Video Production Best Practices
2017 Godolphin Flying Start
As promised, what follows is a quick recap of the content we covered during our video section.
As you will hopefully recall, I believe you’re further along than any other Flying Start class so far and should be commended for your work!
What follows are merely some suggestions to help you continue to improve!
Remember that the standard in industrial videos — industrial = not for broadcast, most typically internally-produced promotional content which is exactly what you guys are producing — is that the video “host” can look directly into the camera and address the audience.
But interview subjects should be looking slightly off-camera at the person who’s asking the questions.
(whether or not those questions are heard in the video)
The only situation where an interview subject would look directly into the camera would be a “confessional”-type interview.
YOUR JANUARY 2017 VIDEO DOES A GREAT JOB WITH SIGHTLINES! CONTINUE THE GOOD WORK!!
RULE OF THIRDS
Use the “rule of thirds” principle when composing your shots. (divide your frame into 9 equal sections)
As with any rule, once you have a good understanding of it, it can periodically be broken.
But as new videographers, for now stick to the rule when framing your shots, most especially interviews and host sections.
This means you should ONLY shoot your videos with an application that has an overlay as a framing guide.
While most default Android video capture applications should allow you to shoot video with a framing guide,
that is NOT the case with iOS.
My recommendation for an iOS video capture application that has a framing guide is FiLMic Pro.
To learn more about this application, click HERE.
IN YOUR JANUARY 2017 VIDEO, BE SURE YOU’RE SHOOTING WITH YOUR FRAMING OVERLAY
ACTIVATED AS SEVERAL INTERVIEW SUBJECTS WERE STILL FRAMED TOO LOW IN THE SHOT.
While there are plenty of times a handheld camera would be great for your videos — e.g. walking through a location, following a subject who’s moving — when it comes to host and interview sections, the camera should be rock steady!
This means either connecting it to a monopod, or finding a table or some elevated platform on which to place your small tripod.
FRAME IN CLOSER
While you’re doing MUCH better job than most non-professional videographers when it comes to getting close to your subjects, as you can see in the framing examples below, still lots of room for improvement!
So when you’re shooting your interview subjects, start out a bit closer than you’d want to.
And then please take that extra step TOWARDS your subject.
Trust me, when you get to editing you’ll be happy with the results!
What follows are the 8 frame-grabs taken from GFSTV videos that we studied in class.
I’ve provided a quick list of the things to be corrected in each shot, and a short description of why I believe the reframing improves the shot.
SHOT #1 AS SHOT
A nicely framed shot, with an interesting background. But as framed, the image is arguing that the statue is as important — or perhaps even more important — than Christopher and Tim!
SHOT #1 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Note how by bringing Christopher and Tim MUCH closer, now the shot reads as they are the most important elements of the shot, which is how things should be!
SHOT #2 AS SHOT
This shot of Jessica and Todd reveals the challenge — which we’ll see again later — of talent/hosts having two different heights. Using this location, we’d need to find a platform on which Jessica could stand to slightly elevate her. Additionally, she and Todd are a little too centered, and — as is often the case — too far away from camera!
SHOT #2 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Arranging Jessica and Todd closer together and shifted to one side allows us to not only see them better, but we also get a better view of the nice background. We’ve also elevated Jessica so that there is less disparity in height. If Jessica and Todd are interviewees instead of hosts, they would be looking slightly off to frame left and this shot would work nicely!
SHOT #3 AS SHOT
While certainly a nice shot of Amie interacting with the horse, she’s framed too low in the shot, and too far away.
SHOT #3 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Coming in closer and moving Amie up in the framing provides a more elegant composition, plus since the real area of interest is her reacting to the horse, being close enough to where the horse’s head is slightly cut off is not a problem.
SHOT #4 AS SHOT
As is, framed in a fairly symmetrical fashion, with Madison and Joe lining up on the vertical elements of the grid, but still too far away!
SHOT #4 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Framing in closer allows them to have more prominence in the shot, and once again show the audience more of the background!
SHOT #5 AS SHOT
Here Megan and Luke show the challenges of a significant height difference. We need to get Megan elevated, and once again get the talent closer to the lens!
SHOT #5 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Framing in closer and elevating Megan reduces height disparity, and lets us see a little more of the background. Choosing to show both indoor and outdoor lighting, while providing some variety in color, will typically want to be avoided if possible.
SHOT #6 AS SHOT
My favorite shot from your 2016 videos! Interesting background, symmetrical framing. Only problem is a framed a little too low, and not close enough!
SHOT #6 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
Coming in closer and framing up makes a nice shot even better! We lose Todd and Michael’s outside shoulders, which are not needed for the shot, but we still retain all the background elements that give the shot its appeal!
SHOT #7 AS SHOT
Anyone shooting video will hit this challenge at one time or another. No time to travel anywhere interesting to set up the shot, and all the available locations are lousy. And yes, this is one LOUSY location. Key here is to try and make lemonade from lemons! First thing is to identify what elements of the background are “least bad.” In this case, while we’ve seen a million bookcases as background, at least it’s better than the beige wall!
SHOT #7 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
So now we’re framing in closer, not only to bring Luke and Megan into more prominence, but also to hide the beige wall and give less attention to the beige drapes. The light source is rather harsh and unforgiving, so when stuck in those situations, do try and see if overhead lights might be turned off and table lights turned on. As I said, time and situation will often force you into less-than-ideal conditions. It’s then key to think creatively about how to lessen the downside!
SHOT #8 AS SHOT
When you have one of the most famous building on the planet as a background, you certainly want to feature it! But the challenge here for Madison and Christopher is one of position and lighting. They need to be rotated so that their faces are in the light — right now there’s only a portion of Christopher face that’s catching the light, and in addition to having the camera rotate, the point where they film should have been a few hundred feet to their right (or camera left)
SHOT #8 SUGGESTED REFRAMING
I dropped in a different background and brightened them both up to provide a rough estimation of how the shot might have been framed differently. Closer to the camera (as always!), with more available light covering their faces, and finally at a slightly different angle so that audience gets BOTH a view of the famous background and a nice composition of our two interviewees!