Pro Tip - Capture Better Video

July 19, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Create Awesome Movies Blog PostCreate Awesome Movies Blog Post

PRO TIP - CAPTURE BETTER VIDEO

Growing up, my family always had photos and home movies of moments in our lives. I can recall the smell of the projector blub as our lives flickered in front of us on the pull-up screen. My sister and I had those movies digitized, and I hope to add them to my video channels as time permits. My hope with this post is to encourage you to make some good old-fashioned home movies modernly.  

 

Recording video has never been so effortless. You have a powerful video camera with you practically all the time contained in your cellphone. With some practice and access to a few essential tips, you can start recording great footage.

 

Landscape! Don't be "that guy" and have your beautiful footage having giant black bars next to your video. To avoid this amateur mistake, use landscape orientation, not portrait orientation, while recording your video.  The following video is a Hail Storm in Edina Minnesota - shot in portrait mode (before I knew better) impressive, but would have been better in landscape. This clip appeared on both local National news.  

 

Fill the frame. Now that you're recording in landscape orientation, entirely fill the frame with your subject. If you want to be artsy, you can slightly off-center a person or object to create a more visually interesting scene. Play around and see what looks best.  

 

Zoom or not zoom? Don't succumb to temptation! The lens isn't actually optically zooming; you're just enlarging the picture digitally. This type of zoom results in one thing: pixels. Zoom in by walking closer to your subject, and you won't have movies that are too pixelated or blurry. 

 

Steady as she goes. Even the steadiest hand will be challenged to take smooth video for any time, especially if you're tracking an active scene. Consider using a tripod to help keep your videos stable. If you're feeling fancy, you could use a gimbal. 

 

Light. Do you need lights to shoot your video? You'll likely be able to use natural light for every situation. The sun is free, accessible to almost everyone - a nod to my friends in Alaska. Shoot your video outdoors or indoors where there's good natural lighting. If you can avoid using your on-phone flash, your videos will look better. The onboard flash will often create an overexposed, washed-out look. Tempted to shoot with backlighting? Your smartphone is unlikely to be that smart. You'll end up with haloed dark figures. 

 

Post-production. Now that you have your beautiful footage take a little time to do some additional editing. Your smartphone - both iOS and Android - can do some great from basic trimming to adding transitions, titles, and effects. Want to use a robust video app and really get your director groove on? There are a host of powerful video editing apps available for both Android and iPhone smartphone users. I use Lightroom and Snapseed on my phone, but there are plenty of options for you. 

Have questions? Let me know!

 


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