Shooting Better Videos

The best way to become a better videographer is to carefully look at your footage when you are done.

That’s the advice of videographer John Romeo. “It’s how you know what works and what doesn’t.”

John Romeo provides an overview about video storytelling.

John Romeo provides an overview about video storytelling. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

When you create a video, he say, you are trying to capture the spirit of the event or place.”

“Think of it like a moving photo album,” he says. If you are videotaping a meeting, for example, you would videotape not only the people meeting, but the snacks, the flip charts and anything else that might be relevant.

Video gives you motion and time whereas with a photograph you only get a snapshot. John recommends, for example, slowly moving across the flip charts that have been hung on the wall, giving the viewer time to see them.

It’s also important when you create a video to record for a few seconds before fully engaging in the scene. This provides the time needed to blend footage together.

He also recommends shooting an establishing shot, which provides context to the viewer. “It’s a welcome shot,” he said.

The same is true of a closing shot, which is a final pull-away from the scene. “How do you want to end the video,” he asked.

A common mistake of those new to videography is trying to shoot everything. The audience needs to be told what to look at so start by establishing the scene and then focusing in one thing just as your eyes would do.

The two ways to zoom in are by using the camera lens or by physically moving closer to the object on which you want the viewer to focus.

When shooting, John recommends shooting with perspective. “You can get low, you can get high,” he said. “It gives a different shape to things.”

If you get down at the level of participants gathered around a table, it will look as if you are at the table. Getting low is especially helpful when videotaping children because you see life as they do.

By changing the perspective, you make for a much more interesting shot. “We’re so used to seeing at eye level,” he said.

If you are interviewing someone, he recommends scheduling plenty of time with the person you are interviewing. This prevents the person from feeling rushed. It’s also important to have the person answer in a complete sentence because the audience won’t necessarily hear the question.

Microphones are good, but he discourages placing them directly on a table because the sound will bounce. Instead place the microphone on something soft.