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Introduction | Part 2 >

The Videomaker's Journey: part one
Four steps to help you improve your video shots.

Use the links in the text to move between sections.

There are four basic steps that will help you to learn how to improve your video shots. They are easy to learn.


Step 1. Take steady shots.
  • With handheld shots the image stabilizers in most video cameras will allow you to take steady close-ups of a person's face up to two metres away. Brace your elbows against your chest.
  • For further away, handheld shots use wider angle shots, so as to have a steady picture. Sitting on a chair back to front, helps. Also try sitting on the floor, with elbows rested on your knees. Bracing wrists against a wall or trees etc. is a much used method. Glance at the edges of the image in the viewfinder to check if the video camera is steady enough for the shot.
  • If walking while you shoot, keep the knees slightly bent and both eyes open, so that you can properly see where you walk.
  • Use a tripod when convenient as this will allow you to zoom in closer. The use of tripods for family shots and other people is not usually practical. The subjects won't wait around while you set up the gear. Once the tripod is set up, the children and adults don't always act naturally.
Step 2. Stop the video camera after each shot.
  • Don't wave the video camera around like a hose while recording.
Step 3. Framing the subject.
  • The main subject should be off-centre - except when the background has to be considered.
  • Provide extra space in front of the nose - in the direction the person is looking or walking. Provide extra space in front of a car. This is what the professional camera operators do. This is not essential for the average home video maker, but it will help make your video shots look better.
Step 4. Panning and tilting.
When panning or tilting:
  • start the shot with a 3 second shot where the camera does not move
  • then pan or tilt slowly
  • and end with a 3 second shot where the camera does not move

As you pan or tilt - an object should take 5 - 7 seconds to cross the screen.

Remember: don't reverse back over what you are shooting.

Introduction | Part 2 >

© copyright Arthur Bullock, 2007

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