To make a great movie, you need to understand the techniques available to you. This lesson will explore several of these techniques in detail.
The camera angle marks the spot where you place the video camera to get your shot. You can use several different camera angles in one scene.
For this neutral shot, place the camera as if it is a human observing the scene, approximately five to six feet from the ground. The subject’s head will be on the same level as the camera.
Low angle (shooting from below)
Place the camera on the floor and tilt it up to make a subject look bigger. This is useful if the subject is short. Low angles also disorientate the viewer, adding confusion to the scene.
High level (shooting down from above)
Place the camera above the subject and tilt it down on the subject for a “bird’s eye view.” This shot allows the audience to get a sense of looking over the subjects from a position of superiority.
Tilt the camera to create a sense of instability, like you would see in a horror movie. Filmmakers often use this technique for point-of-view shots, which you will learn about in the next section.
When recording video, the rule of thumb is to get three shots for each subject of interest: wide, medium, and tight. Wide shots are far enough away for the frame to show the entire scene. Medium Shots are close enough to understand what is happening in the scene.Tight shots are up close and personal. But those are only the basic shots. This table below outlines several more of the shots used in video recording.
Another type of shot is called a cutaway. This type of shot is related to the action but shown from a different perspective. When edited into the movie, cutaway shots prevent jump cuts that interrupt the flow. Always record plenty of extra footage to use for cutaways during the editing process.
Take cutaway shots that:
Emphasize important details. For example, when filming a birthday party, get shots of guests talking, the birthday cake, children watching the presents being opened, guests arriving, etc.
Create tension. In the same birthday example, shoot the birthday girl looking at the clock while waiting for guests to arrive and the lighting of the candles on the cake.
Link scenes together. If the first scene is the birthday girl coming down the stairs and the second scene is guests arriving, a shot of the birthday decorations can link the scenes.
The shot starts when you press “Record” and ends when you pause or stop recording.
Hold each shot for at least 10 seconds.
Avoid zooming after pressing “Record.”
Don’t put every subject in the center of the frame.
Watch out for “firehosing,” or panning all over the scene.
Instead of standing in one spot, look for interesting angles.
And most importantly…Shoot to Edit!