7 Must-Know Videographer Techniques and Mistakes
A videographer doesn’t only do shots. This person is part sound man, part director, and even part editor. Moreover, this person is responsible for the quality of the image people see on the screen. However, we only see a ready picture, and no one even thinks about how much work is hidden behind it.
In this review, we’ll have a look at the basic techniques a videographer should follow and the main mistakes beginners usually make. We’ll analyze this question in greater detail to prove that a good film is impossible without a talented and skillful videographer.
How Does The Work of Videographer Change A Movie?
The main goal of a videographer is to record films, live events, and small scale video productions. You probably know that a high-quality video needs to undergo a few stages:
Post-production is also called the editing stage, and the whole quality of the video depends on it.
A videographer is usually responsible for planning and filming videos, but this person is also engaged in the post-production stage. A successful videographer understands the needs of clients and works creatively to produce the desired content. Moreover, a professional videographer always stays up-to-date with the current industry tools and trends.
The way a professional uses cinematography techniques can definitely influence the final result. You can give one task to different video makers, and all of them will produce completely different results. The film industry is a very competitive area, and being a videographer requires not only ambition but professional skills, powerful film making tools, and natural creativity as well.
Basic Videographer Techniques Every Filmmaker Should Know
Even if you are a beginner in this niche, some videography basics can be useful in different situations. No matter whether you are shooting a high-end production or recording a vlog, these videography tips will help you achieve the best possible result. So get comfortable and have a look!
Keep the frame moving
The frame is the Holy Grail of one’s video shooting technique. It doesn’t matter whether you want to move certain items within the frame or you want to animate the whole frame: your main goal is to keep things visually engaging. To achieve that, you need to choose a proper way to get the camera moving. Try a few common methods, such as a jib, dolly, or steadicam.
Point of view scene
This technique is also known as a first-person shot or point of view shot. It is a short film scene that demonstrates what the character is searching for. It is usually positioned between a shot of the character looking at something and a shot that shows the character’s reaction.
To achieve a more engaging effect, this shot can be taken over the shoulder of the person who is also visible on the screen. Sometimes, videographers make it shared between two characters.
Videographers also call this technique as oblique angle or Dutch tilt. It is a type of shot when the camera is set at the angle of the roll axis. As a result, the shot will be composed with vertical lines at a definite angle. In other words, the horizon line is not parallel with the camera frame bottom. In the world of cinematography, this technique is usually applied to demonstrate psychological uneasiness, tension, or disorientation of a character.
Dialogue in motion
When it comes to efficient videoing tips, we simply can’t omit the importance of dialogue scenes. A dialog is a crucially important part of absolutely any movie. It’s a necessary aspect of storytelling. So you need to make it interesting and engaging. If the static surroundings are not that important, you can create a dialog between the main characters on the move.
This technique allows you to create a more engaging scene. Moreover, this form of dialogue will be more appreciated by the audience because the background is dynamic. A good example of where a videographer uses this technique is American Beauty. The main character frequently talks to friends in motion.
Look through the frame
It is of prime importance for a videographer to look through the frame. It doesn’t matter what camera you use: the frame is what your audience will see. So your goal is to properly picture what is going on in it. Think of the future scene in terms of the frame and avoid using too many elements in one frame. In doing so, you’ll become a better videographer.
Remember that lines shouldn’t repeat what the audience can see on the screen. So if you want to use offscreen voice, you need to tell something interesting, maybe some facts that remained offscreen. The best example where this technique is used is a well-known movie Gone with the Wind.
The reasons to use a black-and-white shot can be various. Sometimes, it helps focus the attention of the audience on some particular things, or it can imitate classic, old movies adding up those dramatic vibes.
Other times, it is just the director’s preference. Simply put, it is a superb trick that is used to emphasize elements on the screen. The best examples where this technique is used are films Zelig and Mishima. This technique draws the attention of the audience and makes the scene more dynamic.
There are some cases when you can’t do without zoom, for example, sports events. In this case, a videographer needs to follow the action, and it’s impossible to do without zooming.
Most Common Mistakes in Videography
Getting started with making videos can be a complicated and time-consuming process. However, the internet is overloaded with fascinating workshops and educative videos that allow you to improve your skills and find out how to shoot professional video. A professional videography guide can help improve your skills. But even if you have already mastered production, there are lots more things to learn.
For example, there are some common mistakes every videographer makes at some point. All of them can easily be avoided. Here’s a list of them, and remember: forewarned is forearmed.
Overdoing it with 'shaking camera'
A high-quality image is not shaky. You can definitely improve the video quality at the post-production stage, but it can’t fix everything. So investing in stabilization gear will be the right decision. Tripods or monopods will definitely improve the image quality.
Too many elements in one frame
When talking about composition, this is a common mistake of beginner videographers. Just picture the situation - you want to capture a woman crossing the street. A simple task, right? But check the result, and in all likelihood, you’ll see that this image is overloaded with extra elements.
These may be the camera crew in the corner or a passerby, a running dog or lots of plastic bags. These won’t allow the audience to focus on the main subject - that is, a woman crossing the street.
To avoid this mistake, you should make your frame as concise as possible. Otherwise, the composition won’t be balanced.
Transferring techniques from photo shooting to filming
It is really hard to solve this problem because a lot depends on the person who is making the video. If the person doesn’t understand the difference between photo and video, they simply can’t produce high-quality videos.
Combining too many styles and techniques
Sometimes, videographers combine a few different styles to create high-impact content. However, it is not always effective. You know that a well-made show usually consists of a few styles and techniques. Even where parts of videos have been made independently by different videographers, they must interact with each other to create a smooth-flowing continuous effect. You can combine a few styles and film techniques but don’t overdo it.
Best Cinematographers for Inspiration and Mastering Videography Skills
Those who only start their careers as filmmakers should learn from experts in this niche. They know better than anyone how to film a video and what video shooting techniques work best of all. We’ve done some comprehensive research for you to know whose videos you need to study.
Five nominations in the Best Cinematography category are self-explanatory. The artistry of this videographer is highly appreciated by the audience. He has become famous for unedited “extended takes” with shots that last for 12 minutes. In videos, he mostly uses natural and diffused lighting and likes using angle lenses. He is regarded as a guru in this niche because his video shooting tips and tricks are followed by hundreds of beginning videographers.
The most famous films of this talented videographer are Skyfall, Prisoners, and Blade Runner 2049. In his videos, he uses subtle camerawork, fearless color palettes, and natural light.
Professional videographers also call this artist “the silver fox.” He has many years of experience under his belt and is always glad to share his videography techniques with newbies. He has managed to improve many films with his high-back-light signature. The main distinctive feature of this videographer is that he usually molds the light for the entire frame. Moreover, he never looks for lighting motivation, but mostly relies on his experience.
This Polish videographer has a talent for visualizing key historical events. He frequently works together with Steven Spielberg. You can see his talent in Saving Private Ryan, Munich, War Horse, and Lincoln. His visual style is using different diffusion filters to create a blooming light effect.
Being a popular Korean cinematographer, Chung-hoon Chung is a true expert in video making. His most famous work is Old Boy, which was released in 2003. The film received the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. The professional prefers varying styles and techniques in different projects. However, he mostly favors natural-flavored colors and textures.
Becoming a professional and highly-demanded videographer is not difficult. However, if you don’t want to immerse yourself in studying new styles and techniques, or are unwilling to use filming tips by experts in this niche, you won’t achieve success. Learning new techniques will help you build a good career as a videographer.