Training Module – Filming Technique
The purpose of this module is to raise the understanding of video production and emphasise the level to which we should strive to output video to clients. During this module we shall look at the production process; that’s pre production, production and post production. You will go away with an understanding of the importance of planning your video. You will learn good filming technique and also good post production practice.
Pre Production – Preparation
Callsheet (Download to come)
A simple one but often overlooked. A call sheet provides all involveds contact details, responsibilies, location details and anything else you may wish to include in order to keep everyone on the same page and the production running smoothly.
Storyboard (Advanced Storyboard (1314))
Often there will not just be you working on a shoot, in order to convey the image you intend to shoot, it is important to scetch is and make any notes to put this across.
Script / Interview technique
Interview technique for camera differs slightly from that which you may be used to.
• Coerce the subject to say what you want them to say but in their own words.
• Ask a question in a way that encourages them to repeat the question back in their sentence.
- Yes, I enjoyed it, it was really tasty! (makes no sense without the question)
- I enjoyed the cake, it was really tasty! (makes sense on its own)
• Try and get into the habit of nodding or using facial gestures to encourage the interviewee rather than verbally agreeing
Release Forms (Sample Release Form (363))
Permission from the respondent or subject to release their image to you, the production or the company.
Timecodes and striping tapes
Logging, Viewing, Capturing, Batch Capture, Editing, DV to VHS Transfer, Camera to DVD Transfer
Post production paperwork
The onboard microphone is not sufficient in most situations to record good clean sound. The mic picks up the wirring of the tape and also any wind blowing across the tiny holes that cover it. We need to develop an understanding of the options and there usage.
There are two main types of microphone, cardenoid and directional. Examples of each are a lapel mic (cardenoid) often seen on a news reader or interviewee or a shotgun mic (directional) as you would see being carried by a film crew.
No matter how you obtain the sound it is essential you monitor it during recording using headphones. It would be very costly to return to the edit suite with an image and no sound.
Where would we use each?
Lapel / Radio Mic – This microphone is best suited to the planned interview or studio interview. It will pick up sound from within a close vicinity and cut out background noise. It provides a clear sound and resonance of the chest. It’s harder to use the radio mic on location without a power source unless you have a professional sound setup.
Things to look out for
• Microphone can often rub on clothing or a moving subject. Don’t be afraid to hold up proceedings to make sure you have the sound set up correctly.
• Untidy wireing. Sometimes your subject may not have appropriate clothing and it may be hard to conceal the mic and transitter.
• Remember the foam cover is meant for windy conditions, you will not need it indoors, it will, if anything create rubbing issues.
Shotgun / Directional Mic
The shotgun microphone can be used onboard the camera or on a boom pole. Best for on location and spontaneous shoots. As it is a directional mic the onboard camera can pick up sound directly in front of the camera and cuts out most sound left, right, up and down. The boom mic requires a specific sound person or appropriate stand. This microphone is extremely accurate as you can get up close to the subject and the directional properties reduce background noise.
Things to look out for
• Keep a close eye on the camera operator, as a boom mic can often appear in shot.
• An onboard boom mic will still pick up camera noise and remember you are close to the mic, although it is directional it will pick you up to some extent.
• Be aware of surrounding noise. If a dog barks, phone rings or siren goes off, don’t be afraid to stop the recording and inform the interviewer the sound is not useable.
Shotgun microphone – for impromptu Vox Pops and sound recordings, also in situations where there is a considerable amount of surrounding noise.
Sound Recording Checklist (385)
Lapel and transmittable microphones – Studio recordings, planned location shoots. Benefits from clear sound from the resonance off the chest but also pics up close surrounding noise (not noise at a distance)
The microphone plugs we use are 3.5mm (1/8″) “Mini” and XLR; both have a male and female (socket and plug) connections. In short the XLR connection carries the best signal and is considered professional standard, also benefits of the XLR connections are that they lock into place leaving less room for error or tripping in a working environment. Even with the a quality, expensive microphone, poor quality cables and recording Device will produce poor sound.
