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Making Proper Camera Moves

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If you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cool studio gear, you can still make smooth, cool-looking camera moves if you know what you’re doing.

Start Slow

The first tip is slow down. You don’t want to give your audience motion sickness. Move the camera somewhat slower than you would turn your head if you were in a brace.

Avoid jerky movements. Think smooooooth.

Panning & Titlting

Make sure you have positioned your external LCD screen in such a way that you can easily see it, even if you’re a foot or two behind your camera.

Practice the move before you can make it. Twist your body in a pan and when tilting, try to make sure you move in a straight line.

Home Made Dolly

Does your kid have a wagon? All you need is a piece of plywood, the wagon and a small tripod and you can set up your own dolly moves. Just be sure to start and end carefully and slowly to make sure your camera doesn’t fall over.


Speaking of tripods, buy the most expensive tripod you can afford. A good fluid head will greatly aid your ability to make good camera moves.


Written by scottbourne

November 20, 2008 at 2:09 pm

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Outdoor Shooting Tips

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Photo by Scott Bourne

Photo by Scott Bourne

I spend a great deal of time in nature making photographs. About 10 years ago I also started bringing a video camera with me so I could capture moving pictures of the places I spent photographing. Here are some tips I came up with to improve your outdoor nature videos.

a. Plan and Scout

It’s always best to know a bit about the location in advance. What time of day is the light most pleasing? What angle will the Sun be at relative to your subject? What’s the weather supposed to be like?

If you are prepared in advance, you increase your chances of success.

b. Gear up

Make sure you bring a tripod. MTV-style bob and weave, handheld camera work is not appropriate in outdoor or nature videography. Also, be sure to bring a wide angle and/or telephoto extension for your video camera lens. Sometimes, these will greatly enhance your shots. Bring lots of tape or flash cards. Extra batteries are also a good idea on any shoot. Don’t forget audio. If you don’t have a way to bring external audio into your camera with a good microphone, then invest in a high quality handheld digital audio recorder to capture sound. Bring a windscreen for your mic to handle wind noise. Lastly, protect your gear and yourself. Dress in layers and bring rain gear for yourself. Also, get good cases and weather protection. Since you can’t always predict the weather, rain covers are always a good thing to bring along.

c. Composition & Framing

Make sure to learn and use the rule of thirds, i.e., don’t put your subject dead center of every shot. Instead, use the intersecting lines that resemble a tic-tac-toe grid to position your subject. Also allow room for moving subjects to get out of the frame. This is called framing for movement. If you’re photographing a horse running left-to-right across a field, be sure to leave plenty of room on the right side of the view finder for the horse to run that way, otherwise they’ll look like they’re moving out of camera range.

d. Technique

Capture your footage in short bursts. Get lots of different angles so you have more to work with during edit.

Watch for strongly backlit subjects and constantly check your footage to make sure you got what you wanted to shoot. It’s a lot more work to go back a second time than it is to get it on the first trip.

Written by scottbourne

November 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm

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