Making videos or videography is a different animal from photography. When you are trying to capture great pictures for a portrait or an event, you think in terms of still shots. In your mind the objective is “what will make a great picture.”
Video opens up whole scenes to be captured on film or digitally , for better and for worse. But it also opens up a lot of opportunity for mistakes, unexpected results or interruptions and surprises. Not only do you have to continue to think about what makes a great shot, you now have sound and movement issues to factor in. So while videography is much more fun, it’s also a lot more work.
You are trying to find a middle ground when you start shooting video. You know that anybody can bring a camcorder and capture video streams. These days they can even do it with their phone. But you want to create a more professional shot than the high school kid with a camcorder. Then again, you are not trying to win an academy award. So the level of professionalism has to be better than amateur so you can justify the time and expense of good video that you will be happy with.
To accomplish this mix of perfectionism and compromise, a few tips from the pros who have already set up a video business can help a lot. Here are what many of the old pros tell us to focus on especially as we are learning to create interesting moving pictures for personal use or for business.
The cornerstone advice that the pros give about making great video is plan ahead. The more you know about your shoot, the better equipped you are when you show up. If you are shooting a wedding, visit the chapel, perhaps the reception hall and plan where you will set up to capture the best images. Plan your routes as you move around so you can create a smooth flow that works with the wedding procession rather than interrupt it.
The same is true of any event. Even a sporting event, as spontaneous as that is, will offer some less traveled areas where you can position yourself to catch the action. If the best location for capturing video is above or a distance from the activity, then you know you will need to use zoom and focus differently than if you can be in the middle of the action. This helps you plan how to prepare your equipment and your crew who will be supporting the shoot.
Lighting is something that must be part of your preplanning so you have sufficient light so the action and facial reactions are easy to pick out on the video. Outdoors, keep the sun behind you if at all possible. Indoors, scout out how the existing lighting will look on video during the hours that you will be shooting. If they are not sufficient, you should get in there and set your lights in place well in advance of the event and work with the event organizers so they know your lights will be on during the event. You want to make a great video, but you have to know what is going on.
A good video is a combination of stability of the camera and constant movement. So use a tripod to stabilize the shots when the video is being actively shot. But you have to be able to move the set up quickly to a new location. So make sure that your equipment is well maintained and that cameras, tripods and that all supplies are quickly accessible for field changes or repairs.
One of the most valuable tips is to shoot with the intention of editing. In that way, you will shoot more footage than you need, knowing you are going to edit it together later. You can go back and capture connecting video shots to smooth out the action and you don’t have to get upset if you get some bad footage. These and many other talents you will develop will take you to that level of professionalism you want to reach.