videography Tips – Producing a polished, professional-looking video doesn’t have to mean splurging on expensive video production equipment and film studios. You can become a good cameraman just by paying attention to a few key details that may not be obvious at first glance and practicing your craft.
Whether you’re shooting a high-end production or simply creating a vlog that your viewers will love to watch, these video-making tips will prove to be very useful.
This means you can still refer to it as your complete guide when you decide to pursue a career in video and become a cinematographer or filmmaker. These videography tips will not only help you create more professional-looking videos that will impress your audience, but also help you realize your potential and your own creative filmmaking style.
videography Best tips
First and foremost, do your research. The more you know about a topic, the better you can tell that story. Whether it’s a conversation you’re having or a conversation you’re creating, you need to know what you’re talking about if you want to convey important information to your audience.
2. Gather your gear
Fortunately for beginners, we live in an age where quality digital cameras are made to be affordable for both personal and recreational use. You can practice videography using gadgets you may already have.
- Use the rear camera for better recording quality
- Shoot in landscape mode
- When recording a video, turn on the grid overlay on the screen if you have one. This gives you a practical guide on how to keep your phone level
If you have the budget for it, we definitely recommend buying a gimbal stabilizer for more stable handheld shots, an external microphone for better sound, and a reliable video tripod.
3. Plan your photoshoot
If you are going to shoot a music video, commercial or short film, you will have much more freedom to plan the entire video production from start to finish.
To really do it like a pro, create your own storyboard with illustrations of your scenes in sequence. This will help you pre-visualize your final shots and outline the shots you want. It will act as your guide for shooting and editing, and can also help you determine the perfect time of day to shoot, desired locations, and the right cameras to use (if you have multiple options) before shooting.
On the other hand, if you’re covering an event, you’ll want to be as prepared as you can. For example, when shooting wedding videos, a wedding videographer should know how to capture all the most important moments and create fantastic videos of the bride, groom, and wedding party.
Some useful wedding videography tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you know the timeline of the entire wedding day like the back of your hand – from the ceremony to the reception program.
- Prepare a list of wedding shots. This list should include the first kiss, the cutting of the cake, and other key moments that the couple would like to immortalize.
- Just as there are styles of wedding photography, there are also certain styles of photography for wedding videos. Stick to a specific style. Be consistent and use the right one that suits the couple and their event for the perfect cinematic wedding video.
4. Tell a story
One of the main reasons why viewers lose interest in the video is the lack of narrative. A single image or short video clip can make a profound statement, convey a funny anecdote, or make a poignant observation about the human condition. Shift your focus from one subject to another or create drama with interesting light, the choice is yours.
Build emotion into the story and keep the viewer’s attention. Add some conflict and finally end with some sort of resolution.
These are all essential elements of storytelling, but it’s up to you to decide how to present them within your own unique vision. You also need to consider the demographic of your audience. Who are you making this video for? For example, are you advertising for a fast food chain or a clothing brand?
5. Show don’t tell
Video storytelling is an inherently visual medium. To make the most of it, you have to immerse the viewer in the world as if they were witnessing the action. Let them find their own conclusion and form their own opinion. So there is a greater sense of satisfaction if they discover it themselves.
So now when you’re projecting instead of narrating, you can use the classic “Wide, Medium, Tight” that’s been part of the language of cinema since its inception more or less.
It can be used to determine your location, display the finest details, and everything in between. What you show is just as important as how you show it when it comes to motivation. Why do you use a wide-angle lens? Why need to move the camera or go into slow motion? Every tool in your filmmaking arsenal needs a reason or motivation to use it.
6. Have good lighting
One of the biggest secrets to achieving professional-looking videos is using lighting for storytelling. Try to be intentional about lighting while conceptualizing. Decide what types of lights you need and where to place them to achieve the desired effect.
Or if you’re on a budget and working with existing lights (like lamps and the sun), think about how that would work for your particular scene.
Conversely, enough light can add mood and create an ethereal feeling depending on the placement of the light.
