Shooting holiday video can be a tad daunting for a beginner. You want to get the footage candid yet not amateur. To shoot good video, you need to get the basics sorted so that you have something you can watch and enjoy with your friends and family years down the line. Good shooting needs more than just good camera equipment. You need to use proper techniques and hacks so that you can effectively communicate your ideas to your audience through your videos. You also need a good deal of instinct and skill while you are shooting. This comes to you only with experience and spending years behind the viewfinder, constantly trying to improve your knowledge and skill.
Videography involves three stages: pre-production, production and post-production. The pre-production stage involves planning what and how to shoot, whereas production stage involves the actual shooting like wide shots, tilt shots, etc. The third stage post-production involves editing. For example, adjusting the time of the video, cutting out unnecessary footage, checking audio, etc. If you are starting off with videography, these techniques and tips listed below can help you get some great footage. Whether you are shooting low-key holiday video or making a mini-movie on your break with friends of family, these helpful tips can really improve the end result of your video and make it enjoyable for everyone to watch.
1. Zooming – Keep it minimal
Think about a video where too much zooming is used, constantly in and out. Or panning from side to side. It’s all very dramatic to the point of being comic. One of the common mistakes that every beginner makes is using too much zoom in and zoom out when they shoot. Do not zoom in and out frequently. Instead, use it for that one captivating moment or shot to not take away from your subject matter. When you continuously use the zoom function, video looks amateur and shots that actually require zoom lose their impact. Let the action unfold naturally when you shoot video – don’t distract the viewer with unnecessary close-ups.
2. Outdoor Lighting
You may think that shooting a video outdoors on a sunny day will not require added lighting, but to get the best results you need to take a few precautions while planning your video. Always look at the position of the sun during the time you are planning your shoot. Check the weather forecast to see whether the sky is overcast or if there is rain or heavy winds predicted which could interfere with the quality of your footage and sound. You need to shoot with the sun to your back in order to get the best lighting in your video. This technique will make your subject or the person you are shooting look crisp and brighter. If you are not able to shoot under the hot sun for long hours, then you can start shooting in the golden hours which are usually the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. Make the best of these hours to create amazing holiday videos and you can capture the best of your moments to recall.
3. Tilt Shots
One of the simplest and most effective techniques to use is tilting shots – tilting the camera up and down (the high-low shots). Due to it being creative and easy, it is often overused and poorly executed by many, much like overuse of the zoom feature and panning the camera too much. For the tilt shot to be executed smoothly and confidently, make use of a tripod to capture nature, scenery, animals, flowers or portraits. Tilt the camera only when there is a need in the film. Do not add too many tilt shots as it will affect the look of the video.
4. Steady Video
A dead giveaway for amateur footage is a shaky hand while shooting. A frame that jumps, even a little, can be extremely distracting to the audience and shows inexperience on the filmmaker’s part. The best way to shoot a steady video is by using a tripod. It is usually used for shooting formal interviews, time-lapse videos and other films which do not require much movement. But if you don’t have a tripod with you, then there are two techniques you could use. One is by positioning the camera at one spot and making sure it does not move (for example, placing it on a table). The second is by taking wide angle shots. Wider the focal length, the steadier the shot.
5. Indoor Lighting
Getting the lighting right can be really tricky during indoor shoots. For example, when you are recording special occasion moments such as brunch party videos, wedding videos or engagement videos. But there are several techniques to achieve good footage with good lighting. It requires a lot of preparation; more than the preparation needed for outdoor shootings. The easiest way is by adding lights. If you’re shooting people, make sure that their faces face the light. Overhead lights only produce light on the top of people’s head but not on to their faces. It is always recommended to shoot in the daytime and use natural light from windows to enhance your film.
6. Time Lapse Video
Time-lapse is one of the popular techniques used by many videographers. It takes some time to get the perfect time-lapse video if you’re a first timer. You can shoot the video in two ways :
- Shoot the video first in the normal mode and then speed up the timestamp during post-production.
- If your camera has a time lapse setting then you can use that.
The one important thing to remember while shooting a time-lapse video is that the camera should be placed on the tripod, making sure there is no movement. If you don’t have a tripod you can place it on any surface with your desired angle.
The above video production techniques are a great way for a beginner to start shooting. Apart from these, it requires a lot of practice and creativity to get the perfect video.
Keshav Sishta, experienced professional from Singapore video production company with extensive experience in corporate video production, creative commercial photography and film projects.