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University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
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Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE
 

Camera use tips

Here are some tips to help with getting good raw video before you start to edit.


Line of sight - avoid accidentally making your interviewee look "shifty"

Line of sight - avoid accidentally making your interviewee look "shifty"

When you are filming someone where the interviewer is not in shot, have the person asking the questions stand as close to the camera lens as possible. The person being filmed will tend to look at the questioner when answering. If that person is off to one side, on camera it will look like the interviewee is avoiding looking into the camera and s/he will look decidedly odd and untrustworthy. If the questioner is very close to the camera, the interviewee will face the camera and will look more like s/he is addressing the audience in a more believable way.


Keeping your hands steady

Keeping your hands steady

Expensive cameras have all sorts of clever anti-shake features built in. But if you've only got a cheap camera there are things you can do to help keep your hands steady


Focusing

Focusing

You may not notice if your shot is slightly out of focus when you are filming, but it really shows up later when you come to editing. A little extra work can keep our pictures sharp every time.

Video cameras usually come with an auto-focus feature. However this relies on being able to see 'edges' and contrast in the image to be able to work out how to focus. If you are in a low light situation, such as indoors, try zooming in close up and picking out the eye of the person being filmed. This has lots of contrast and edges for the autofocus to pick up. Once the camera has focused correctly, zoom out again to frame your shot.


Zooming, panning and changing shots.

Zooming, panning and changing shots.

When you move your head to look around the room, your brain tends to notice only the beginning and end points of the visual transition. You only pay attention to where you started and the new view once you've turned around. You tend not to notice what you see in between.

In the same way, in the editing process, it is much better to change the camera angle by cutting between a shot looking one way to a shot looking the other instead of panning round. Panning from one view to the other stands out as unnatural.


Stripy clothing

Stripy clothing

Ask interviewees not to wear stripes as it makes the cameras go funny.


Next: Cutaways and filler shots


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