Videography Tips

Videography Tips: Learn from Your Mistakes

I bought my first video cam­era back in mid 80’s.  It was a Sony Hi-8mm, and cost an arm and a leg.  I took it every­where, hol­i­days with fam­ily, vaca­tions, camp­ing trips, you name it.  I shot a lot of footage.  I was dis­ci­plined to label all my tapes (start date to end date), and shot until they were close to full.  I care­fully stored them in a safe place know­ing that some­day I would get around to watch­ing them, maybe even edit them.  What a mistake!

Fast for­ward 15 years and I acquired my first edit­ing equip­ment and cap­tured the first few tapes from my col­lec­tion.  I quickly and painfully became aware that most of the stuff I shot is not only dif­fi­cult to watch, but it’s unus­able to edit.  I con­sis­tently made all the mis­takes; fire hos­ing (i.e., rapidly pan­ning the cam­era back and forth, up and down), con­stantly zoom­ing in and out, poor expo­sure, over­shoot­ing sub­ject mat­ter (I have cap­tured a bil­lion hours of my Ger­man Shep­pard chas­ing and retriev­ing a ten­nis ball in every moun­tain­ous water­way in the Greater North­west – obvi­ously before we had chil­dren to focus on).

I will pro­vide tips and tricks for suc­cess­ful videog­ra­phy in my next posts, but my main point here is to learn from what you have shot.  And the only way to do that is to watch what you have shot and hon­estly cri­tique your­self.  Watch it on the big screen and check for the following:

  1. Am I becom­ing dizzy or nau­seous from what I am watching?
  2. Does my sub­ject look they are dark sil­hou­ettes against the back­ground, or totally washed out from overexposure?
  3. Am I becom­ing insanely board from what I am watch­ing?  — 2 non-stop hours of watch­ing the fam­ily open up Christ­mas gifts at one sit­ting, or a bil­lion hours of the dog retriev­ing a ten­nis ball.

Stay tuned, I will follow-up with posts on how to cor­rect these prob­lems and also dis­cuss other trou­bles that can arise from not view­ing and archiv­ing your footage in a timely manner.