Friday, December 20, 2013

Lessons I've Learned From Shooting Video

As I've been transitioning into the roll of videographer at Hoegger Communications, I've also been baptized by fire... learning from mistakes and immediately taking steps to correct.  It's fast paced and there's much riding on our videos, so I strive to learn quickly and not make the same mistake twice.  Below are some of the recent things I've learned:

1.) Turn down the sharpness levels within the DSLR prior to shooting.  This can be adjusted in a Canon by tweaking the Picture Style.

2.) Always take time to press record on camera as well as audio and verify they are recording prior to scene action.  This is a very simple thing but is easy to overlook during the hustle and bustle of the shoot.

3.) Be cautious, aware of trimming the top of a subject's head in the frame.  Give padding all around focus area.

4.) Use a white card or gray card to set accurate white balance.  Practice more with this technique.

5.) More B-Roll.  If I think a shot looks good, get it.  Example, I wanted to get a shot on the corner of a busy road during an ice storm to drive home the freezing temperatures, but I procrastinated and talked myself out of it.  I regretted this.

6.) Study tips to get the best audio from zoom and sennheiser microphones.

7.) Be aware of light shining and reflecting upon person's glasses.

8.) Avoid over exposure and blowing out bright colors.  Use histogram to double check prior to action.

9.) Pan slowly.

10.) Educate self on best practices for capturing audio.

11.) Use my 50mm for interviews.  Pull subject away from background (approx 5 feet) to give nice blurred background.

12.) If shooting at 24 fps, keep shutter speed at 50.  If I go up or down, realize that will cause a visual difference from how the human eye naturally sees motion.  This can be good or bad, depending upon the desired effect.

13.) Clear invisible trash files from memory cards prior to shooting.  Physically check the available memory space after deleting to make sure all files have been cleared from card.  I went to a shoot, after deleting the files in the main directory, I assumed the card was empty.  However, after only shooting for a brief period of time, the card read 'FULL'.  It put me in a bind, thankfully I had a backup memory card on hand.

14.) Direct the subject where to look when interviewing them.  It is my job to keep them focused on the area and direct them when they get off course.

15.) Practice attaching lavaliere microphone to subject's clothing.

16.) Examine entire frame closely before recording action.  Strange reflections?  Hair a mess?  Food in teeth?  Steering wheels crooked?  Unwanted beer cans in the background?  Study, look, know... then record.

17.) Speak up!  If something is wrong, confusing, unsure, say it, ask, interrupt!  It is my job to capture the best footage... it may feel 'rude' to interrupt to tell subject them that the tapping they are doing on the table is destroying the audio recording... but that's my job!


18.) If I need to close out the commercial with client's logo/address screen, provide adequate space for that ending prior to editing down the commercial.  It's very difficult to free up an extra 3 seconds on a 30 second spot that everyone loves in order to make room for a logo closeout.

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