2018-06-12

5 Hints And Tips To Improve Your Video

With the growing capacity of DSLRs, mirrorless and even compact cameras to record high-quality 4K video, everyone has a chance of becoming the next YouTube star. We look at 5 simple hints and tips that will help you shoot better video today.


Mastering your lighting will help provide clear, sharp footage




1. Master your lighting


As with photography, you cannot underestimate how important decent lighting is when shooting video.

A well-lit environment will have a big say on the final look of your video, giving a sharper image with extra clarity. It also means you will find it easier to focus on the intended subject – in low light you are more likely to see your kit endlessly searching for focus. So what are my options?

1) Search out natural light.

If you can, utilise natural light – either choose the time of day you shoot at (if shooting outside), or if indoors try and utilise natural light sources – windows and bright walls that will reflect ambient light.

2) Add some lights to your collection


If you shoot video regularly you’ll appreciate the value in controlling the lighting on shoots. For video, continuous lighting is ideal – you’ll also want something portable for location shoots. You can find out more about continuous lighting in our ‘LED revolution’ blog.


The right lighting set-up is an investment that will pay-off


2. Master your sound


As Gareth says in the video below, both sound quality and soundtrack can have a massive impact on the final product. There are two main factors to this:

1) Sound Quality


We humans are funny creatures - our brains work by association – so if your footage features a boiling kettle, you’ll want the sound effect in there (if only in the background).

Likewise, we may naturally focus on visual footage, but if the sound quality is poor, all the slow-motion / visual effects in the world will not compensate.

You’ll want a microphone – certainly on-camera, but if you are presenting, interviewing, or recording someone giving a speech – a lapel microphone is worth investing in.



2) Music creates the mood


Ambience is everything in video – whatever genre you choose the music must match. No-one wants their daily politics show to be soundtracked to Benny Hill – it would set the wrong tone.

3.  Add motion for dynamic video

Adding motion to your shots adds dynamism to your footage – if you just set the camera on a tripod and hit record don’t expect to create dynamic footage that will engage the viewer.

Moving the camera while shooting requires extra work, as you want to create a smooth and stable shot, which can take practice. You can, of course, use a gimbal to help with this. It’s worth the effort – panning adds depth and draws you in to make you feel like you’re in the moment.

4.  Plan ahead - shoot at the righ time

This ties into the first point – you need to choose the right time of day to get the most out of your video. Shooting at the right time of day can make all the difference, but also means that you should consider this ahead of time.

If you shoot outside, try and film at golden hour – it will add a cinematic feel that can be hard to set-up with studio lighting. Find out more about shooting at golden hour.

Plan your outside shoots so that natural lighting reflects the mood of your piece


5. Composition – putting your subject in the frame

Following the same basic principles as stills photography, framing, composition and the angle you shoot all factor in to make your subjects stand out in the frame.

When setting up to shoot, step back and look around at the environment, and clean up any rubbish / distracting objects. Coffee cups may be important on-set, but should not be in your final shot!

You can also add items to provide interest and act as filming aides. This particularly applies to foreground objects to frame your subject – if your subject is sitting at a desk, try a houseplant in the foreground. This can add interest to the scene, add weight to the narrative and – importantly – help provide tools for transitions and focus pulls.

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