- Most video display spaces are horizontal, so consider shooting video horizontally.
- Anticipate action and have your camera in place.
- Resist the urge to follow the action. Instead, let it enter and exit your frame like a water hose watering the lawn. Sometimes following action is effective, but it should not be used for every shot.
- Take long shots, medium shots and close-up shots. Also photograph from various angles of view.
- When possible, use a tripod (or other support) with video — especially for interviews — and in low lighting for still shots. Tripods come in all sizes, including small models that fit inside a backpack.
- If you don’t have a tripod, stabilize your camera against your body, tie it to a tree branch or mount it on your backpack strap. Some hiking poles even have a camera attachment on top.
- Check the Boys’ Life guide to making an easy camera-phone stabilizer out of wood at go.boyslife.org/phonestabilizer.
- When recording sound, hold the mic one or two fist-widths away from the subject when interviewing.
- Beware of ambient noise (air conditioner, cars passing, etc.) that could potentially ruin a good recording. Find a quieter location or turn things off.
- Record at least 10 seconds of natural sounds (fire crackling, Scouts playing, etc.) for every story. Loop the sound to fill any blank space in your soundtrack.
- If it’s windy, change your location or shield your mic with a windscreen made of foam or artificial fur.
- Always use headphones or ear buds to hear sound clearly while recording.
- When using a recorder, place your fingers firmly on the sides to avoid noise introduced by your fingers rubbing on the case.
For more tips, visit this webpage by Jim Brown (shown above), dean of the BSA’s Visual Storytelling Workshops and professor at Indiana University School of Journalism.
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