Shooting Techniques

Clear Steady Footage

  • Use your camera’s image stabilization feature, if it has one.
  • Use a tripod whenever possible.
  • If no tripod is available, hold your bent arm tight against your body or lean against a solid surface to stabilize the shot.
  • Use your camera’s auto focus mode unless it’s having trouble focusing on your subject.
  • Hold your camera still and instead have the subject provide motion.

Think About Composition

  • Make sure all parts of your shot work together — the subject, background, color, and lighting.
  • Position your subject off center for a more interesting shot.
  • Make sure there is no unnecessary space around the subject.

Don't Forget the Background

  • Keep the background simple.
  • Include a few props that will make the shot more interesting, but not distract from the subject.
  • Make sure there are no distracting objects in the camera’s view.
  • Check that objects don’t look like they’re growing out of your subject.

Get Great Shots

  • Only use your zoom to quickly switch between close-up and wide shots. You can edit out the abrupt zoom in your final movie.
  • Try to get at least two types of camera shots for each scene you film: close-up, medium, or wide.
  • Use extra video cameras so you can capture the same shot from different points of view.
  • Anticipate the action so you get the shots you need.
  • Record a few seconds before and after a scene so it will be easier to edit.

Capture Candid Shots

  • Make your subjects feel comfortable and relaxed by talking and interacting with them.
  • Try to be discreet.
  • Bring along a digital still camera so you can incorporate still photos into your movie.