Videography Tips 1- Shooting for the Editor

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As Videographers we shoot many and varied stories. It is important that the way we shoot is relevant to who our audience is and what the message is that we are trying to convey to them.

Are we taking the shots that will get our message across or are we just taking shots to show how good we can shoot.

If you are shooting a music clip you may be able to push the boundaries of your creative ability but for Television shows and Corporate style videos the shooting needs to be much more structured.

Something to keep in mind.

“The camera should never get in the way of the story “

Some people like the shaky camera look to their footage but many viewers are distracted by the continual effort needed to focus on the story. You will lose those viewers from your story.

Cutaways are extremely important to manipulate time and shorten how long it takes to do something in your scene. They can also cover jumpcuts so always be looking for some sort of cutaways to tell your story.

A shot commonly used to do this and is always handy to get is a head and shoulders shot of the person doing the action. Have them looking at what they are doing but exclude what they are doing from the shot. This shot is excellent for covering a jump cut or shortening the time that it takes to do something.

Close-ups tell us the detail of the story, and help the editor to make it visually interesting.

If you are shooting a close up of some action that you have seen in your wide or mid shot, watch to make sure that the action, and what is in the background, is the same in both shots. This way the editor can cut from one shot to the other at some point during the action and the edit will be very smooth.

Shooting enough footage or coverage is vital for the editor to be able to cut a good story from your footage. He can then add his creative input and not be trying to make up for poor or inadequate shooting. Unless it is for effect most editors hate using a shot more than once and they won’t be happy if your lack of shots forces them to reuse shots.

Keep varying your shots between Wide shots, Mid shots, Close-ups and Cutaways and you will have a good chance to be able to cut a story that flows. Many new videographers just let the camera roll and roll and roll and the footage is very difficult to cut to make it look professional.

Take every opportunity to shoot a variety of shots in your footage and your skills will increase quickly.

More helpful articles

Tips to use your Camera 4 Storytelling

How to Shoot Great Looking Video

The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Shooting Video

Why You Don't Know What Shots to Take

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  1. abs

    very true coming from another cameraman and editor 🙂

  2. tony g

    hello Geoff Stock…great to c u are organised….we need to start a suppory service for shooters…say camera support and lights for $150 p/d at each town on east coast…could u do that ?

  3. Geoff Stock

    Hi Tony, not something I could do but a good idea. the other thing that could be helpful is a lithium battery hire service as the airlines are so sensitive about us carrying them on the plane these days. Just a thought. Geoff

  4. Daniel

    Hi Geoff.

    I completely agree. We are currently training two camera operators and this is the point I push most: to capture enough footage to work with before moving onto another shot. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming with so much happening that inexperienced camera operators try to capture everything and everyone at once without getting at least 5 seconds of an “editable” shot.

    It pays to expose new camera operators to the editing flow so that they are better equipped to capture the right shots in the field.

  5. Geoff Stock

    So right Daniel, I had to learn to edit from the day I started to learn to shoot at a TV station. Very quickly learned about close-ups and cutaways. A quick tip, get your new guys to try to hold the shot steady while they count to ten in their heads. Not only does it give you a chance of having a shot long enough to edit, but it means the cameraman has to [think] about what he is going to shoot because he has to commit to that shot. It engages the brain. You should get them to do the course while it is cheap and they could both do it for the price of one. They will learn stuff that would take them years, and also instantly give them some good insight into lighting and audio. All the best Geoff

  6. Irvin

    Where can I purchase a copy of video camera training course?

  7. Geoff Stock

    Hi Irvin, just click on the “Become a Member” button at the top of the page and then the big Red button on that page and you will get the Course. Thanks Geoff

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