7. Keep the background simple
Don’t shoot just anywhere. Try to use a simple background or enhance it by removing as much clutter as possible. Many use a single-colored background—whether it’s a wall, a sheet, or background paper—and position themselves (or their subjects) several feet away from it so as not to cast a shadow.
The key is to minimize elements that make the scene look cluttered and distract from your subject. While there are themes and stories that benefit from a cluttered scene, you may want to focus on improving your videography with the basics and then level up and experiment from there.
8. Improve your composition
A professional filmmaker or someone in the film industry may be able to recognize the work of an amateur within the first few seconds of a video project. This is still true even when high-end camera equipment has been used. So what will reveal them? It is their lack of proper framing and composition.
Many beginners don’t realize that good video (especially cinematography) involves more than just pointing the camera at your scene or subject. It involves organizing and letting the visuals tell your story. It also means changing the framing of the camera to make the scene look aesthetically pleasing.
Among cinematography’s most important compositional tips and rules is the Rule of Thirds. Here, you place the subject’s head slightly higher (not in the center) of the frame, giving it room to breathe or walk when turned sideways. Another is to stay on the same side of two people talking while shooting over their shoulder. It is also important to have a foreground and background to create depth in the scene.
Some of these are similar to basic photography composition techniques, so you may want to read about them and practice related tutorials.
9. Experiment with angles
The angles you use to capture your content have a huge impact on mood and perspective. The main angles used by filmmakers are low, high, bird’s eye, and over the shoulder. Low-angle perspective is achieved by placing the camera below eye line level and looking up at the subject. This is also known as the “heroic” angle because the subject appears to tower over everything and appear larger than life.
A high angle sees the subject from slightly above. It is often used to provide a sense of surroundings. However, when used correctly, it also allows the subject to appear more vulnerable. A bird’s eye view is often taken from different heights and is often captured by a drone. It allows the viewer to gain a greater view of the surroundings than a wide-angle perspective would allow.
The over-the-shoulder view is often used when characters are talking to each other or showing something that one character can see but the other can’t.
10. Choose your talent
It is important to choose the right talent for your video. Try several candidates before you decide. It’s also wise to choose someone who has experience playing in situations similar to the content you’re creating. For example, if you’re creating an instructional video, you’ll want someone who has created similar content in the past.
A person who only has experience creating energy drink ads may not be the right talent for this particular job.
The talent’s speaking and intonation skills are also important factors to consider.
Make sure the talent can speak in a way that matches your product or content. Talent should also be able to speak with different intonations. Avoid the monotone speaker at all costs!
11. Observe the correct placement of the camera
A common mistake made by beginners is that they don’t mind how the focal length of the lens and the relative distance of the camera from the subject affect the appearance of the scene. When taking close-up shots, never place the camera close to the subject, as this can cause unattractive facial distortions and make it harder for you to crop the edges of the scene. It is much easier to position the camera a few feet away and carefully zoom in with the camera lens.
But before you start zooming with your camera, be aware that you should do it optically (with the lens) instead of digitally (by zooming in with your fingers on the screen), as this will reduce the quality of your video clips and possibly make them look pixelated.
12. Use manual focus
While the autofocus feature on your camera can be very useful, it can ruin your footage when it gets out of focus or out of focus when trying to find your subject in dimly lit scenes. The key is to use exposure/focus lock on your smartphone or switch to manual focus on a separate camera so you can use your own eyes and set the focus yourself.
Focus settings also allow you to add cool effects to your video videography, such as using the tripod focus technique, where you can gradually focus on different subjects (using a shallow depth of field to blur everything else) to direct your viewer’s attention. Used correctly, it can be a very powerful storytelling tool for videography.
13. Adjust the white balance
If you are using more than one camera to record the same scene, it is possible that these cameras will have different default color temperatures.
This is a problem when using cameras from different brands such as Sony and Canon. The problem can also occur when using cameras of the same brand. Can you imagine how distracting it would be to see alternating bluish and warm yellow clips?
Adjust the white balance on all cameras before recording to create more consistent and professional-looking clips.
Bonus Tip: The “correct” white balance is subjective and may depend on the desired output. For example, you can deliberately set it to look even colder to give the scene a colder or scarier atmosphere. Use it to work for your story if you practice consistency in each unique scene.
14. Expose scenes evenly
Another problem you may encounter when using multiple video cameras to film a scene is clips that don’t look the same in terms of exposure. The same scene may appear darker on one camera and lighter on another. This is unless you set the same exposure settings such as frame rate, ISO levels, and aperture.
This is why special film lenses have t-stops. These represent the exact aperture values, instead of the theoretical f-stop values on common photographic lenses.
For beginners, it may be easier to shoot in a controlled setting. You can have the same lighting regardless of the time of day and use the same camera with exposure locked. Yes, recording may take longer. However, it will save you headaches with exposure correction during post-production.
Bonus tips for shooting video: If you have to shoot outdoors, do it quickly and on a clear day so the sun doesn’t beat on you and the clouds don’t block your lighting. videography
15. Apply film techniques
A truly professional-looking video project incorporates a combination of basic camera movements that will not only enhance your storytelling but also keep your viewers engaged. If you want to take your videography to the next level and really impress your audience, you may want to use a few cinematography techniques.
The techniques you choose to use will largely depend on your level of creativity and how you want to present your scenes, but it’s always ideal to choose just a few basics that best tell your story. You don’t want to overdo them and end up overwhelming your audience with visuals rather than your story.
16. Avoid shaky shots
Whether you’re planning, shooting with a crane, or moving from side to side, you don’t want your footage to look shaky. In addition to making your footage look like home videos, your viewers may feel seasick. The key is to hold the camera on a tripod or any solid surface.
Once the camera is set up, try not to move it unless necessary. When you need to start panning or zooming, treat the camera like a full cup of coffee. Keep your speed consistent and don’t make sudden stops.
17. Time your shots
Here are some videography tips from professional videographers that you might not find in many how-to articles. Keep your shots longer than five seconds, but no longer than 10 seconds, to effectively hold your audience’s attention. videography tips
Also, remember to keep the shots steady for at least 10 seconds – no panning or zooming until then. Many beginners find them extremely useful in minimizing camera movements, reducing recording time, and keeping their sequences simple during post-production.
18. Plan for sound
Have you ever seen a YouTube video with bad sound? Of course, you have! Can’t stand it, right? In many ways, it can be argued that audio is more important than video for different types of content. For the best content, plan to use dedicated audio rather than the camera’s built-in microphone.
You’ll want to consider the direction of the sound you want to capture.
Do you want to capture only the voice of the person in front of the camera or some ambient noise as well? Is there just one person talking or is it a conversation? Does it matter if the microphone is visible?
You’ll also want to monitor the audio with dedicated headphones to make sure the levels are reasonable but not clipped. Will you be recording content directly to the camera or to an external device? Finally, consider uploading using at least two methods, especially for very important content that you may not be able to re-upload.
19. Photograph and edit
This particular “pro tip” simply means that you should think like an editor when shooting. When recording a scene, you’ll want to capture several angles and several “safety shots.” This means you’ll have options later when creating your final cut. This will save you time and effort that you could otherwise spend re-filming. Plus, it prevents you from settling for subpar shots that make your work look unprofessional.
And when editing, use simple video editing software that you can get used to before moving on to more complex programs. You can learn from our video editing videography tips that include simple yet professional techniques in addition to simple trimming, cropping, and correction of video clips and audio levels.
Finally, the best cameras for shooting video
Aspiring filmmakers often worry that they need a large budget to create a quality video. There are so many types of cameras, but ultimately the best camera for a new filmmaker is a camera you know how to use. While you may be dreaming of a cinema camera that costs tens of thousands of dollars, the market is full of great DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that are great for creating high-quality video.
If you already own a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can start making videos right away. Check out the tutorials for your specific camera’s video features to learn the ideal settings for recording video. For example, search online for “Best Sony a7III video settings”. Tips of videography .
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