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The Amateur’s Guide to Professional Videos
  • Remember not to spend the whole time looking through the viewfinder, focus on your subject then look away from the view finder & watch the event in real time, just keep checking through the viewfinder that you're still focused on your subject .
  • Make sure you take enough spare tapes & batteries with you, you'll be surprised how much you use.
  • When taping it is always best to use a tripod and frame your subject. Most cameras have an image stabilization feature but too often beginning video students do not hold the camera steady. They move the camera up and down and from side to side so much so that the image stabilization feature cannot compensate for all of the movement.
  • Storyboard your video before you start taping. This will give help you plan your project.
  • Use your camera's zoom feature sparingly. Students have a tendency to want to keep zooming in and out so quickly that the resulting video appears very "nervous."
  • Encourage students to be aware of lighting. Students should try to keep their light source behind them if taping indoors make certain that available light is adequate.
  • Export your video to a computer daily. Never tape an entire project and then export it to a computer. Reviewing footage in a computer daily provides valuable feedback on the success of your camera work and sound quality, better to discover a taping problem early in a project.
  • If you are interviewing someone get the camera as close to your subject as possible for the best sound quality. The camcorder's built in microphone will not work well from a distance because the zoom feature does not work for sound.
  • Start taping before your subject speaks and let the tape run a few seconds after your subject has finished speaking. This will insure that you don't miss anything.
  • DV tape cannot be taped over more than two or three times. If you are reusing tapes and the image quality degrades it is time to get a new tape.