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In Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR, photographer and videographer Rob Sheppard provides the essential foundation that photographers need to make the leap from still pictures to moving ones. From technical considerations, such as audio and frame rates, to aesthetic issues, such as composition and story development, this course presents concepts and techniques photographers need to get the best results from their gear and learn the art of video-based storytelling. Exercise files are included with the course.
As I discuss video techniques with a DSLR camera, I would suggest you get your camera out and give them a try. One of the great things about working digitally is that you are not using up anything, such as film or video tape. So there's no cost to experimenting and trying out techniques. Even if you don't have a great subject to work with, like we do with these dancers here, still give some of these things a try just so you can get a better feel of how your camera is going to shoot video. In this lesson, we are going to really get down and look at applying some basic techniques that you will need for shooting your video.
First, let's talk about composition. You are dealing with a very wide format when you are shooting HD video. This is much wider than you are used to using when you're shooting still photos. It is important that you use the entire width for your composition. If you are only paying attention to the center part of your image area, you will easily pick up stuff on one side or the other that could be very distracting to your video. Remember that you can't crop off those things just like you would do with a still photo.
So a still photo, you have that distraction, chop it off. Video, you're stuck with it. So be very concious of what is happening over that whole wide frame and then use the frame too visually. So let's compose some shots of these dancers to really give you an idea of what that's like. And I am going to record them as they move around. Right now, we are looking at a composition that is just them in the center. Now being in the center is not bad because all of the stuff that's on the outside belongs to the setting.
It looks like they are in a place. I don't have anything extra on one side or another. This is the type of shot that a lot of times photographers get into trouble with because they are so conscious of that centered subject that they don't look at the stuff along the sides. All right, now I am going to have you guys move out to the edges. So as they move out to the edges, you can see they are at the opposite sides of the frame. Now this is still an interesting composition. I am working over this whole image area. Not just the center now but using everything in the frame.
Okay, now Dave, would you go and stand next to Kim? So now, I am using the frame very differently because I've put basically the subject matter way over on one side and then using space through the rest of the frame. It is a very interesting way of using a composition like this; however, you got to be careful that stuff on that side, the side away from your subject, doesn't have a bunch of stuff in it that's going to be distracting. Okay, now let's have both of you go on the other side.
So now, this is just the opposite so they're on the far side. The far right side this time. We've got the subject matter way off on the side and then you've got this wonderful space to use up that entire 16x9 frame. Now that's important to keep in mind, is using that whole space, and that's one way of doing it. Don't be afraid to really put something off to one side or the other. But if you do that, pay attention to the whole rest of the frame because it's very important and people do notice.
Okay, thank you guys and you can go back to the center. And as you change compositions, you will start by really doing something very important for video and that's getting a variety of shots. You will hear me talking a lot about getting variety throughout this course because getting variety is so important to shooting video. Video is always made up of multiple shots and you cannot edit what you don't shoot. Once you start editing your video, this is going to come home to you very quickly.
You'll find out that all of a sudden, you are going to be asking yourself, why didn't I get this or that particular composition or shot? Well, you usually can't get those shots again when you are sitting in front of the computer doing your edit. So what do you do? Shoot what you think you need, then shoot some more. You can't go wrong in getting those extra shots. Another thing you need to consider is not just how many shots you make, but how long the shots last. This also is going to affect your editing. Still photographers often have a tendency to shoot video too short.
Photographers are used to just getting that single shot so they are not thinking about the time needed. A good rule of thumb is the ten-second rule. When you are recording video, simply remember to shoot at least ten seconds. This doesn't matter whether you're shooting something with lots of action or something with very little action. That's just a good habit to get into. So you would be doing something like this and I am going to have our dancers do a little bit of dancing again for us and I am going to change the display here, so it shows a timer.
It is going to actually tell me how much time is going by, and not all cameras have this. This does. I am also going to be able to watch the little blinking light that says that recording is occurring and that blinking light occurs about every one second. So I just count in my head about the ten seconds. So we will have get started and go ahead. So I am waiting for this. The counter is going up here. I am also paying attention to the blinking light and now that I know-- okay, now I have gone over my minimum. They can go further if I like the action.
Otherwise I think I got it. Great! Thank you. So I have in that case almost 20 seconds of video. That's important to be able to do that. You need that time to help you when you are editing. If your clip is too short, you will not be able to use it properly. Just by using the full width of your frame, shooting a lot, and shooting at least 10 seconds per shot, you are going to have a good start to getting great video. I will discuss some specific ideas in other movies in what things you're going to look for when you are creating that variety of shots.
But the ideas you have just heard will really help you get started.
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