Videography 101 – part 1

Hi everyone and welcome to my Video Production Tips & Tricks for Beginners Blog.

We live in an era of exciting and new technology in which consumer grade photographic and video equipment are capable of producing high quality images and video at an affordable price. That’s the sales pitch that you get at major electronics retail stores: “great affordable equipment”. However, great equipment doesn’t even win half of the battle if you don’t understand how it works or how to use it.

It is a common and misguided notion that photography and video are “easy”. Many assume that the ability to aim a camera at something or someone, frame the subject then get it into focus and press a shutter/record button makes them a Photographer or Videographer.

Sure it looks easy and like loads of fun, but becoming professionals in our fields takes many years of education, learning and understanding of the technical and creative side of our respective crafts. This is very often taken for granted by the general public.

Having said that, a person not looking to make a living at photography & video is not likely to invest in years of education and training in the field. This however does not mean that they are sentenced to produce lousy home films. A little knowledge can make a night and day difference in the most amateur home films and render some very satisfying results that friends and family will enjoy and praise!

As a videographer and editor with over 10 years of experience in film and video, I’ve seen my share of horrible shots. Fortunately, that has not been the norm in the professional world but I cannot say the same for home movies. So then the question arises: What makes one shot good and another bad? It’s not always as obvious as some might think and we will analyze that.

So, I have to ask: how well can you use your video camera?

Video cameras are all the same in terms of how they work. They do vary in quality and all the “bells and whistles”.  There are cameras that have specific uses such as for TV, security, endoscopes, etc. and then there is the “Camcorder”: a flexible video camera that has many uses yet is compact enough to allow one to do some pretty cool things. Things that we can’t do with a broadcast camera.

Next there is technique, the do’s and don’ts of shooting film. Yes, there are rules and they are there to be broken, but not without understanding WHY. This is very important.

I am going to take you through a journey through two landscapes of film-making: The Technical and The Creative. Although they are very different in nature and some may argue that each occupies an opposite hemisphere of the brain, one cannot work successfully without the other.

It is my hope that these posts help the novice home film-maker to better understand their equipment and learn a little bit of technique that is not only useful, but fun!

For my next post, I will visit the camera and some of those mysterious buttons and what they do,  then I will touch a little on technique.

I will leave you with a quote from Mr. Robert Altman: “Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes”…