Wanda Merritt Anthony

Wanda Merritt Anthony

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Short Take on Footage

Months ago I said my next post would be about footage.  Life took over since then.  My oldest daughter got engaged and later called off the marriage.  I've put in extra time shooting, editing, and uploading footage.  I have also been putting in extra time at my work at home job.  With all this, along with normal living, my blog has been neglected.  Now I'm back with a short post for you.

I did some research to see which topics need to be addressed first.  I was pleasantly surprised when I went on YouTube to check out what's out there in terms of home video.  Basically, the same issues exist now as they did years ago when we all walked around with those camcorders on our shoulders.  These issues have improved considerable but are still there.

1.  Scenes and videos are too long.  Sure, the topic takes as long as it takes but cut out the extras.  For example, a bride getting ready. Many will show her washing her face, putting on moisturizer, doing her hair, plucking her eyebrows, applying blush, brushing on mascara and eyeshadow, lining her lips, putting on lipstick, blotting said lipstick, stepping into her dress, having it zipped, someone placing every pin in her veil, and finally the bride smiling into the camera.  Reduce this to a couple of strokes with the hair brush or one curl from the curling iron, bride applying mascara, stepping into her dress, finishing touches on the veil, and finally with the bride smiling into the camera. 

I know you're excited about the event.  You're right there feeling the vibe.  You want to capture every moment.  Do this if you must.  Just please do some judicious editing before you show the footage to people.  You don't want them falling asleep before they see the rest of your wonderful footage.  I think after you edit every moment of hours of footage you will shoot with the essential point in mind next time. 

2.  Too much zooming, panning, and tilting.  People zoom in then out and back again.  They'll pan right, then left, then back right.  The same with tilting, up, down, up.  STOP, just stop. 

Follow these rules whether you're zooming, panning, or tilting. 
     a.  Move in ONE direction and stop.  Period.  If you're shooting a wide view of the Salt Lake Temple and want to zoom in on the Angel Moroni, zoom in as close as you'd like and STOP.  Don't zoom back out.  Don't pan or tilt unless you're sure of what you'll see.  Same rule for panning and tilting.  If you are shooting a vista choose a starting point and pan in one direction and STOP.  Do not pan back the way you came in the same shot.  Want to show how tall that building is?  Tilt upward and STOP. 
     b.  People tend to start in the middle and pan, zoom, or tilt; then they'll go back in the opposite direction past the middle and onto to the other side.  Don't do that. 
     c.  Practice your moves.  Take a dry run or two before you shoot.  Pan the scene to decide where to begin and end.  Practice zooming so you'll know when to stop.  Stop at a good composition, not when you run out of zoom. 
     d.  Pan, zoom, and tilt at an appropriate and steady speed.  Most people move to quickly. 
     e.  Use pan, zoom, and tilt to enhance your footage.  These techniques are like spices, a little goes a long way.  Too much can ruin your efforts. 
     f.  This may be a blind thing but don't shoot while you're looking for your subject.  Pan, zoom, tilt, find, then shoot. 

3.  Use a tripod whenever possible.  For the most part you will be shooting action in front of you; the track meet, the parade, a sunset.  That is the action we want to see.  Stabilize you camera by placing it on a tripod or another stable surface.  Because I have to be very close to the video display I can rest the monitor part of the video camera on the bridge of my nose  when I can't use a tripod. 

4.  Know when to move and when to stay put.  These two examples are the best way I know to explain this. 

     Church video.  Somebody set a video camera on a tripod in the balcony.  They zoomed out so part of the congregation could be seen from the back.  The piano, organ, and pulpit could also be seen.  The entire service was recorded from this vantage point.  Someone should have been assigned to pan the choir members during a song, to zoom in on the soloist, get some medium shots of the pianist, pan the minister moving into the pulpit to preach, and some medium shots of him preaching the sermon.  The audio was good because the church used microphones.  Granted this is difficult with one camera but I believe the show would have been more interesting.

     YouTube Video.  Someone also set the camera on a tripod and left it there.  This person used a medium shot.  The scene consisted of a little girl standing at a table with play dough and cookie cutters.  The camera showed her mushing the play dough into the shapes and unmolding them.  After she unmolded each shape she would hold it up so the viewer could see.  The little girl talked about what she was doing the whole time.  The audio was good because the camera was close enough to capture it.  This video worked because the action was framed with no distracting extras. 

My motto is, "Go where the action is." 

4.  Audio.  I'll direct you elsewhere for that.  Your camera's built in microphone may be fine for close work or when other microphones are used.  I know you can buy extra microphones to enhance audio quality.  I usually remove the audio tract for my stock footage so I don't know much about making your audio better.

Next blog, I don't know.  I don't know when I will write and post my next blog.  Neither do I know what the subject matter will be.  If you have suggestions please comment. 

When you need stock photographs or footage please take a look at my portfolios.  I would appreciate it very much. 

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