Goal: make sure your camera can clearly capture what you want the viewer to see.
Frame your subject. Think about the composition of your shots. Think about what you are trying to convey in your video project, and who your audience might be. Ask yourself:
Observe the rule of thirds: make two imaginary horizontal and vertical intersecting lines in a grid pattern and place it over your composition. The focus of your shots should be where the two lines intersect. When shooting scenes with vertical or horizontal lines (such as a landscape), try to line up your shots with the vertical and horizontal lines as guidelines. Try not to place your subject directly in the middle of the frame. The rule of thirds (and other compositional guidelines) are not hard and fast rules, however. Use your best judgment in framing your subject to achieve your desired effect.
Try to get a variety of shot types. Wide shots are more informational in character, while shots become more intense and convey more emotion the closer in you get. MediaCollege.com and Vimeo Video School offer an informative overview of shot types.
Extreme Wide Shot Wide Shot Medium Shot
Medium Close Up Close Up Extreme Close Up
Photo Credit: MediaCollege.com
Use a tripod. Even if you think you have steady hands, try to use a tripod. Otherwise, your shots may not turn out as steady as you think. If you do not have a tripod at hand, try to put the camera on something stationary, such as a table.
Use "handles." Record an extra 3 to 5 seconds at the beginning and end of your shots. These “handles” can be very helpful when it comes time to edit.
“Man the camera.” Use tilts (moving the camera up and down), pans (moving the camera side to side), and zooms (moving the lens backward and forward) to make a shot more interesting. Camera and lens movements should be done slowly (you can always speed up your shots while editing your video). Remember to include ample stationary footage as well so that you have a variety of options to choose from. Shoot from multiple angles and think about the sequence and effect you are trying to portray.
It's often said that the best camera is the one that's with you, and chances are, you might end up using your mobile device to capture video footage. Check out Vimeo Video School's Mastering Mobile Video series, including this episode on Best Practices.
Additionally, here are some tips to make sure you get the shots you want:
If you do find yourself leaning towards Mobile Production, the Student Multimedia Design Center has a couple of items you might be interested in loaning: