Shooting Video For The Web

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A simple guide to shooting video for the web

Transcript of Shooting Video For The Web

  • 1.Shooting video for the web The basics of videography for blogs and online news sites Ethical Martini, October 2008

2. Just shoot me

  • Theres nothing mysterious about broadcast technology and in the web context high-end production values are not important
  • However, always aim to shoot the best quality that you canthis means good light, good audio and good camera angles
  • There are some basic rules you should be following - the rule of thirds, for example and how to follow action with the camera, without getting all that jerky movement that spoils the shot

3. Before you leave the building

  • Even if youre not a boy scoutbe prepared
  • Equipment checklist:
    • Batteries; tapes (if you need them); free-space on hard drive (if you have one); tripod; audio gear; lights (if you can get them); power cordsoh, and the camera
  • Brain checklist:
    • what are you shooting; where are you going; how are you going to shoot it; do you need permission to shoot there; is the interviewee ready; have you researched the topic; have you got your notebook, maps, keys, phone, wallet and water; does someone know where youre going

4. Basic guidelines for web video

  • Use low-action shots whenever possible
    • lots of movement can look blurry and pixilated on the web
  • Keep the camera still
    • if youre shooting action, let it happen in the frame
    • Zoom, zoom, zoom in a word No
  • Make sure your subject is well lit from the front
    • get as much light as you can in the shot, peoples faces in particular and important action
  • Strive for good quality audio
    • GIGO: garbage in, garbage out
  • Avoid small objects except in ECU shots

5. Framing the shot

  • A good shot will always fill the frame
  • Get as physically close as you can to the subject/action Zoom with your feet
  • Familiarise yourself with the grammar of the shot:
    • Long/wide/establishing shots (panoramic, scene-setting)
    • Mid-shots (from the mid thigh or higher)/Head and shoulders (close-up)/ECU (extreme close-up)
    • Cutaways/B-roll/Reverses (shots that you can use to cover up difficult edit-points)
    • Choose your background carefully decorate
    • Pan (l-r)/zoom (in-out)/tilt (up-down)

6. Shoot for your editor (usually you)

  • Editing is always easier if you (or your editor) has a good selection of useable shots and great audio (well pretty good audio)
  • Most times you only get one shot at getting a shot
    • Action speaks louder than words shoot wide first and shoot wide often
  • Objects that are relevant or interesting; detailsfaces, hands, windows, artworks, flowers, friends, doors, damage, colour, emotion, metaphor, beauty, intrigue, curiosity, personalitymake great insert/cutaway shots
    • But dont waste time on that till you get the action
  • Take time to frame an interview shot even in the heat of the moment
    • Take more time with a set-up interview
    • Frame, sound-check, re-frame,record

7. Rule of thirds

  • Imagine the scene you want to frame overlaid with a grid breaking it into nine rectangles of equal size
  • Find the major point of interest in the shot as your focal point
  • Frame major foreground objects into the left or right horizontal third and into the middle third
  • Fill at least two thirds vertically

Source: sweet.vanjava The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally. Digital Photography School 8. Source: TV Handbook Source: Ethical Martini Source: sweet.vanjava Source: Picture America 9. Stabilise the camera

  • Theres nothing worse than shaky footage, except unintentionally shaky footage
  • Keep the camera stillsure, but how?
  • Use a tripod still the most effective way and you can then operate the controls without jerking the camera around
  • Steady yourself and the camera against something solid thats not moving:
    • a tree, a wall, a table, a heavy (non-operating) piece of machinery; rest your elbows on the roof of the car; get someone to hold you or to lean against

10. UseALLavailable light

  • Dark, greyed-out and grainy footage cannot be repaired in post-production (GIGO again)
  • Using professional lighting rigs is expensive, time-consuming and not for the D-I-Y beginner
  • Simple-to-use hotshoe lights for modern digital cameras work well for lighting facesif youre close enough
  • When in doubt take it out(side)theres nothing wrong with asking your interviewee to go outside, but be very careful about noisy locations
    • Open the curtains/blinds and turn on the lights
    • A simple table or desk lamp makes a reasonable spotlight for faces

11. Lighting tips

  • Dont shoot into direct sunlight
  • If youre outside on a really sunny day, find some light/dappled shade
  • Dont shoot with the sun in your interviewees eyes, they squint and look stupid
  • Find and use the backlight button on your camera
  • If you only have a little amount of light, get it on your subject any way you canuse the desk lamp etc and bring it close, then frame the shot to leave it out (seerule of thirds )

12. A few sound rules

  • Read up and practice microphone technique
  • Test your microphones before using them, particularly the first time
  • If using a small prosumer camera, fit an external mic if you can
  • Where possible use lapel mics for interviews if you only have one, put it on the talent, not on you
  • If your camera lets you ALWAYS check your audio levels in a pre-record test
  • Stay away from noisy locations and high wind situations

13. Chasing some action

  • If you keep the camera still, how do you shoot action?
  • Let the action come to you
  • Frame a wide shot and let the action move through the frame
  • Start with an empty frame (if you can), hold the shot until the frame is empty again
  • Pan, zoom, tilt if you want to try it
    • from a standing position on a tripod
    • start and finish on a still subject, or hold the shot till it leaves the frame

14. Action in the frame

  • For interview subjects frame wide or deep enough to get hands in frame if they move, using slow tilt
  • If youre on your own, keep it simple
    • a good seated MCU set wide (camera close) over one shoulder,
    • or standing head and shoulders to mid chest [ dont cross the line ]
    • If in doubt, keep it wide for crowd scenes, team sport and racing
    • Dont shoot flat angle the camera so that the action is moving towards (not head-on) or away into a horizon or vertical vanishing point ( thirds )

15. Where can the camera go?

  • 180 degree rule
  • for any given sequence of shots stay on one side of the subject
  • a half-circle along an imaginary line through the subject forms your shooting area

Crossing the lineis a very important concept in video and film production.It refers to an imaginary line which cuts through the middle of the scene, from side to side with respect to the camera.Crossing the line changes the viewer's perspective in such as way that it causes disorientation and confusion.For this reason, crossing the line is something to be avoided. Source: 16. Just starting outto change the world I guess you could say Im a digital immigrant, Im probably old enough. I got my first computer in the mid 1980s and Ive worked with them everyday since. I helped to build the first online database for the Australian Broadcasting Corporations archives. Well, I was doing highly-skilled data entry, at least. Ive been a journalist for 30 years in both mainstream and community media. I now teach journalism students, but my broadcast training was in the analogue age. I have picked up some digital skills, like a simple blog, audio and some video. Im now learning how to take more advantage social networks and D-I-Y media. My digital skills are getting better. What I can do is put stuff back, this is how I make my contribution to the digital revolution Ethical Martini, London, October 2008