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Lesson 9. Shooting With Hollywood-Style Techniques for Better Videos

Lesson 9. Shooting With Hollywood-Style Techniques for Better Videos

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Christophergaveyouaquicktasteofhowshootingandediting

worktogetherinLesson7.Atthattime,youwereintroducedto

theconceptofcoveragethatis,gettingthematerialrequiredto

editascene.Nowyouwilldelveintomoredetailabout

coverageandhowtogetthebestkind.

Youdon'tneedtoprepareforavideoshootinadvance,andyou

don'tneedtobringalotofequipmenttoanevent.Butyoudo

needtokeepcertainideasinmindprimarily,youmustknow

whatpiecesofvideoyouneedforeditingandremembertoget

themduringtheeventitself.

NowyouwillseehowChristopherapproachesshootingthe

birthdaypartyinordertogettheshotshethinkshemightuse.

Gettingtherightshotsnowwillmakethetimehespends

editingmuchfasterandmoreenjoyable.



HowtoApproachShootingaVideo

Inmanyways,shootingwithacamcorderisthesameas

shootingwithastillcamera.Alltherulesofexposureand

lightingapply(keeplightbehindyou,notbehindyoursubject),

asdotherulesofcomposition(don'talwayscenteryour

subject;remembertheruleofthirds).It'simportanttoholdthe

camcordersteady(twohands,always)andframeanyshot

beforepressingtherecordbutton.

Butacamcorderhastheaddedfeatureofmotion.Ittakes30

pictureseverysecond,andconsequentlyitcandolotsofthings

thatastillcameracannot.Youcanmovethecamera.Youcan

zoomthelens.Thecamerarecordsallofthis.Soinadditionto

basicphotographyskills,youneedtolearnsomerulesabout

movingpicturesandgoodvideo.



GuidelinesonMovingandNotMovingYour

Camcorder

Beforeyougettomoveyourcamcorder,youhavetocometo

gripswithwhyyoushouldn't.It'salmostimpossibletogetgood

videowhenyou'removing,andthematerialyoudogetishard

towatchandhardertoedit.

Yourcamcorderissmall.It'slight.Itfitsinyourhand.Itseems

naturaltowalkaroundwiththethingrecording,shootingup

anddown,leftandright,followingpeoplearoundandsoon.

Stopdoingthisimmediately.

InHollywood,thecameracertainlymovesalot,butit'snota

trivialmatter.Professionalfilmmakersgettomovetheir

camerasbecauseoffourimportantfactors:(1)theyusespecial

equipmentlikedolliesandSteadicamsdesignedtomoveslowly



andsmoothly;(2)theyhavemanypeopleworkingtogether

everytimetheysetouttomovethecamera;(3)theygetto

rehearsethemovesuntiltheygetthemright;and(4)theyare

workinginacontrolledenvironment,soevenifsomeonemakes

amistakeafterrehearsing,theycandoitagain.

Thisisn'tyou.You'retryingtomakeagood-looking,enjoyable

video,andyou'vegotjustyourselfandyourcamcorder.Once

you'vebrokenthehabitofwanderingaroundwhilerecording

andhaveseentheimpressiveresultsofthissimplechange,it's

possibletoaddalittlebitofmovementtoyourprojectstogood

effect.



TheLingoofMotion

Beforeyoustartmovingyourcamcorderaround,familiarizeyourselfwiththe

relevantvocabulary.

PanAmovefromsidetoside,alonganimaginaryhorizon.

TiltSimilartoapanbutupanddown,likescanningatallbuilding.

DollyshotAshotfromacamerathathasbeenplacedonamovingcartofsome

kind,toincreasethestabilityofthecameraandthesmoothnessofthemove.A

dollyisacartdesignedspecificallyfordoingthismove,butyoucancreatea

cheapversionbysittingonaswivelchairorinashoppingcartandhaving

someonepushit.

TrackingMovingthecameratokeepamovingsubject"steady"inthemiddleof

theframe.Ifyoupanonacarasitdrivesby,it'satrackingshot.

SteadicamAbrandnameofequipmentthatstrapsacameratoacamera

operatorinsuchawaythatheorshecanwalkaroundwhilethedeviceholdsthe

camerasteady.Itusesgyroscopesandothermechanicalmeanstokeepthe

imagefrombouncingtoomuch.Theseareprohibitivelyexpensivefor

consumers,butminiversions(costinginthehundredsofdollars)areprettygood

foramateurs.



