Get the Best Shot: 5 Tips for Shooting Video!

Whether you’re filming a child’s recital or sporting event, capturing a family holiday celebration, recording vacation footage, or making the next sci-fi fan film, you want to produce the best video you can.

Technology has advanced considerably in recent years, making it so much easier to capture, record, edit, and share videos; but what separates great footage from average video is often the techniques you use. Instinct and instruction manuals can only get you so far. Here are 5 tips for making sure that your visuals delight your audience:

1. Frame it correctly

You want to be sure that the frame is filled with your subject, though that doesn’t mean said subject needs to be centered. A film of a speaker at a graduation ceremony is more effective if it includes some students in the frame as well, capturing their reactions and responses.

2. Zip the zoom

Probably the first control we all played with on a video or film recorder or our favorite smartphone or tablet is the zoom function. We’re mesmerized by changing the perspective, zooming in and out. The problem is that excessive zooming can make viewers feel nauseated. When you do decide to use the feature, make sure you’re steady and slow as you zoom in or out.

3. Vantage points should vary

If you were to watch a television show or movie that is continually shot from one point of view, you’ll get antsy and distracted. Switching up the location from which you shoot adds variety for the viewer, and you just may find an angle that tells your story more powerfully. If you can’t move to different vantage points, consider changing the angle by kneeling or standing up to film.

4. Make sure special effects truly are special

Much like the zoom discussion, it’s cool that you can film in x-ray mode or add a sepia-toned filter in post-production; however, resist the temptation to go overboard. Does the effect add something to the storytelling? Does the filter truly advance the plot or characters? With the preponderance of free and inexpensive effects available, you may be tempted, but in most cases, less is more.

5. Know when to go wide

Wide shots and widescreen are two different things. A wide shot may be effective to establish a location, but once you’ve shown the pine trees and lobsters, your viewers know you’re in Maine. Use wide shots with discretion and make sure to get to the story.

Now, if you want to show your project on a widescreen television or computer screen, make sure to film it that way. Most modern digital video recorders let you record in 16:9 widescreen mode. Otherwise, you may end up distorting or stretching your footage.

If you’re a video buff, take a look at Capture Every Moment: Transform VLC Player into a Screen Capture App to get even more powerful results from your software!

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