subject makes will make for a very dramatic image.
Watch this video for some pointers on making a video portrait and focus pulls
Focus pulls are another camera technique that makes use of the shallow depth of field. This moves focus from one subject in the frame to another. It can be used to accentuate tension between characters or also used as a wipe. You can either rack your image into focus or rack your image out of focus. Depending if you want to start or end your scene.
Time Lapse and Slow Motion
Time Lapse and slow motion are two ways of altering the way in which time is presented in your video. Time lapses speed up time and slow motion obviously slows it down.
Time Lapse: Time lapses take a little time and thought to plan and prepare but are very easy to execute.
Essentially time lapses are a series of photographs taken over time in intervals and then played back at a much shorter interval, so in effect you speed up time. There are two variables when making a time lapse and will dictate how quickly time moves. The time interval between your photographs and how long you display images in the video are the two factors that will dictate how fast time is sped up.
Slow Motion: Now this is a bit more limiting as you will need a camera that will record video at a higher frame rate.
Typically this means sacrificing a little in terms of quality, as your frame size will have to drop form 1920×1080 to 1280 x 720.
To create a slow motion video you select a higher frame rate (double your projects frame rate) for example 1280x720p 60 or 50 FPS and then shoot your video that you want to be in slow motion.
In the editing suite this video will be slowed down by 100% producing a half speed slow motion clip.
Remember you might not want the whole of your video to be shot in slow motion so make sure you change your setting back to a more standard frame rate of 24, 25 or 30p.
Time lapse and slow motion both require some form of movement or motion in order to be successful. However it should be noted that they should be using sparingly in your videos as not to become gimmicky.