YourPansandTilts

Thebestwaytomovethecamera,ofcourse,istousesome

equipmentofyourown:atripod.Aregulartripodisdesignedto

holdacamerasteadyorstill,butinthevideoandfilmworld,

tripodsoftenincludeafluidhead,aratherpriceyfeaturethat

providessmoothandcontrolledmovement.

Afluid-headtripodenablesyoutomakebeautiful,smoothpans

andtilts.Buteventhen,thecameramotionmustbeveryslow

anddeliberate.Thereisanaturaltendencytopanforalong

timealongacoastline,perhapsbutifyoulookcloselyatpansin



movies,theyareactuallyquiteshort:justlittlemovesfrom

heretooverthereatinybit.Not180degrees,butrathermore

like10degrees.Ifyoudon'thaveatripod,it'salmost

impossibletomakeapanortiltlooksmoothandprofessional.

Theyarefuntodo,butwhenitcomestimetoedit,you'lloften

endupskippingpastthemandoptingforsteadyshotsbecause

movingshotslooksobad.

Mostofthetime,youwon'tbeusingatripodanyway(letalone

onewithafluidhead),andyoumustimprovise.Creatinga

movingshotwithoutextraequipmentfallsinthedangerzone,

andtheresponsibilityisonyoutorestrainyouruseofpansand

tilts,andtobecontrolledwhenyoudotrythem.

Ifyoudon'thaveatripodandyoufeelcompelledtopanortilt,

holdyourbodyverystiff,holdthecameraclosewithyour

elbowstighttoyourbody,andthenmovethecamerajusta

nudgebetweentworelativelyclosepoints.Ifthemoveisshort

enough,sometimesthepanwillbeslickandusable.



Tracking

Pansandtiltsaretroublesomepartlybecauseyouarejustsort

oflookingaroundwiththecamera,leavingtheaudience

searchingeverywhereintheframeforsomethingtofocuson.

Trackingworksalittlebetter,however,becauseyoufollowan

objectand(generallyspeaking)keepitinthemiddleofthe

frame.Theaudienceknowswhatitiswatchinginatracking

shot,andconsequentlythetechniquecanbeveryinteresting

andeffective.Ittakessomeskilltofollowamovingtarget,so

practiceasmuchaspossiblebeforeyouactuallyrecordthe

shot.

Thinkofmovingthecameraasaspecialeffectfuntodo,cool

looking,butsomethingdoneonlyonceinawhile,forgooduse

atjusttherightmoment.



WhentoUseandIgnoreZoom

Everythingjuststatedaboutmovinggoesforzoomingaswell.

Whenshooting,don'tzoom.It'sreally,reallytempting,andit

feelsslickwhileyou'redoingit,buttheresultingvideoisless

thanideal.

Ofcourse,thezoomcontroliscriticaltoyourvideos.It'sfront

andcenterunderyourindexfingerandsecondonlytotherecord

buttonitselfinimportance.Ifyoudon'tgettozoom,whyisit

there?



Insteadofregardingthisasazoom,thinkofitasabigol'bag

ofinterchangeablelenses.What'sgreataboutthezoomlenson

yourcamcorderisthatit'sequaltoabunchoflensesinone.

Zoomout,andyouseethebigpicturewithawide-anglelens.

Zoominalittleoralltheway,andyou'vegotatelephotolens,

upcloseandpersonal.

Usethezoomtohelpyouframeyourshot,usingyourrulesof

compositionandthinkingaboutthecoverageyouwantfor

editing.Onceyou'vesetthezoom,youcanthenrecordwithout

touchingit.Afteryoustoprecording,youcanadjustthezoom

andrecordagain.



Tip



Onceyou'recomfortablewiththewayshootingandeditingare

interrelated,youmayfindyourselfleavingthecamcorderon

recordwhileyouzoomfromwideshottoclose-up,forinstance.

Thedifferenceisthatyou'redoingsoonlytogetfromoneshot

toanotherquickly,andyouknowyouwillbecuttingoutthe

zoompartwhenyou'reediting.



Acamcorderwon'tletyouzoomcarefullyorslowlyenoughto

producegoodzoomshots.Butyoucancreatethesameeffect

byshootingtwoorthreeunmoving,unzoomingshotsofan

objectwithyourcamerasettowide,thencloser,thenasclose

asyoucan.Cuttheseshotstogether,andyougeta

professional-looking"pushin."

Christopherbeganrecordinghisvideofromthefarcornerofthe

studio.Hewantedtogetanice,basicshotoftheeventfrom

thisinitialposition,butwhilehewasthere,hechosetocover

himselfbygettingacoupleofadditionalshots.Here'swhathe

did:

1. Withthecamerazoomedoutaswideaspossible,he

recordedtheroomforabout15seconds,holdingthecamera

abovehisheadandusingbothhandstosteadytheshot.