Rule of thirds
The rule of thirds refers to the composition of the image on the screen.
By dividing the screen up into thirds (see figure 1) it provides guides to compose your shot
Filming for interview requires the cameraman to think about the eye line and looking space.
mis en scene
Mis En Scene- literally “placing on stage” refers to arrangement of all the visual elements
Choice of Lighting
“Texture and Colors”
Use of Space
“Interiors” Used to Convey Meaning
The importance of a tripod should not be underestimated. It adds an instant professional look to the video. As a rule you should not start shooting handheld until you have understood and mastered filming with a tripod. Three types of tripod are shown below the key differences between tripods will be stability, levels, fastening and controls. Where you might utilize each depends on the type of filming, I base my decisions based on compact and portable or fixed and precision shoots Also it is important to keep the equipment clean and check the clips regularly.
3 Point lighting system, key, fill and backlight.
Safety, handling with gloves, flagging and gels, wooden pegs.
This is the main light. It is usually the strongest and has the most influence on the look of the scene. It is placed to one side of the camera/subject so that this side is well lit and the other side has some shadow.
This is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The fill will usually be softer and less bright than the key. To acheive this, you could move the light further away or use some spun. You might also want to set the fill light to more of a flood than the key.
The back light is placed behind the subject and lights it from the rear. Rather than providing direct lighting (like the key and fill), its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject’s outlines. This helps separate the subject from the background and provide a three-dimensional look.
Show both cameras and explain the benefits for each. Talk about different capture formats and the benefits and intensions for each. DV, HDD, DVD explain the difference between HD and HDD (not to be confused)
I have documented the camera setting I used during most shoots
Sony Camera Settings (Download)
JVC Everio Camera Settings (Coming Soon)
Questions to ask yourself before you shoot,
Is your subject positioned correctly within the frame?
Framing – Rule of Thirds
Framing – Looking space
Where’s the sun?
Where is the sun or where is the light source? Possibly one of the most important questions, as a silhouetted image is extremely hard to correct in the edit, so it is important to think about this at the point of filming. As a rule, make sure the light source is behind you (the camera person) and not your subject. This will ensure the subject is well lit and all features are visible.
- Top Tip, you should attempt to correct a poor image by adjusting the camera and light source before fiddling with camera settings.
Does the white look white?
Cameras know what all the colors in the spectrum should look like based on its perception of white and white changes in different light. Most cameras have an auto white balance but you should familiarise yourself with adjusting the white balance. Hold a piece of paper in front of the camera with the main light source reflecting of the paper. Adjust the camera setting until the white looks white and all other colors should now look correct.
Is there any background noise?
Sound – Always check for background noise
Sound – Use headphone to check the sound that is actually being recorded
What is in the background?
Often paying a lot of attention to your subject we often forget about the background. Be sure there is no annoyances in the shot. If you are telling a stroy or filming particular respondents, try constructing your backgrounf to reinforce the story or message.
Can I see the subject clearly?
Be sure that your subject is in focus and make sure nothing is likely to obscure them during filming.
• Always Monitor the video through the view finder or LCD especially when lighting is affected by the environment
• Do not adjust the camera mid sentence – try and get used to adjusting (if necessary during a pause)
• Avoid moving around during the shoot, this will reduce the risk of unwanted sound, getting into shot and camera shake as floors often have movement in them.
Exercise (Set up a shoot)
Exercise One You have been allocated a room and have 20 interviews to conduct. Each respondent will be arriving in 15 minute intervals and the interviews will last between 10 and 15 minutes each. Discuss amongst yourselves and choose the best selection of equipment for this scenario and have a go at setting it up.
Exercise Two It’s a bright sunny day, you are out in a busy location and will be filming short vox pops, you cannot expect the respondents to come to you so need to been portable and quick to respond to a agreement to be interviewed.