Basic Video Camera Hints

Categories:Blog Post, Video

Here are some basic video camera handling hints,

that are guaranteed to improve any video production whether big budget or home movie.

1. Good focus,

recent video cameras have better focus control than 8 mm film cameras ever did, but poor light and objects moving into the foreground can still conspire to ruin focus. Which is distracting and irritating to the viewer. If in doubt opt for manual focus control.

2. Never pan or zoom,

unless there is a very good reason, such as to reveal something new or unexpected. Don’t be fooled by the idea that because you are shooting a movie the camera has to move. Most often movies are made up with lots of static shots and straight cuts between. You really don’t need to use any of those special effect cross fades in the editing software. Watch how it is done on TV shows.

3. Keep it interesting,

look for something for the viewers eyes to settle upon and learn something about basic picture composition. Practice looking quickly at a scene or image and notice where your eyes are attracted to. The first object you see and then even a second. You should be seeing the important parts and not be distracted by unimportant objects. An unsettled viewer equals a critic with nausea.

4. Don’t forget sound,

your aim is to make any sound clear and speech understandable. Be aware of other sounds that may distract or over power the sound you want. Indoors learn to listen for echo and other noises or voices in the room, your ears are selective, a microphone and the camera is not. The best sound for video can only really be captured with microphones close to the sound source.

5. Give attention to the pace,

not only in each shot but also the end to end scripting. Shots should flow. A sequence of shots should flow together and feel natural. The overall script should keep a viewers attention. A script might typically start with a problem or challenge. First it might establish the guidelines and characters of the story. It could then begin to work towards resolving the issues and problems raised. A movie length story will often set the problem first, then spent most of the story in ups and downs of problem and resolution. Finally an even bigger seemingly insurmountable problem is presented which will be resolved in a surprising way in the last 5 minutes or so. A stage musical will often involve the two main characters presenting their life’s dream in about the third song solely to get you plugging for them for the rest of the show.

Above all, all media production should be governed by common sense. It is also fundamentally a way of communicating a message to an audience. And if it does not achieve that you have just wasted your time.