Wideshot(alsowrittenasWSorWide)



Thisisawideshot,whichisdefinedasanyshotinwhichthe

subjectisfullyinsidetheframeapersonseenfromheadto

toe,forinstance.Thewiderashotandthemoredetails

presentintheframe,thelongerthepieceofvideoneedsto

besothattheaudiencecangetorientedandseewhat's

goingon.Becausethepartygroupissotinyintheframe,

thisshotisactuallyanextremewideshot(EWS).

2. AfterChristopherstoppedrecordingthewideshot,he

zoomedinalittlebitaboutmidwaybetweenthewidestand

theclosestsettingsand,onceheframedthisshot,he

recordedagainforabout10seconds.



Mediumshot(MSorMed)



Thisisamediumshot,inwhichyoucanseeapersonfrom

headtowaist.Mediumshotsshouldmakeupthebulkof

yourvideomaterial.TheylookgoodonTVandachievea

nicebalancebetweenbeingcloseenoughtoshowwhat's

goingonandfarenoughtoprovidesomeperspective.

3. Finally,Christopherzoomsinallthewaytogetaclose-up

shot.



Close-upshot(CUorClose)



Close-upshotsareniceandoftenlookmoreattractivethan

othershotsbecausethesubjectissoclear.Aclose-up

comprisesjustaperson'shead,andtraditionallyyoucrop



offthetopoftheheadtogetalittlecloser.It'stheeyes

wheretheexpressioniscommunicated,andthetopofthe

headisconsideredsuperfluous.

Anextremeclose-up(ECU)iscommontoojusttheeyes,or

theeyesandnose.



Tip

Whenworkingwithacamcorder,it'seasytoshoot

everythingtooclose.TheLCDisoftensosmallthatitmakes

yoursubjectlookboringunlessyougetreallyclose.Fight

thisurge,andtrustthatwhenyouseethevideoonyourTV

set,theclose-upswillfreakyououtwiththeirintensity.The

mediumshotisthemainkindofimageyouarelookingfor.

Close-upsarepowerfulandalittlescary,andtheyshouldbe

usedmoresparinglythanitmayseem.



Thesenamingconventionsaren'trulessomuchasguidelines

designedtohelpyoudistinguishtheshotsyouarerecording

andhelpkeepyourshotsdistinct.



Tip

Awideshotwilloftenanswerthequestion"Wherearewe?"A

mediumshotwillanswerthequestion"Whoishere?"Acloseupwillanswerthequestion"Whatisgoingon?"



Whytheneed?Becausewhenyouedit,youcannotjuxtapose

twoshotsthataretoosimilar.Itendsuplookingjarring,likea

mistake.Soalthoughit'seasytocutfromawideshottoa



close-up,cuttingfromamediumshotofapersontosomething

onlyataddifferentsay,tojusttheirheadandshoulderslikely

wouldn'twork.Byrecognizingthedifferencebetweenshotsand

makingsuretheyareappropriatelydistinct,yougetmaterial

youknowyoucanedit.

Whenyoushootscenes,youdon'talwaysneedallthreeshots

ofeachmoment,butyoushouldrecordatleasttwo.Thatway,

evenifyougetnoothercoverage,youhavesomewaytoedit

thematerialintoavideowithimpact.



Note

Youcanshootaclose-upwithyourcamcorderevenwhenthe

zoomsettingiswide-angle(juststandreallyclosetoyour

subject)ortelephoto(standfartheraway).So,thereisn'ta

directrelationshipbetweenthezoominphotojargon,thefocal

lengthandthesizeofyoursubject.Intheend,whenyouwork

iniMovie,youwon'tcareaboutwideangleortelephoto,butyou

willcareaboutthedistinctlookofclose-upsandmediumshots.



DeterminingWhattoShoot

Thecentralelementofthesubjectsyoushootneedstobe

relativelyrepetitive.Anditshouldbesomethingthatis

ongoinglikegirlspaintingandtalking,peopleeatingdinner,kids

buildingwithblocksinthelivingroom,orathletesplaying

soccer.Whileitseemsliketheseactivitiesconsistofvery

randomactions,allinvolveacertainrepetitivemotion(painting,

eating,running),andthisiswhatallowsyoutogetHollywoodstylecoverageoftheeventwithouthavingtointerruptthe

actionandaskeveryonetodoitagain.



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Lesson 9. Shooting With Hollywood-Style Techniques for Better Videos

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