7 mistakes to avoid when filming

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It frustrates me when I see someone’s video and I think, “I wished you’d asked me for some tips before you did that.”

To be clear, I’m not in the market to take on the business of people who are prepared to do it themselves. But at the same time, I don’t want them to make a mess of it either.

So for any budding video makers here are a few tips that I was reviewing in the final edit of my new book.

1. Framing
When filming heads put the top of the head at the top of the frame. Many newbies look through the camera and put the face in the middle of the screen. This ends up with empty space above the head. Learn to look through the viewfinder as if it is was a framed picture on the wall. The whole frame needs to be filled.

2. Audio
Ah yes the 10/90 rule. Audio is 10% of the budget and 90% of the problem. If recording interviews use a decent microphone and always listen to how it sounds through headphones. There may be interference or scratching noises that you won’t notice until you’re in the editing suite if you don’t monitor the sound as you record. Repeatedly audio is the biggest problem that people have with filming. And generally, they don’t become aware of it until they have finished the filming. Poor audio makes your video feel amateurish. It undermines the credibility of what you are presenting.

3. Background
Also be aware of what is in the background of the shot. This will form part of the story you are telling. So choose wisely. Avoid filming people up against walls. It creates shadows, it is uninteresting and flat. The more depth you can have in the picture the better. The background provides an opportunity to show some additional information that can enhance the character of the presenter or the information you are telling.

4. Steady as she goes
A tripod is a must for newbies. For every rule there are exceptions but before you starting breaking rules, know why you are doing it. So, for now, stick your camera on a tripod and let the presenter do the interesting stuff. Having unexplained camera movement distracts the viewer and reminds them of the operator behind the camera, rather the presenter in front of the camera. The impact of your message is diluted.

5. Lighting
Lighting brings out the colour in the picture. It gives it life. Ensure your subjects are well lit and certainly avoid having them against an extremely bright background so that they appear silhouetted.

6. Batteries and media
Always make sure you have your batteries charged and spare recording media. There’s nothing worse than running out of juice or having to wipe something you haven’t yet backed up.

7. Check
Before you finish up your filming make sure you’ve actually recorded what you needed. I have seen camera operators mix up when they pushed the record button, so it stopped when it should have started.

What are some mistakes you’ve learned not to make next time?

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About Geoff Anderson

About Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the owner of Sonic Sight and has been producing videos for 30 years. He is an author, presenter as well as a video producer.

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