Friday, January 20, 2006

Basic problems and guidelines in videography

Charles and narrow gauge film
Originally uploaded by aroid.
The most prevalent problem in video is audio. Your lens zooms, but your cameraa's mic stays put. And people in front of a video cam typically speak in a soft voice. Argh. Cannot understand 'em.

Here are my solutions:
* Get close. Get the mic as close to people's mouths as possible by getting the camera right into their faces. Really.
* Silent movie. Use subtitles. Sometimes you can effectively put the printed dialogue or explanations right on top of that shot.
* Silent movie with voice-overs. Record your spoken parts after you've edited the silent movie. Easy to do and might produce humorous effect.
* Buy a lapel mic with long cable to plug into your camera. Not All cameras have such an input. Also, lapel mics are not perfect. An electret condenser mic with 15' cable sells for about $19 on Amazon.

Shaky, needlessly moving camera! American amateurs love to pan their camera across landscapes. For good camera technique, go watch a few movies. The camera stays still, mostly. Action flows into and out of the steady frame.

Use a tripod. People think "Oh, I've got a very steady hand. I don't need a tripod." Sorry, but that is probably Not as true as you think. If you don't have a tripod, learn to make steady shots by bracing the cam against a wall, a sign, a chair, a cabinet, etc.

Also, avoid using the zoom during your shots.

Lighting problems remain the same in all types of photography. A classic complaint is "The faces are too dark!" Be careful to have extra light for dark-skinned African-Americans. Avoid using too much light on pale-skinned Euro-types.

Batteries. You simply must have extra batteries.
Film. Having extra film is Never a bad idea.

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