5 ideas for shooting good video and not the piano player

11 Jun
This is what video sausage looks like when it's being made. Look away, look away.

This is what video sausage looks like when it's being made. Look away, look away.

Here are a few things that were flash-fried onto the folds of my brain after another session of shooting video. Tending to seriously multitask – Twittering, Livestreaming, drinking coffee, preparing my closing remarks, and chatting with colleagues at social media breakfast events – I need to Sharpie these ideas to my forearm for quick reference.

Better yet, I’ll purge in a blog entry, clear my cranial hard drive and share with y’all in the truest sense of social media. Sure, there are video studs out there ready with wondrous CNET-like detail on shooting video, and the lens-crafting skill-o-rama that produced Heaven’s Gate, but as I’ve heard web production guru Rob Curley say – “good enough.”

Witness idea, capture idea, edit idea, and share idea.

Stabilize the shot

Damn it, Scotty, it’s got to hold.  Kirk’s right. Use your tripod, improve your tripod, snap yourself into a locked position but slow the movement and capture a stable image. Quicken the pace in the editing program, not when shooting your video.

Faces, personality, people

There is nothing more fascinating that a human trying to convey information through facial expressions and hand movements. There is nothing less fascinating than shoe molding and ceiling tile. Tighten the shot and read the face.

Interviewing: Ask unexpected questions

Not goofy questions, but unexpected questions. Harried TV and newspaper reporters chirp a clipped and polished question to produce a typical response. This allows the editor to construct without thinking. Do you ever watch TV news with the sound down and anticipate the questions and responses? You’re not Nostradamus, you’ve just watched a ton of TV news. Life is too short for another round of banter segues and “thank you, Jacks,” and tailored answers so that we look ‘normal’ on TV.  Share something non-typical, to generate a smile.

Improve the microphone

The microphone on the Canon Vixia HG20 is not bad but big noisy rooms are big noisy rooms. Give yourself the option of improving individuals and even adding narration if needed with something like a wireless lavalier microphone. Lorrie and I currently covet this Azden.

Big equipment: wonderful images, less mobility

The handheld Vixia allowed me to ping-pong through the room and score more personality, angles, cuts and transition shots.  One thing I’ve learned from contact sports, big bodies provide crunch, but speed and mobility put the puck in the net (or if you watched Game 6 – Penguins-Red Wings, maybe not).

We love telling stories with MrElshMedia. What was the best story video that you’ve seen in the past week?


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