For both aspiring and professional cinematographers, we’ve packed this article with valuable resources to help your video shooting skills flourish.
We’ll go over the basics of video shooting as well as provide you with a number of recording techniques and tips for buying the right gear for your needs.
The Basics of Shooting Video
If you’re new to shooting video, it’s best to start simple and learn the basic foundations of video shooting. Take this time to learn its fundamentals, like how to compose your shots. Composition deals with how you arrange the subjects and objects in your shot’s frame. There are guidelines you can follow that’ll make your shots look instantly better. For instance, the human eye inherently finds subjects that are off-centered visually pleasing, so its best to actively position your subjects away from the frame’s center and follow the rule of thirds.
Additionally, learning basics like video color theory will elevate the quality of your shots. Choosing the right colors to include in a shot, like paring oranges and teals together, not only gives your shots visual interest, but also visual satisfaction. Orange and teals are complementary to each other, so when they are included in a shot together, the shot simply pops.
Here are some shooting fundamentals worth looking into, as well as some resources regarding basic color theory:
- How to Make Scenes Cinematic
- Bit-depth Explained
- Color Theory for Video
- Understanding Bit-depth and Color Rendition for Video
After you have the basics down, it’s time to start expanding your skills and experiment with shooting techniques. Try moving your camera in intriguing ways. Tilting, panning and zooming are the easiest — and the most common — ways to add movement to your shots. Also, make an effort to find unusual and exciting perspectives you can use to frame your subject. This is why important to know the basic rules of perspective so you can later twist them. Instead of framing your subject straight on, shoot them from the ground up or zoom in for an extreme close-up of your actors face. That will for sure get your audience’s attention.
Check out all these articles to help you further your shooting technique:
- How to Shoot a Long Take
- 5 Tips for Shooting in Log Profiles
- Three Video Mistakes Even the Pros Make
- How to Shoot Dialogue Scenes
- Use Your Camera to Control Audience Perspective
- 7 Tips for Shooting Great Video with a Selfie Stick
- 7 Bad Shooting Habits & How to Break Them
- How Different Angles Can Take an Action Video From Good to Awesome
- Take Flight with These 8 Must-have Drone Shots
- 9 Things to Shoot that Will Look Awesome in Slow-mo
- 7 Unique Action Cam Shots to Try with Your GoPro
Use the right equipment
It’s not all about technique. Your camera is a powerful tool, and it’s important you get the right one for your project’s needs. It’s also important to have the proper gear. Using the right gear will make the shooting process much easier and your end results more professional looking.
Be sure to read through our helpful buyer’s guides. They’ll guide you to the best camera for your needs. Also be sure to look at the essential tools you should bring — and ones you can make — for every video shoot:
- Professional Fixed-Lens Camcorder Buyer’s Guide
- How to Buy an Interchangeable-lens Camera
- What You Need in an Action Camera: A Buyer’s Guide
- The Essential Video Shooter’s Toolkit
- We Show You Where DIY Video Gear Succeeds and Fails
- How to Build a Camera Rig
What about 360-degree video?
The 360-degree format is fairly new to the video community and has its own set of setup requirements. In many ways though, 360 video is still similar to shoot normally formatted video. You still need to worry about lights and stabilization just like every other shooting format. However, 360 cameras shoot in all directions, so you have to place the camera differently. There isn’t a single focal point in the frame. It captures everything. Placement is key in achieving great 360 video.
If you want to shoot videos in the 360-degree format, be sure to check out these articles to help you get started:
- How to Get Started with 360-degree Video
- How to Compose your Shot When Your Camera Can See Everything
- How to Cover an Event in 360
Learn to shoot video by doing
The best way to grow as a cinematographer is to actually go out into the field and start shooting video. You now have all the resources you need. Go film your heart out. And if you happen to be a more experience cinematographer, we challenge you to take on these 8 challenges that are guaranteed to make you a better videographer. Let us know how it goes.