“… aim and shoot “mess”t


“… aim and shoot “mess”terpieces….”

HA! That one definitely goes in the tool kit.


There are some really good suggestions made by everyone so I won’t parrot them. I would like to add since you do recognize a ‘short fall’ in your production values, you’re already on the right track. Before your run out and spend a significant amount of money on a prosumer rig, first seriously watch movies and television programs.

Avoid big-budget blockbusters with buttloads of special fx and CG imagery as they will distract you from looking at the basics of how they were shot. Yes, most high-end productions use top of the line cameras, but more and more big name films are getting made with tools off the shelf available to people like yourself. Whether it’s a top of the heap Panavision super 35mm camera or a Canon XHA1, the basics still apply. Until you learn how to focus, expose, compose and hold a shot steady, you can use all the fancy cameras and fancy camera tricks you want. It’ll still look like you didn’t know what you were doing.

So watch how the pro’s do it on DVD’s. Of particular help are the ‘making of’ documentaries in the ‘special features’. I’ve been doing this stuff since ’96 and still rummage through the special features to get new ideas and techniques. Also go to sites like YouTube and Vimeo to see how folks just like yourself are making their videos. It won’t take long to figure out the good from the atrocious after an hour or so.

The second thing to do will be to decide how you want your projects to look. Apply the things you’ve seen watching movies and the tips you’ve picked up from VM when using your existing camera. When you can make your videos shot with a dinky consumer rig look good, you’ll be more than ready to move up to something more advanced.

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Videomaker’s 2020 holiday gift guide

When it comes to holiday gifting for people who are deeply involved in a niche or hobby, it's challenging to decide which ideas are worthwhile. If the hobby has become an actual gig that they invest in, it can be daunting. This is true with videographers as much as anything, but we're here to help. You might want to find a gift that is exactly what they need to round out their gear, or something a little more fun. Either way, we've got you covered.