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How to get good video footage

I. Preparation

A. make sure battery is fully charged
B. take an extra battery if possible and/or power cord
C. take enough videotape
D. take a tripod along if you can

II. Shooting

A. Camera

1. use a tripod for shots with no camera movement
2. use the image stabilizer function when doing handheld shots
3. don’t overuse the zoom lens
4. get a variety of coverage; wide shots, close-up details, etc.
5. be sure to get enough coverage to convey the topic you are covering

B. Composition

1. for talking heads, frame the person off-center, not dead center
2. have proper headroom; not too much, not too little
3. note the background behind the person

•    a. make sure nothing looks like it is sticking out of their head
•    b. make sure there is no distracting background activity
•    c. choose where your subject should stand or sit while talking
•    d. if possible, use a background that relates to the person
•    or what they are talking about.

4. for all shots, be conscious of what is at the edges of the frame

•    a. look at the image in two dimensions, compose for the screen
•    b. is the subject of the image obvious from the composition
•    c. people concentrate on certain things while cameras pick up
•    everything, so be watchful of everything in the frame

C. Lighting

1. be sure you can see everything you want the audience to see
2. if possible choose time of day, location, and subject for good lighting
3. if possible, avoid monochromatic lighting (all blue, all green, etc.)

•    a. outdoor shooting tends toward blue (daylight)
•    b. incandescent lights tend toward orange
•    c. fluorescent lights are greenish, avoid using as a light source

4. video cameras average the light in the frame to set the aperture

•    a. be sure the subject is lit brighter than the background
•    b. avoid bright backgrounds as they will make the subject dark
•    c. try not to have light sources within the frame if possible

5. use natural lighting whenever possible, or natural-looking lighting

D. Sound

1. be sure the person being interviewed can be heard clearly
2. avoid having too much background noise; remember, people focus their attention, but the microphone picks up a lot more
3. remember that on most cameras, moving the camera means moving the microphone and where it is aimed

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