You’ve gotten yourself a brand new high-end camera and you’re ready to get out there and start shooting! So this means that you’re going to create a masterpiece on your first go, right? I mean, it’s a top of the line piece of equipment – of course it’s going to come out amazingly!
Unfortunately, no. Many people go into video with this mindset and are disappointed to learn that great equipment does not a great videographer make. Creating a visual masterpiece takes years of patience, hard work, and practice.
You don’t have years to learn all of the tricks of the trade? Well, that’s okay! We’ve compiled some tips for shooting better video that we hope will help you out!
Always make sure to keep back up memory on hand! – Whether it’s memory cards, CDs, tapes, or whichever, make sure to keep a spare or two on you just in case you need it. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of an important moment and realizing that your camera just ran out of space to record it. If you wait until you’re out of space, you might also run into problems with buying more. These days, most stores carry SD cards and things of the sort, but if you buy them at somewhere like a hotel, gift shop, gas station, or somewhere else on the go, odds are that you’ll be paying more than you would buying them somewhere else.
Make sure your battery is fully charged beforehand, and if possible, keep a spare on hand! – The only thing worse than running out space to record is having the space but having your battery die on you! If you know you’re going to be filming something, make sure you charge up your battery in advance so that it’s ready to go. If possible, it’s also a good idea to keep a spare on you so that you can easily switch out the dead battery for a fresh one in case it dies at an inconvenient time.
Don’t overuse special effects that come with your camera! – You might think it’s really neat to play with your camera’s special effects, and it is, but when you’re recording an important moment, it’s best to just record it in it’s natural state and go back to add effects later if you wish to. If you shoot something with an added effect, generally there’s no way to remove it later on. If you shoot something in black and white and then later decide you want it in color, there’s no way to bring the color back. On the other hand, if you shoot it in its natural state and then later decide you want to make it black and white or add an effect, you can always add them in, undo the changes, whatever you want. Shooting naturally allows for total control of effects and removal of effects later on.
If editing isn’t in the cards, only record the crucial moments! – If you don’t plan on taking the footage into an editing program later to edit out all the extra moments you recorded to get to the good bits, don’t bother recording the extra, unimportant moments. Without editing, anyone watching will either have to sit through the extra bits or fastforward through them, and either of those can be annoying. If you do plan on editing, record to your heart’s content!
Avoid techniques that might make your video look amateur! – Much like Comic Sans is frowned upon in the graphic design community, there are certain techniques that are looked down upon in videography. Avoid excessive zooming in and out, and when you do use zoom, take it slow and easy! Frame your shots well and don’t use wide shots too often. Avoid heavy backlighting, as it can cause the focus of your shot to look dark and you can lose a lot of detail in your shot. Also, try to shoot from different angles and perspectives to switch things up and keep it interesting.
Always back up your files! – Speaking from experience, it’s horrible recording important memories and then losing them for some reason or another, whether it’s due to a corrupt hard drive, a broken CD, misplaced files, or accidentally recording over them. Always keep back ups of your files so that in case anything does happen to the original, you can rest assured knowing that you haven’t lost your precious memories or hard creative work. We walk you through backing up your files here on our blog, but AM Tech Video can also do it for you in store. Just give us a call or bring your files in and we’d be more than happy to help you out!