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Composing for constantly changing visuals

From: Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Video: Composing for constantly changing visuals

In this movie, we are going to go a little deeper with the idea of changing visuals over time. With video, you are looking for more than a single best shot and you look for images that play out over time. Looking for change has a lot to do with that. Think again about a still photo. We look at photographs one at a time. Indeed, a lot of our experience of photographs is based on individual images that we see on the wall, on page of a book, in an advertisement, and so forth.

Composing for constantly changing visuals

In this movie, we are going to go a little deeper with the idea of changing visuals over time. With video, you are looking for more than a single best shot and you look for images that play out over time. Looking for change has a lot to do with that. Think again about a still photo. We look at photographs one at a time. Indeed, a lot of our experience of photographs is based on individual images that we see on the wall, on page of a book, in an advertisement, and so forth.

You may have heard the phrase "the decisive moment." This comes from the work of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer known for his impeccable compositions of street scenes. His photographs work so well, because he took the picture at the decisive moment where everything in a scene all came together in a great picture. That's something all photographers strive to do in a photograph. We want to find that decisive moment when dancers hit a peak action.

We want that decisive moment when light is just right on the landscape and so forth. While specific moments can be important in video, we are not looking for that one decisive moment to pull the trigger, so to speak, and take the picture. We are looking for groups of images that come together to create an impression of the subject, event or scene in such a way that it literally comes alive for the person watching the video. We are looking for shots that show off the area of a big scene and we are looking for shots that show of details of that scene.

We are looking for shots that show relationships of things in that scene. All of these shots are then brought together to make a complete video. That's what editing is all about. Editing video is not about software or any other technology, though obviously you need them in order to be able to do that. Editing video is about having a lot of different shots of a subject or a scene and then being able to bring them together to create a complete impression of whatever it is you are recording on video.

So, one thing that you will immediately be doing as you shoot video is looking for variety of shots. You are not going out and looking for the one shot at the decisive moment; you're going out looking for distinctive and different shots that will give you variety. With video, you will be looking for change over time, you will look for movement, and you will look for that variety in all of your shots. Editing video starts right here. If you do not have variety in shots, you say, "Oh, I am missing something.

Maybe I need a close-up of some feet," and now we have something. It puts it together. Because if you don't have what you need to put that together, it's very frustrating, and not having the shot is just-- I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating that is when you're editing. So, in one sense, you can never have too much variety for video. Now, I want to be clear. This does not mean setting up every shot in the same way that you would carefully set up a still photograph.

Often, when shooting video, pros will very quickly shoot all sorts of images around the main scene. They may be set up for a really nice overall shot of a subject, but as pros finish recording that subject, they will start looking for other details of the scene while they're still set up in that same spot. The fact is, the pro who is shooting video will always look for that variety. A very simple example would be an event like the dancing. A lot of people record events, but what do they shoot? They shoot the obvious action but not a lot more.

That's really hard to use for editing video. Suppose the photographer shooting video quickly got shots of faces of individual dancers, shots of feet, shots of the setting, and so forth. Now, that would be variety and that would give such a dynamic impression of what this dancing was really all about. Even if all you cared about was a specific dancer, having these other shots would give a richness of context and experience from the dancing that would make the video more interesting.

That's what video is really all about. It is about being able to change the visuals constantly as video plays out and the only way you can change those visuals as if you have shot them. So, start thinking about shooting variety and capturing variety quickly as you shoot video.

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This video is part of

Image for Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR
Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

33 video lessons · 25163 viewers

Rob Sheppard
Author

 
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  1. 2m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. What video can do for you
      1m 27s
  2. 23m 13s
    1. Stopping time in photography vs. recording over time with video
      4m 14s
    2. Shooting for movement over time
      3m 58s
    3. Composing for constantly changing visuals
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting to shooting for a non-RAW medium
      3m 26s
    5. Understanding resolution for video
      3m 36s
    6. Choosing a video frame rate
      3m 17s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders
      6m 18s
    2. Comparing sensor sizes among DSLR cameras
      5m 26s
    3. Considering noise when comparing sensor sizes
      3m 8s
    4. Choosing memory cards and batteries
      3m 33s
    5. Understanding video tripods
      6m 10s
    6. Working with other camera supports
      3m 19s
    7. Using focusing aids for shooting video
      5m 29s
    8. Choosing lighting gear
      3m 58s
  4. 26m 23s
    1. Adjusting how you shoot
      6m 11s
    2. Limited "fixing" of images
      3m 42s
    3. Understanding the challenge of shutter speed
      3m 56s
    4. Getting the right exposure
      6m 59s
    5. Setting the right white balance
      5m 35s
  5. 19m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of audio
      4m 5s
    2. Learning to work with sound
      4m 54s
    3. Gearing up for audio
      7m 19s
    4. Recording with external audio gear
      3m 21s
  6. 33m 56s
    1. Basic shooting
      6m 12s
    2. Shooting video to tell a story
      7m 27s
    3. Shooting for coverage
      4m 52s
    4. Understanding how to shoot movement
      4m 10s
    5. Shooting the moving subject
      4m 17s
    6. Creating movement
      6m 58s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Preparing for the edit
      6m 57s
  8. 1m 47s
    1. Stay focused
      1m 47s

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