If you’re about to have an existential crisis because your videos have a slightly homemade aesthetic to them even though you’ve been working hard trying to become a better filmmaker, don’t worry. A possible lack of talent is not the issue. Rather, it might be that you’re making one of these mistakes. In videography, not everything is easy. Even the pros make mistakes sometimes. But the good news is that making mistakes is a surefire way of learning your way around the camera. Here’s what you need to be paying attention to:
Not Being Careful with the Composition
This is to say your subject has a traffic light coming out of their ears, or there’s elements in the background that shouldn’t really be there, people eating in the background, trash peeking from just outside the frame. The point is, you have not composed the scene and there are lots of different things going on, distracting the viewer from what should be the point of focus.
With time, your eye should be trained enough for you to take a look at a shot and immediately know what should be left out. But if you’re starting out, it might not be that easy. Before shooting, spare a glance at what you have in the frame and see if it needs any decluttering. It really makes all the difference.
Not Studying Natural Light
Natural lighting at 5 in the afternoon can make any subject like a beautiful, glowing, ethereal elf. At noon? More like a hollowed out skull. It’s not the subject’s fault either, it’s just way light works while reflecting on a human face from different positions.
Harsh lights from directly above will cast shadows on eye sockets and hard lines on the rest of the face. This is something every videographer should be aware of before scheduling an outdoors scene. Make sure you’ve studied the kind of light you’ll be using before getting to work. Observe the way rainy days change the colours on the streets, and the different shadows the sun makes on people’s faces throughout the day.
Or the Artificial Lighting
Likewise, study indoor lighting. You should know that fluorescent lighting is universally unflattering and results in a greenish tint on most people’s skins. Know this will allow you to colour correct before it’s too late. Remember that is easier to use a coloured gel, or rent the right lights, than it is trying to completely change the colour of a scene in post-production.
Failing to Plan Before Shooting
Whatever you do, make a storyboard. This will make your life, and the life of any potential editor you work with, a lot easier. Besides, it will ensure that you get all of the scenes necessary to tell the story you want and set up the right angles for any potential graphics that you want to add later on. Few things are worse than deciding last minute that you’d like to include text on a scene that just has no space for it at all. If you haven’t been satisfied with the results of your shootings, just make this little chance and plan ahead. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.