Monthly PC Tips

Record Better Videos

December 2011 – by Per Christensson

As the Christmas season approaches, so does the time for taking more digital photos and videos. While I've already listed a few tips for taking better photos, here are a few ideas for capturing some great videos.

  1. Pre-roll and post-roll - One of the worst things you can do when shooting video is miss the moment by not recording. Fortunately, you can avoid missed moments by pressing record a few seconds earlier than you think you should and press stop a few seconds after the moment has passed. Too often, I see videos that are cut short, leaving the scene unfinished. Remember, you can always crop the video later, but you can't add the moments you missed.
  2. Hold the camera steady - No one likes to watch a video that is so jumpy it makes you nauseous. While many digital cameras and video cameras have built-in image stabilization, they don't always smooth out shaky movements. Therefore, do you best to keep the camera as steady as possible while recording. If you are having trouble keeping the camera completely still, pressing the camera against your body, a wall, or a ledge might help.
  3. Pan smoothly - If you're slowly turning the camera across a room or another area while filming, move the camera as smoothly as you can. This is something professional cameramen practice for years, since it can make a major difference in the quality of the final video. If you become skilled at panning your shots, even your home-made videos will also look professional.
  4. Use the zoom buttons - You can add a lot of life to a boring scene by zooming in and out. It's best to zoom in on the subject (e.g., the person talking) and zoom out when there is a break in the action. However, you can experiment with zooming at different times to develop your own creative shot. Just don't zoom too often or too fast, as it will be more distracting than helpful.
  5. Put yourself in place of the viewer - One of the best things you can do when recording video is to think about who will be watching the video. If you continually remember that others will be watching what you are recording, it will help you frame the shot better, move the camera more smoothly, and keep the content interesting. While this may take some additional focus when the red light is on, the result will be well worth it.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you capture better videos. Of course, the best way to become a good videographer is to practice. Therefore, it might help to try recording different types of scenes with different subjects, alternate lighting, and other variables just for practice. Then you can import the video into your computer and see what works and what doesn't. You might even stumble across a method that even the pros don't use, which cab be your own style.

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