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  • toby wray

Video Tips For Marketeers #10 Filming Technique

What Different Filming Techniques Are There?

When constructing a video sequence, especially for documentary, it is important to imagine how your video will look on the screen, how it will “cut together”. The good film maker adapts to the situation, using what you come across throughout the videoing process. Whatever you do, keep the message of what you’re making in mind and look for opportunities.

Videoing for the Edit

Documentary style can give the camera some freedom and a shot such as the broken “Welcome to...” sign to a town can really help the editor give the audience that message, though it may not have been planned. When videoing you should have an image of the whole video in your head, what you’ve recorded, how it will edit together, what you need. When you come across an opportunity or a situation you know instantly how to respond, where to place the camera, how it will edit into the final scenes and how your sequences will edit together. Imagine a kitchen scene; you might video some shots preparing food, some cooking and some eating. If you are inspired you might decide to use a series of shots showing in different angles how the food is chopped, sliced, diced, fried, boiled and served. This is called coverage and gives the editor options, in this case to create a rhythmic, stylish sequence adding a light hearted feel and quickening the pace of the video. Record wide shots and close ups in a logical, story led order i.e. what is the chef looking at(close up shot of her face), a knife( wide shot as she picks it up), which is chopping onions (close up of the onions and blurring knife), which is being put into a pan (overhead shot of the onions falling into the water).You not only tell a story, but you tell it in an interesting way.

Generally speaking there are different techniques or styles used for the two main formats of film, Fiction and Documentary.

Fiction film techniques

The key signature of camera work for narrative fiction film is the controlled pace. Because of planning time and rehearsing your camera will be well placed to get all the action and may even be mounted on tracks or a gimbal for that smooth tracking shot. Pans should be smooth, we should not see microphones and scenes will be well lit and recorded. All aspects of the mechanics of video recording are hidden.

Documentary film techniques

Recently these are developing quickly as camera technology evolves. We have the video diary ‘vlogger’ style, with the camera often pointed at the film maker. The fly on the wall style squeezes into every room or vehicle sometimes in secret. Handheld camera is the most common aspect of all these styles used because of flexibility and speed, you also may not have permission to mount a tripod. Crews seen in mirrors and mics are forgiven, interviewers can be heard and often seen. The mechanics of video recording are apparent.

The evolution of the drone camera has vastly helped the production standards of both these styles however there are some complicated laws around their use so do your homework. The key is to always use a tripod if at all possible, keep production values high, aim to look like your favourite film of the genre and keep the message central. Later in this series we’ll look at some of the laws you need to be aware of when filming.

Next week, editing.

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