Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Thinking In Video
10 tips for still photographers with video-capable cameras
Labels: Video How To
4. Create a storyboard. A storyboard helps you organize your video shoot and fosters creativity in your coverage. Before I shoot any video, I write down what the story is about, the scenes that need to be included, the best camera angles to use and what other media I may use, such as stills and audio. During this storyboard process, I often come up with new angles and ideas to cover certain shots.
Storyboards give you focus and efficiency when you’re shooting. If you’re working with models or people, this efficiency will be appreciated by all. Don’t randomly take video on a shoot because that’s how it will play back—randomly and scattered, quickly losing the viewer’s attention. Come with a storyboard plan, but always stay open to spontaneous ideas and angles that arise on the shoot. Shoot lots of B-roll footage, “scene setters” that support the main story. This footage can be edited into the final video and round out the story.
5. Seek out good light. Most of the lighting principles that apply to still photography are the same for video. Try to shoot with warm evening or morning light, and avoid harsh, midday sunny conditions. Many of the light modifiers you use to create nice light for still shooting are the same with video shooting. Reflectors, overhead silks and softboxes are all used in video production. Since video is shooting continuous frames, lights have to be continuous sources. A small, powerful video light is the Litepanels MicroPro. It’s a lightweight LED light that attaches to your hot-shoe, is powered by AA batteries and puts out an amazing amount of light. I often put my MicroPro on a Manfrotto Justin Clamp attached to a light stand. This allows me to position the light at a nice high angle to my subject. If you’re shooting with overhead sun, try putting your subject in the shade or use an overhead diffusion silk to soften the light.
Don’t simply put your camera on a tripod and then shoot the entire movie from one angle. Try putting your camera at ground level or up high for a fresh perspective. Shooting from different angles makes the video “snappy.” Try some shots with your telephoto, and shoot other clips with your wide-angle lens. These different angles and perspectives give you more creative options when editing the final piece.
7. Try selective focus. Using selective focus is a subjective choice, but it allows you to utilize one of the benefits of still camera video: the ability to use your existing lenses. Many camcorders don’t have the option of using wide-open apertures like ƒ/2.8, which gives soft, silky backgrounds with its shallow depth of field. This soft background effect is a great way to make video clips more dramatic and interesting. You can take this technique even further if you own a tilt-shift lens. Swing the lens left or right, set the aperture at ƒ/2.8, and you’ll have a really soft-focus shot with only one side of the frame sharp.
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