5 Beginner’s Tips For Every Videographer

Ready to go out there and film? Excited to see and share your vision? Have you shot a video before? How were you able to convey your message? As a budding videographer, there might be a lot of questions in your mind about the right things to do when shooting a scene. These tips are meant to address any questions and inadequacies you think you have.

Beginner mistakes

Nearly everyone makes mistakes when first shooting a video. The most common mistake that videographers do is to zoom in and out or pan from side to side without understanding why they are doing it. Do you really need to get a close-up shot of your subject?

Some directors have filmed an entire movie without using the zoom or the pan. Instead of zooming in on your subject, you can just stop shooting and move closer to your subject. You can then edit the scene later. The same goes for panning from left to right, or vice versa.

Lens characteristics

Shorter lenses give you more depth of field but the subject and the background are all in focus. Shorter lenses also make the objects closer than they appear.

Use a short lens when you want to see everything in the frame focused. But use a longer lens, which is more difficult to avoid “shaky-cam,” when you want the background to be out of focus.

Tripod

The best way to avoid that shaky-cam effect is to have a good and quality tripod. This will ensure that your subjects are in focus, rock-solid, and the moves are smooth. Some videographers have turned shaky cam into an art form but that will only work for certain videos that require that effect. Do yourself and your audience a favor and never do that shaky-cam effect for nothing. It’s confusing and it gives everyone a headache.

Headroom

How many videos have you watched where the top of the heads of the subjects have been cut off? There’s a thing called overscan in every television where it cuts off about 10 percent of the screen—bottom, sides, and top.

As a general rule, you should allow the width of your pinky finger between the top of the head of the subject and the top of the frame. This would amount to the perfect headroom for viewers at home.

Lighting

Good lighting makes even smartphones and poor quality camcorders look passable. A basic lighting setup includes a key light, a fill light, and a back light. Natural light works best, so you have to try and replicate it as much as possible.