Get the SHOT!

Improve your videoing skills with these hints, tips & tricks!

Three legs good – two legs bad

Get yourself a tripod and don’t be afraid to use it. Yes, most video cameras these days have some kind of built in image stabilisation but it can only compensate so much for your unsteady hand. When you buy your tripod, make sure to get one with a head designed for video so you can pan and tilt… You can buy a reasonably good tripod for the novice user between $100-200.

Compose your shot

Just as composition plays an important part in still photography it is also the mainstay of videography. Frame your shots, use the rule of thirds. Use close-ups and don’t be afraid to crop off the top of your subject’s head – it’s a standard convention and will make your shots look more professional.


Avoid the beginner’s trap of constant zooming in and out. Be deliberate, plan your shot and stick it. Don’t pan quickly or crash zoom – you aren’t making the Blair Witch Project. Use slow deliberate moves; this will make your home movie more enjoyable to watch.

Once upon a time

Don’t forget you’re telling a story. Make sure to shoot all the elements that you need so you can tell your tale. If you don’t have the time or the software to edit your videos you can still tell your story as long as you shoot sequentially and in camera edit (by pressing record and pause simultaneously to create a seamless edit). Sometimes adding a narration can get you out of tricky spots where you’ve missed out on a shot…

I can’t hear you!

Invest in an external mic. If you plan on shooting a lot of interviews, the best thing you could do would be to buy a lapel mic. It will always produce a better sound than a camera mounted mic or the internal microphone and give you a more professional audio. If you don’t want a lapel mic opt for a handheld.

Shine a light

Learn some basic lighting techniques. Try to shoot in well lit locations, failing that, make the most of available light. Make sure your subject is not standing with the sun blazing behind them or if it can’t be avoided utilise your cameras back light to brighten up the image.

Power up

Charge your batteries, Take your external power source with you – pack an extra battery. You neve r want to run out of juice in the midst of a shoot.

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