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Shooting the moving subject

From: Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Video: Shooting the moving subject

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.

Shooting the moving subject

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

33 video lessons · 24782 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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