Are you considering a career behind the camera? We’re talking all about how to use a video camera to create professional-looking digital media, helping you learn:
- Video tips for beginners and experienced users alike
- How to effectively prepare to shoot a video
- How to turn your hobby into a career
Usually, it’s pretty easy to distinguish between videos shot by inexperienced amateurs and skilled professionals – you can almost always see and hear the differences.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to be a longtime industry pro to create a polished and professional video. What you do need is a basic understanding of how to properly use your camera and film high-quality video content.
We’ve created a series of practical tips for making great videos, whether you’re working with a standard smartphone or a full set of top-notch gear. With this guide in hand, you can start honing your skills as a digital media producer in the making.
Ready? Power up your camera and let’s jump right in.
1. First, get to know your gear.
The first and most important step in learning how to create videos is figuring out how to actually use your camera. Don’t feel like you have to invest in a top-of-the-line camera right away, because you can absolutely develop your skills and style using something as simple as a smartphone. Ultimately, the key is to learn how to operate the camera you have on hand.
Take the time to read through any instruction manuals that came with the camera. Or, if you don’t have any, do a quick internet search for simple tutorials. There are many people that have created great video tutorials for virtually every type of device out there, so you can watch a step-by-step breakdown.
If you’re planning to use additional equipment, such as an external microphone, make sure you’re familiar with those tools as well. Even though this step can take some time in the beginning, it will end up saving you some major frustration and hassle down the line.
2. Start with a plan.
There are times when filming on the fly can work. But if you really want to improve your video skills, you’re going to need to take a more intentional approach.
Think about the video you want to make, and plan out every detail in advance. Your actual content needs to be just as strong as the video quality, making planning a critical step.
- Begin by defining the purpose of the video: what do you want to communicate, or what are you trying to achieve? Is this video solely for entertainment, is it intended to inform, or do you have another goal in mind?
- Then, determine who your audience is. How can you make sure that your video connects with the people that you’re hoping will watch it?
- With your video goals and audience hand, you can move on to writing a script and developing a storyboard. Don’t be afraid to make tons of revisions, rearranging sections, rewriting whole portions, and even deleting content as you see fit.
Your script and storyboard will serve as a roadmap of sorts, helping you keep your video on track at every stage in the creative process.
3. Figure out lighting.
Now, you’re ready to actually get your camera set up – but we aren’t going to start filming just yet. Lighting is one of the most important (and yet, often underestimated) factors in video quality. Make it one of your top priorities, and it will definitely pay off.
Natural light from the sun is nearly always your best bet. Morning or evening light is ideal because it’s generally much softer than the harsh, bright midday light that comes from directly overhead. Midday light can cast distracting shadows, causing an unflattering effect. If filming during the middle of the day is unavoidable, try to shoot on a cloudy day or in a shadier area.
If you’ll be filming indoors, then you’ll need to pay extra attention to setting up your light sources. Windows can be a good source of natural light, but you might also have to use a large lamp or two as well. Again, overhead lighting isn’t usually the best option, so try to position lamps to the side if possible.
Once you think your lighting is on point, get out your camera. Use the video screen to get an idea of what the overall effect is on-screen, and make any changes necessary. Think about the ways in which you might use lighting to create a specific effect (for example, purposefully using “hard” lighting to cast dramatic shadows).
4. Steady your camera.
Shaky video footage is a dead giveaway that a creator is inexperienced. Luckily, it can be an easy issue to resolve.
It can be extremely difficult to hold a camera perfectly steady in your hand, so opt for a tripod or another study surface. Depending on the video you want to make, you might need to plan for a few different set-ups to accommodate varying angles or scenes. Try to minimize panning the camera, since the movement can detract from the overall viewing experience, and cut from one shot to the next instead.
If you realize that some of your footage turned out shaky, there are video stabilization software programs that can help. You might even have a camera with built-in stability features as well.
5. Know the rules of thirds.
The rule of thirds is a basic film composition principle, making a world of difference in the look and feel of a video.
Visualize a three-by-three grid over the top of your camera’s video display screen. Rather than situating your primary subject directly in the middle, it can be more aesthetically appealing to place them along with one of the grid’s lines. The intersecting points of the grid are key focus areas, so they are ideal for the most important elements of your video.
You don’t necessarily have to follow the rule of thirds all the time, but it’s extremely helpful as you gain experience and develop your own creative instincts.
Start a Career in Digital Media Production
If you’ve made it this far, the odds are pretty good that you have a passion for creating digital content – and you might have even considered pursuing a career in the media industry. The modern-day world of media offers a wealth of opportunities, giving you a wide range of potential career options in creative and challenging fields. Whether you want to be the person writing the script, filming the video, or perfecting the audio, you can secure a fulfilling and exciting career in media.
But first, why not set yourself up for success with an accredited education? At the BeonAir Network of Media Schools in Miami, Chicago, Colorado, and Ohio, you can enroll in a Digital Media Production program that takes you on an illuminating journey through digital media development. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about digital storytelling, branding, production, marketing, and so much more. You’ll spend time in real-world production settings, not just a classroom, gaining a broad range of experiences and skills.
You have what it takes to turn your passion into a full-time career; all you need now is the foundational knowledge and expertise to break into the industry. Pursue your professional dreams when you apply online to attend one of our media school campuses today!
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