zooming during shoot or post production?

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    • #49261

      I am fairly new to filming, but feel I have a creative eye for what I want. I am confused on one thing: I want to film a person addressing the camera and have them in a medium shot during some of the talking and then close up during some of the more important talking. Do I do this during the shoot or do I just zoom in the film during post production? I would prefer to do this during post production, since it would be easier, and I don’t have to confuse the actor with different cuts, but I worry if I do this during the shoot, the zoom will be different every time since I have no way of judging each zoom, but then, I worry that if I do this during post production, the film will loose quality when I pull in. Not sure how the pros do this. Thanks!

    • #201707

      Lisa –

      If you have two cameras (both on tripods) you could just have one tight and the other medium wide, then choose which is your active take in post.

      If you don’t have two cameras, record in HD as wide as you need and crop/zoom in post using the same video on two tracks with one tight, the other original an again just choose which track is active.

      I would suggest using only cuts (no fades or fancy transitions) as a rule.

      Also, if you output to SD, you won’t have a problem with pixelated video (if you record @ 1920 X 1080 but render to 720 X 480 you will be fine). You might even get away with rendering to HD anyway (depends on how much you zoom for the tight shots).

    • #201708

      I use the two-camera method as outlined by Bruce, with matching units. But occasionally I have a so-called one-camera gig and am comfortable enough with the cameras I use that I can sustain a nice, slow (or even FAST, for that matter) zoom to tighten the shot.

      If I get the smooth zoom I want in-camera I’ll stay with it, but often I’ve acquired enough cutaway shots at some point during an event that I can hide the fast zoom and reframing behind a crowd shot or other visual for a few seconds. The approach and technique, of course, depends on the type of presentation I’m covering. Personally I prefer NOT to do zoom or crop shots in post due to the image degradation concerns mentioned.

      Additionally, when I have room to roam, and some decent cutaway shots for cover, I’ll even change locations to get another angle. I’ve occasionally had clients ask me how many cameras I used, wondering how I could get all those angles with two, or even one.

    • #201709


      Whether with a single or multiple camera setup, you can do zooms on your talent during the shoot. However, constantly zooming in and out is aggravating to the viewer and is the mark of an amateur. Like Earl said, you can perform slow or fast zooms long as they are done smoothly (somebody tell MTV that please.)

      I would add that when you do zoom that it be done to help emphasize the talent when they are making a relevant point. Also, keep your zooms to a minimum. That way your viewers won’t want to hit you with a stick.

      Lastly, don’t depend on really long shots on talent no matter how interesting they are. As per ‘Cat’s and Earl’s suggestions, have plenty of cut shots and shots from different angles available to keep your video dynamic and in motion.

      Viewer’s these days have seriously short attention spans, so in order to keep them focused you’ll need those different angles and cut shots to keep the flow of your video going.

    • #201710

      If it’s not a ‘live’ presentation, and you only have one camera, why not just shoot it twice…once on a medium shot and the second run through on a close-up. I ‘ve used this technique many times, and as long as your talent gets their lines right on the second run-through it looks likeyou had two cameras rolling at once.

    • #201711

      In a controlled production, Wayne, that is a great approach. The wonderful world of multiple takes. I’ve also used this approach when working with garage and wannabe bands.

    • #201712
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      short answer… when ya wanna zoom in… zoom in.

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