Working on a production takes skill and understanding of various video tools and techniques. Operating a camera to film your friends running down the street or cheering on the sports team is a simple process. Planning and producing an engaging message that will be viewed by hundreds or even millions of individuals around the world takes skills and an understanding of various techniques.
ABOUT AUDIO/VIDEO PRODUCTION
To create good programs, you need to know how to operate the equipment, how to record good-quality video and audio, and how to record footage that can be edited effectively.
Audio will usually be captured by a camera's built-in microphone, or a secondary microphone that plugs into a mic jack on the camera. Here are simple tips for recording better-sounding audio.
- Stay Close to the Subject - place the camera with its microphone, as close as possible to the subject. The farther away the microphone is, the more it picks up interfering background noise.
- Minimize Background Noise - set up your shoot so that the camcorder is aimed away from major noise sources. Do not place subjects in front of busy street. Tip: use a sound absorbing material hung on a wall or near the subject to reduce surrounding noise when filming.
- Direct Silently - do not give verbal instruction from the camera position while shooting. Camcorder mics pick up sounds to the sides as well as in front. You can ruin sound takes because your own voice is mixed with the production sound.
Signal Chain and Sound Recording
Single system audio records directly to the camera. No additional equipment is required. Double system records to a secondary device, as well as capturing sound on the camera. Learn more about audio and uncompressed audio by watching the next video.
Types of Audio Tools
Learn more about microphones from Derek Chafin at Sessionville.
Automatic Camera Controls
To operate a video recording device successfully, you need to understand four essential controls: power, record, zoom and white balance.
To Learn more about basic camera skills and operation, watch the following videos:
WHITE BALANCE & SETTING UP FOR SHOOTING
Before venturing out to capture your footage, it is a good idea to ensure you are prepared. There is nothing more frustrating than getting all of the production team together and having to wait for someone to grab a battery, or tripod for the scene. Here are a few must haves:
- Battery charged and inserted in the camera.
- Spare battery charging and ready for use.
- memory card inserted and cleared for use.
- White balance control set to automatic.
- Tripod included with camera mounting shoe.
Using a tripod:
- Make sure the tripod head is level by adjusting the lengths of each leg.
- Screw the camera shoe onto the base of the camera, careful not to damage the threads. Not to tight that you cannot take it off, but not loose so that it wobbles.
- If the tripod has a center column, do not raise it. This will make the unit less stable.
- Point one leg at the subject to be video recorded. Doing this will let you stand close behind the camera and not knock into a leg.
- When you pan the camera (pivot from side to side), stand facing the center of the move. To make the shot, twist your upper body to frame the start of the shot, then follow the camera, twisting your body the opposite way until you frame the end of the shot. By doing this you will avoid getting tangled in the tripod.
Handling the Camera:
- Whenever possible, brace yourself on something. Lean your elbows on a wall or table. Prop yourself up with a tree, light pole, or wall. (Reduce shaking)
- To shoot low angles, sit with the camera firmly in your lap, swing the viewfinder or viewing screen up and look down into it to make the shot.
- Do not walk while shooting if you can avoid it.
- Unless the shot is quite long, take a deep breath and let it out halfway before starting to shoot, then hold your breath as you shoot.
- Use the widest-angle lens setting. The wider the angle, the less obvious any camera shake will be. A 50mm lens will be much more stable than a 180mm lens. Zooming in will create more shaking if the camera is not supported and kept still.
Good Quality Video Basics
You can make better-looking images by using four key ideas: head room, look room, lead room, and rule of thirds.
- Head room means positioning the subjects at a pleasing distance from the top of the picture. When videotaping people, most beginners center the subjects in the frame since that is how we look at people with our own eyes. For better results, place the subject's eyes in the top third of the frame, except in wide shots.
- Look room means to shift the subject in the frame away from where they are going to look. If the subject is looking to the left side of the frame, shift them to the right side.
- Lead room is look room with the subject moving. If you center moving subjects left-to-right, they seem about to run into the edge of the picture. By positioning subjects away from the frame edge towards which they are moving, you achieve more satisfying results.
- Rule of Thirds offers the simplest way to achieve good pictorial composition. People tend to center subjects in their pictures. A tree is photographed dividing the frame vertically. The horizon is place so it divides the image horizontally. The resulting pictures look dull. If you break the camera view to a tic-tac-toe grid, you can divide the image into thirds instead of halves. The resulting composition will be much more interesting.
Once you have reviewed camera essentials with the teacher and completed the Video Camera & Audio worksheet, you will start to develop skills relating to Scripts and Storyboards.