10 useful things to consider when making a video
1. Buy a good quality audio recorder
Sound is one of the most important aspects of shooting video. A badly shot video with good quality audio is preferable to a stunning looking film with poor quality audio.
Invest in an audio recorder that allows you to set the recording levels and accepts various microphone inputs. Tascam and Zoom are good makes. For interviews a lavalier or tie-clip microphone is a good option.
2. Consider a DSLR camera
DSLR camera’s are relatively cheap and if you invest in a good quality prime lens, you can give your videos a ‘filmic’ look by utilising shallow depth of field.
Alternatively consider hiring one for a few days.
3. Invest in your saving capacity
Filming in Full High Definition (HD). 4GB equates to roughly 12 minutes of Full HD footage (1080p). Whatever you use - SD Cards, Digital tape, USB drives... - ensure you have spares.
4. Use a tripod
Nothing screams ‘amateur’ more than wobbly, hand-held footage (unless that’s the look you’re going for). Tripods are relatively cheap and allow you to frame a shot perfectly.
If you must go hand-held, think about how to stablise your shot.
5. Let there be light
Ideally you’ll be shooting in well-lit locations so you won’t need to worry about taking your own lighting. Another advantage of using a fast prime lens, they’re ideal for shooting in low light situations.
If you must use additional lighting, consider a couple of softbox lights on stands.You should aim to keep your camera’s ISO as low as possible - high ISO’s create visual noise/grain.
When there is too much light, such as broad daylight, consider using a Neutral Density filter to restrict the amount of light coming into the camera.
If you’re filming device has a grid overlay option then use it. A grid overlay allows you to frame your shots using compositional devices such as the rule of thirds. For example if you’re filming an interview, place the person off-centre - either ‘frame left’ or ‘frame right’ to give them ‘look room’ and make sure their head isn’t too low down in the frame.
7. Keep the shutter speed at 1/50 of a second
To help give the appearance of natural movement in your videos set your camera’s shutter speed to 1/50 of a second (note that’s shutter speed and not frame rate).
8. Beware of moiré
On TV when you see someone interviewed wearing a stripy shirt, the image of the shirt can appear as a wavy pattern. That’s called a moiré effect. The camera sensor has a hard time rendering complex or repetitive patterns such as dots or stripes so try to avoid these.
9. Shoot for the edit
Think about the film you’re making and write a shot list and stick to it. If you’re filming an interview, think about what the person is talking about and try and get plenty of footage (or even still images) that can be used in the edit to illustrate their points.
10. The ten second shot
When shooting extra footage for the edit, only film what you need. A good rule of thumb is to film in 10 second chunks. So if you're filming someone doing something, film a few seconds at one angle then switch and film a few seconds from another angle. You can then edit these short clips together into a sequence which makes it more visually interesting than filming from just one angle for say 30 seconds.