Film,Video, Other Topics

Stanely Kubrick apparently said that he got into film after watching other movies and finding them so bad he felt he could do better! What a great inspirational story, and how impractical for many of us! The high cost of Film making is the reason so many us don't do it. A number of movies were shot on Video first then blown up to Film, a process that a few Film Makers would deem Heresy (but what do we care?). Video is a cheaper way of telling a story through motion frames than film and the one available to most of us, so let's start there.


Video is the poor cousin of Film. Video is cheaper than film, with its ability to turn light into an Electronic signal that could be replayed and re-recorded immediately unlike film, and although video tape never looked visually as rich as film, it did its job and gradually, its use spread to other industries, especially media related ones. The next decade saw the consumer market expand with the ownerships of video cameras.  Video Makers went ahead doing treatments for ideas, then scripting them, story boarding the script, finding actors, locations, budgets, equipment, etc. all very much similar to the process of shooting a movie. Video Makers were often busy at their jobs, or photographers by day, and video makers by weekends.


If you or a partner has a camera and you wish to shoot your own video go ahead, have fun, make new friends and make sure you get permission, permission, permission. Have release forms signed, if you video someone, if you decide to use stock footage from the public domain, be prepared to pay a fee. It is better if you do not use it for your project, unless you have the budget to pay for it. If you don't have much experience with lighting subjects, review lighting basics and get someone knowledgeable to come along with a floodlight kit.


Camera shake is as annoying for you, your audience, and for the computer that has to digitize the footage, borrow a tripod or steady cam from your friends. Lastly, it is video, so try to avoid too many wide shots which looks so great in the cinema, make use of head shoulder, and closer body shots.


When filming or editing  try to avoid 'TECHNOBABBLE', I personally think the people who use it, do not know what that they are talking about, or they are trying to make me feel stupid so they can take advantage of me.


The following are the basic shots and camera placement. Where you shoot from is always a challenge, in many cases you have little choice. Your WIDE SHOT is one of the first places you have almost total control – scout the area and look through your viewfinder. You can usually find a really pretty view of the area. The medium Shot also follows this rule, first you find a scene – in the viewfinder – and then you take your talent and place them in that picture. You can ask them to walk into the picture for an interesting effect. You will have to experiment and have a mark on the ground, which you will have them walk to. Or you may simply have them already be in the picture doing something. It is not really necessary to have any dialogue in this shot.



The MEDIUM SHOT may be used as introduction to a dialogue or speech – in this case you may use your ZOOM to as a transition to a CLOSE UP – HEAD AND SHOULDER.


There are various places you can shoot from to help you tell your story and make the video more interesting. You may use pillows or your camera bag for support, tape or clamp your tripod to and existing support, you imagination will be your guide here, The ZOOM is one of the most misused and difficult controls on your camera. The beginners’ most common mistake is to turn the camera and zoom in and out - point the camera up and down, never stopping or looking at anything.

You will have to use the camera and practice zooming many times to get used to the way your specific camera works. The zoom should be used very little. It really looks bad when the cameraman makes a lot of little zooms in and out to finish the framing - if you are going to adjust the tilt do it while you are zooming. If you are using a tripod the shot should remain aligned - handholding is when you must be continually aware of the vertical alignment.


The majority of good video is taken from a tripod. For your first shoot you are required to use the tripod. The reason for this is, it is almost impossible to hand hold the camera and produce consistently good video.


The WIDE SHOT – OR ESTABLISHING SHOT has to be taken from a tripod because any shake will be visible to the viewer and any movement on the part of the camera will be visible, the same will hold true of the MEDIUM SHOT.


Tilting the picture is a specific technique to create tension in the viewer. This type of shot makes the viewer anxious and expectant.


Pans and Tilts like all movements need to make sense, have a reason for being there. The reason you pan or tilt are to give the viewer a new picture to look at. Sound simple, it is and it isn’t. You are attempting to change from one good shot to another good shot.


Pans are used far more frequently than tilts – you will discover as you look through your view finder that, looking up or down is far less interesting than looking side to side. With practice you can learn to incorporate all of the movements, - pans – tilts – zooms – I encourage you to work with them and learn to make smooth well considered movements.


You are now ready to take the camera and go out into the world and shoot your first video.


Source: Parnis, Tony., 2010. Film vs. Video & Other Topics. The View Finder, 1(1), pp.7-10.