Ready, Set, Shoot

I have to say that I really enjoyed chapter 8 of Journalism Next. I mean to be completely honest everything mentioned in chapter 8 I had to learn the hard way when I purchased my canon 60D last year. In the chapter Briggs talks about being overwhelmed when first shooting video and boy was I ever. The problem with finally buying your dream camera is the new found freedom to shoot any and everything. The camera had so many options and functions that I literally took the whole day reading the manual.

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I remember my very first shoot. I went to Piedmont park with my new 60D, I had my monopod foolishly swinging it around like it was a rig. I was moving the camera constantly. I was zooming constantly. I just didn’t know what I was doing. That evening when I got home I uploaded all my clips into imovie and began to edit. I quickly realized that most of the clips were unusable. The problem was the clips just felt nauseating. It was too much movement, my eyes didn’t have time to adjust and concentrate on the points of interest. I later noticed that all the static clips I took just felt aesthetically better. I eventually was able to put together a small video from that shoot, but I didn’t like the result. I had learned an very important lesson that day. I didn’t have to move the camera unless I was tracking a subject. I got better result when I composed a shot, set the camera on the tripod, and let the action unfold. It’s funny because this is some of the first advice Briggs gave in chapter 8. Later in the year I did another video where I used what I learned from the first shoot and got better results.

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I like the fact the Briggs mentioned that the only way to get better was to practice. You really have to allow yourself the chance to make mistakes. Every mistake I have made when filming I learned from it and was able to get better results. Another point Briggs made in this chapter that struck me was when he mentioned getting 5 angles to shoot to help the edit. This is something I’m just learning and it’s so true. I tried my hand at creating music videos, but I haven’t quite gotten the results that I wanted. What I’ve learned is that I wasn’t getting enough angles of each verse to make the video flow like a song. I would get maybe two angles and I would be stuck in post using B-roll to bail me out.

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Also exposure and audio is key. You can have a superb video with horrible audio and lose your audience. In my case I need an external mic to get better audio since the on camera mic is total crap. I haven’t even dared to do a interview because of this. At the end of the day the camera is a tool. It doesn’t matter how much it cost, how big it is, or how many lens you have it’s all about the fundamentals. A person can use a iphone and make a better news package than a person using a Red Epic if they know the basics.

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