The Dos and Don'ts of Videography
July 4, 2023
July 4, 2023
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Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, videography can be a minefield to navigate. Never fear! Our dos and don’ts guide will equip you with essential tips to capture stunning footage, avoid all the common pitfalls, and unleash your creative potential. Get ready to take your videography skills to the next level and deliver your client with the high quality work they’re looking for. 

Don’t: rush the planning process

Do: Plan like a pro

As stated earlier, it’s so important not to rush the preliminary stages of production. We get it. You’re giddy to bring your vision to life. But as videographers we need to learn to train our impulses and be disciplined – only then can we know that we’re delivering the best product to our clients. 

Although spontaneity and improvisation can sometimes give way to magic, storyboarding and shot lists are the secret sauce to a successful shoot. Even the most inexperienced of videographers will be familiar with that initial confusion of arriving on set – struggling to get your bearings whilst fielding questions from actors, resulting in a whirlwind of stress.

Just stop. You can avoid this by having a plan – a document on hand which methodically breaks down every shot and what actors or props are needed. Not only will this speed up the filming, saving you time and money, but will prevent errors or obstacles, as you’ve already troubleshooted everything beforehand.

You want to have a clear vision before you go to film, not after – storyboarding and shot lists are your best friends for the task. 

Don’t: bank on your ideas and concepts

Do: invest in your equipment

Visionary film directors don’t use camcorders, and you’re not going to wow anyone unless you invest in the right equipment. Post production can only do so much. If you want to capture high resolution and professional looking footage, it’s worthwhile to foot the costs for good camera and audio equipment. Like most things, your chain is only as good as the weakest link – a quality DSLR is only effective with the right lens for the job. It’s also important to mention that good equipment is only worthwhile if you actually know how to use it. 

However, be aware that it’s not just about using expensive equipment, but using the right equipment. For content that is more social media oriented, a good quality phone camera may capture the aesthetic you desire and give your content a more organic feel. Tread carefully however! Used incorrectly, it can cheapen the brand identity, which is something to avoid.

In videography, the right equipment is the foundation of greatness. Quality concepts and quality post-production are worthless without footage that fits the aesthetic of your client’s brand.

Don’t: rely solely on natural lighting

Do: think hard about the right lighting for your project

While natural lighting is costless and often relied on for those gorgeous golden hour scenes, we can’t predict a cloudy or rainy day. You may need to shoot inside, or the indoor light conditions may not be what you thought. 

Lighting is important, because it significantly impacts the overall visual appeal of your shots. Thoughtful lighting techniques can transform any ordinary scene into a captivating and professional-looking composition.

It’s essential to consider both natural and artificial sources. Natural light can offer a soft and flattering effect, especially during golden hours, while artificial lighting allows you to achieve greater control and consistency in different shooting environments. 

Don’t forget to experiment! It’s important to explore different lighting setups and look for creative ways to use light to convey emotions and enhance storytelling. Sometimes the visually captivating result won’t come from natural light, and vice versa. 

You won’t always have the budget for the most robust lighting setup. In this case, a single light and simple reflector can be a very powerful combo. Lighting in general is a powerful tool that can make a remarkable difference in the quality and effectiveness of your video content. Don’t leave it up to chance. 

Don’t: settle for one shot

Do: capture all the angles

The biggest nightmare an editor can face in post production is a lack of footage. There’s nothing worse than opening up a session and not having the right shot they need to make it work. Don’t leave them hanging!

As a videographer, it’s your role to capture different angles and perspectives – not only to create options for post production, but to add depth and build visual interest. If you feel yourself thinking – ‘Okay I got the shot, let’s move on’ – ask yourself – ’Is there a different way I could shoot this? Maybe I’ll want something different later?’ Posing these questions can be an important step in making sure that you’re capturing all the angles you might need.

Don’t: neglect post-production

Do: invest time and effort into editing 

Make sure you take the time to edit, refine, and polish your video. Grabbing unreal footage isn’t useful unless you treat it with the care it deserves during the editing stage. You’ve taken all the steps to capture pristine footage and tell a great story – approach the final stage with patience and attention to detail.

Inversely, try to avoid over-editing or using excessive visual effects that may distract from the content. The footage should do the work and post production should facilitate, not divert attention. 

Don’t: settle for unsatisfactory audio

Do: ensure crystal-clear audio 

Capturing clear and crisp audio is a vital component in bringing your visuals to life. A viewer can pick up on poorly recorded audio from a mile away – it’s a tell-tale sign of low production value. 

You can ensure pristine audio by using quality microphones and minimising background noise. This means using lapel or boom microphones when filming, as well as being very careful about the filming location and time of day. 

You may also want to invest in hiring a sound engineer in the post production stage. Even if you take the right steps to capturing the right audio, a sound specialist will be adept at audio tools such EQ and compression, which are used to shape and sculpt audio into form.

Don’t: just advertise

Do: think of storytelling as strategy

As a videographer, it’s important to not just think about what camera angle you want to take, but the emotional angle you’re aiming for. Is your client’s brand serious or lighthearted? Humorous or targeted at a niche audience? Storytelling is vital here. 

We’ve all got a message, but it’s important to evaluate how you’re going to get that across. Production value can only get you so far. Try to think about what you are offering the audience – emotion, humour, shock, information. If you want to capture the attention of your audience, it’s going to take more than a bit of eye candy to win them over. 

In Summary: 

Armed with these essential tips, you're ready to tackle the world of video creation. It’s great to experiment and try new things, but plan accordingly and don’t rush!

Whether it’s breathtaking camerawork, dazzling lighting setups or crystal clear sound, the key to great videography can be found in ensuring a high-quality process every step of the way.

Lights, camera, success awaits!


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