Some tips for beginners! --Joshua
For thy Pre-Production:
- Thou shalt know that thy script and thy pre-production are more important than thy fancy camera, lights, etc. Underdeveloped concepts lead to underwhelming videos.
For thy Camera:
- Thou shalt shoot every shot with a "purpose". Think about what you are trying to communicate with each of your shots.
- Thou shalt evaluate thy Composition, Exposure, Focus, and White Balance. Every shot, every time.
- Thou shalt shoot plenty of "coverage". Vary your composition, angles, and framings – especially for dialogue scenes (don’t just pan between speakers)
- Thou shalt always use thy camera with a tripod. Your handheld shots do not look as good as you think they do.
- Thou shalt never use a “slow” shutter speed, and thou shalt not use a “fast” shutter speed unless there is a good reason to do so (i.e. "Action" scene, "Chase" scene, etc.)
- Thou shalt not zoom while shooting a take.
- Thou shalt never shoot thy subject or action up against a wall, unless there is a good reason to do so.
- Thou shalt be mindful of thy screen direction while shooting (and editing).
- Thou shalt keep thy camera’s ISO/Gain setting low, lest thy footage become too noisy. Use more light if necessary.
For thy Location Sound:
- Thou shalt always “close-mic” thy subject or action via a boom mic or lav mic. Every shot, every time.
- Thou shalt know how to mic thy talent with a lav, and know when it's ok for that lav to be visible in your shot.
- Thou shalt always monitor thy location audio recording with headphones. Listen for hum, overmodulation, wind noise, etc.
- Thou shalt record several seconds of “Room Tone” at each shooting location. When it comes time to edit, you might need to use the ambient sound of the place that you are shooting in.
For thy Editing:
- Thou shalt never use a bad shot in your edit! No poorly composed shots, no out-of-focus shots, no poorly lit shots, no shots where talent looks into the camera unintentionally, etc.
- Thou shalt not linger on any shot for more than 10 or 15 seconds unless there is a very good reason to do so.
- Thou shalt be mindful of the “30 degree rule”. Do not cut between similar angles.
- Thou shalt avoid cutting to a moving shot unless there is a very good reason to do so (i.e. "Action" scene, "Chase" scene, etc.)
- Thou shalt not use any shots with obvious "camera shake” in thy edit.
- Thou shalt use subtle “Split Edits” (a.k.a “J Cuts” and “L Cuts”) in thy edit whenever possible.
- Thou shalt not use jump cuts...unless you are deliberately using several jump cuts in a row for a stylistic effect.
- Thou shalt be mindful of thy screen direction while editing (and shooting).
- Thou shalt not have any typographical errors in on-screen text. Use spell-check on your text if you are unsure of word spellings.
- Thou shalt "smooth out" thy audio edits (via audio dissolves, fades, etc.), lest thy audience "hear" those edits.
For thy Lighting:
- Thou shalt use "controlled" lighting: lighting instruments indoors, bounce cards or reflectors outdoors. Every shot, every time.
- Thou shalt soften and/or bounce thy hard lights.
- Thou shalt use a rim light on thy subject(s) to separate them from background.
- Thou shalt avoid shooting in “mixed” lighting environments.
- Thou shalt use (very dim) controlled lighting on nighttime exterior shots.
REMEMBER: Poor technique can ruin a good story. Good technique can't save a poor story. A successful video has both a good story and good technique.