Videography Tips from the Pros
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, 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 also can be a lot more work.
You are trying to find a middle ground when you start offering video as part of
your services. 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 here. So the level of
professionalism has to be better than amateur so you can justify charging for it
but it doesn’t have to be great art to be a good video that the customer will be
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 getting our video
business up and running…
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 interrupts 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. The people who hired you want a great video so they
will work with you. But you have to let them 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 insider 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. And your customers will notice it too and
come back for more of your talented videography.