As photographers, we have to be a one man/woman show, this has lead to many photographers flipping their cameras into video mode and shooting more video content. The learning curve is a different animal than photography, but with these 5 tips you will be more confident when you press record. I learned everything backwards, I started my education in video and slowly migrated to photography, spending 5 years working in the local television news market, working along side some of the best photojournalists in the business and having a very patient chief photographer leading the way for me. These tips helped make me better behind the lens and I'm sure they will help your videos stand out.
The most important thing to your video, if you are shooting interviews, is sitting down and talking to your interviewees first. There are a few reasons why you should do this first but the most important is to listen to what they are saying. While you are asking the questions, keep a note book with you, write down key words they say, this will help you in the long run when you begin shooting your B-Roll and it will also help you in post when you are editing their interviews, you will have direct references to cover the interview with so you don't have a talking head on the screen the entire time. It will capture your audiences attention better and will make your video flow much better.
This is one of the big things many people struggle with, because of lack of knowledge, if your audio isn't clean, you will lose your audience in a heart beat, people will sit through bad shooting or bad editing but they will not deal with bad audio. If you are serious about your video, you need to invest in a external audio recorder and mics (shotgun and lav mics), if you are just starting off or learning, all phones have audio recorders, USE THEM. Do not trust the nat mic on your cameras, your audio will be terrible. Record everything, natural sound, birds chirping, the wind blowing, leaves rustling in the wind, you never know when underlying usage of natural sound will add atmosphere to your video work, depth to the sound.
Know your gear
Any professional is only as good as the tools they have, know what your gear can do in video mode, know the frame rates you can shoot at. 24FPS, 30FPS, 60FPS, 1920X1080, mov, quicktime, mp4, h.264, prores, cineraw, know these terms, they will help you when you are shooting. Shooting a movie? 24FPS. Interviews? 30FPS. Sports? 60FPS. Does your camera suck in low light? Too much Grain at 6400 ISO? What glass looks better for video production? How does the in cam mic sound? you need to know your tools and the capabilities of your camera when working in video, the littlest things can make or break you.
SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT
There is no such thing as over shooting, if you feel like you have enough footage, shoot for 20 more minutes, even if you don't use the clips it's always good to have them, the last thing you want to do is run out of footage when you are editing. You might be able to keep a library of file footage to use on future shoots. Remember this, pound it into your brain, WIDE MEDIUM TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT. Wide shots set the scene, medium shots bring you closer to the focal point, but its the tight shots that will make your video, for every wide or medium shot, zoom in, re position your tripod to get that tight shot, it will give you better shots to cut to and make your story flow. You see it in films all the time, person leaving through the door, tight shot of them grasping the handle, tight of their facial expression as they walk out. Movement is fine, pans, zooms, but remember you can't cut from a pan to another pan and too much movement isn't good, cut from a pan to a tight shot, this is something that comes with experience but if you practice this and make it habit you will become more comfortable with it and it will become second nature.
This is the elephant in the room, I don't know what it is about opening a video editing program that scares the shit out of photographers, we can spend hours in photoshop but when it comes to editing video we can get quickly frustrated. Don't be scared of these programs, shoot some video and learn what each tool does. Every computer has a basic editing program on them, imovie, windows movie maker, even our phones can edit video now, learn from these and then jump into premiere, final cut or avid. Having knowledge of multiple editing programs is a huge help, I know how to use Avid (the industry standard), Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Resolve, imovie, Windows Movie Maker, Gopro studio, it will make you better at what you do. When you edit, watch you video all the way through, make sure there isn't jump cuts, spots of black, missed shots, poor audio, over modulated audio, low audio, make sure everything is smooth and then depending on your deadlines, walk away from it for a while and then come back to it, watch it again, you might find something you missed.
If you use these tips as a starting point for your video knowledge you will, with time and practice, become more comfortable with shooting. Remember your rule of thirds, 180 rule and always remember WIDE, MEDIUM, TIGHT, TIGHT, TIGHT!!