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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.
In this movie, I want to refine how to shoot a moving subject. As you shoot video, you should be looking for movement and starting to shoot it, but sometimes the subject will simply move in place and other times the subject will move all over a large area. That can be a challenge. These dancers can certainly move over a large area and if you're trying to do a medium shot, that can be very difficult because they can get in and out of your shot. So we need to think of ways of dealing with movement besides just backing up and showing everything in a wide shot, because that ends up giving a subject that's very small plus the movement very small in this big frame.
One thing I can do here is find a vantage point that will show the movement in more or less one spot, so I can keep the camera steady while the subject moves around. When your subject moves but the frame stays still, the movement of the subject can often be emphasized in a very nice way. So right now, they are going to be dancing in one area. I know this for this particular one, so I am going to start recording, and go ahead with our first. So now we have them moving around, we see them staying in frame.
I know that that's the type of dance they're doing and it works very well and it looks great. All right, thank you. Perfect! After you have that type of shot, another very interesting option for movement is to find a place where you can shoot a defined area and have the movement go through it. This definitely gives a feeling of moving through space because the subject is literally moving from one side of your frame to another. When you're capturing such a shot, it's a good idea to continue to shoot until your subject is fully out of the frame.
This gives you better edit options. All right, I am going to frame these up and start to look at some of the action that is going to go through the frame. And when I do this, I am going to come in tight like that. All right, I want you guys come off to the side and I will start recording and go ahead. So now we will wait for them to come through. Very nice! All the way out. Thank you. Perfect! And what a neat thing for the movement! Could you see how they just went right through the frame? Very, very cool.
That's a neat way of dealing with action. Now, one thing to watch out for when shooting movement is that you shoot enough of movement that when you are editing your video together, you're able to match movement between shots. With these dancers that would mean that as I took a wide and medium shot of them, for example, I was sure that some of the movement was repeated. It can look very awkward if your subject is doing one type of movement in one shot and then it's edited against another shot where the movement totally changes.
Finally, think about gestures as a part of movement. Gesture is a unique or distinctive movement of your subject. You can shoot gestures as medium or close shots and you can even get cutaways of people gesturing around the main action. Gesture does not simply mean someone talking with their hands. It means watching for a unique movement or gesture, whether that is from a person, a plant, an animal or even a machine. If there is some sort of movement that gives a gesture that is unique and distinctive for your subject.
So, let's take a look at them dancing another little bit of movement here and I'm going to look for a specific spot of gesture. Okay, go ahead. Now watch, they are moving. We have got some nice movement and then we start seeing things happening. Now we are watching for something is going to really give us that cool gesture and that was a really neat movement of the twirl. That gave us a gesture that was unique from all the rest of it that was going on. Ultimately, the key is in movement is to be aware of movement of your subject and what is happening to the subject as it moves through the image area.
This is a very different mindset than still photography. But once you start thinking this way, you'll discover all sorts of moving possibilities.
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