Friday, January 14, 2011

Hints and Tips for Shooting Video

Alexandra here. The QR code project is chugging along nicely. A huge relief was hearing word that the project has been extended until the end of March, which means we can breathe a little easier, even when Windows Movie Maker crashes for the umpteenth time

Speaking of Windows Movie Maker, one of the nice things about this project is the insight is has given us into the “dos” and “don’ts” of amateur videography. YouTube channels are a great way to reach out to potential visitors who can’t make it your site, or to offer additional content. Here are some things about shooting video we have learned the hard way, so you don’t have to:

Know your equipment

Some of the first video we shot was done using my iPhone. While the quality is great, at the time I didn’t realize that I was shooting the wrong way! As a result, all of the video we got from that day is sideways, and turning it is a real pain. The lesson to take away from this? Before you’re planning on recording anything, take a few test shots with your camera and upload them to your computer. Spend time familiarizing yourself with how everything works: how to record, stop, playback, and how long your camera will let you record for. Then, when you’re shooting for real, you won’t risk making small errors that will cost you lots of time later on.

Be Consistent

It’s a lot easier to learn how to deal with just one set of equipment, file formats and software than to have to deal in multiples. Find one camera and stick with it.

Test Before You Delete

This might seem obvious, but keeping it in mind can save you major headaches down the road. Never delete anything off of your camera without making sure it’s properly uploaded to your computer! Video files are big and prone to file corruption when you’re moving them from your card to your desktop. Use the software that came with the camera, or if you’re directly moving things from the SD card or other media, be sure to copy and paste rather than drag and drop. Then, watch the file all the way through to make sure that both the audio and video have transferred properly. If not, play back the file in your camera to make sure it’s not a problem with the video itself, and then try again.

Back Up Your Files

It’s much easier to burn a CD or DVD than it is to try and recover something that’s been deleted, and you never know when you’ll want to revisit something that you shot previously. This is especially true for things like oral history interviews, which become a part of your collection.

Bring Extra Everything

Make sure you have extra batteries and memory cards, and that your batteries are fully charged and your cards are empty BEFORE you start to shoot. Nothing is worse than a camera going dead right in the middle of something exciting—like a snake finally eating a salamander after many minutes of coaxing (sigh).

Hopefully these tips prove helpful, and happy shooting!


J Goreham-Penney said...

Great tips. I've learned the hard way shooting videos at home what a pain it is to hold your camera the wrong way while filming.

The thing about social media I struggle the most with at work is how to regularly deliver content of a consistent quality to our youtube channel. I'd love to see more tips on digital video here at the Passage Museums Nova Scotia blog.

Karin said...

Hi J,
Thanks for your suggestion! We've just begun drafting our QR code how-to guide, so will be sure to post excerpts in the blog. If you have anything else you'd like to hear about, just let me know.