Technical tips

Recording a video is becoming easier all the time and many digital photo cameras have a function to record videos in high enough resolution for the internet. The following technical tips will help make the video better without having to invest in expensive professional equipment:

  • Don’t move the camera. People will move in front of the camera, you don’t need to follow them.
    Don’t use the zoom. Digital cameras do not have a very good zoom. If you are far away from a person, move towards them instead. Be as close as possible to the interviewee or the object you want to film. Film only the head of the interviewee. Digital filming is a bit blurry. The nearer you are the sharper the image.

  • Use the automatic feature of the camera. The automatic option is mostly very good. If you have a choice, record in 16:9 perspective, using .mov format.
  • An external microphone is not necessary when you are near to the interviewee. Only use an external microphone if you are interviewing two people or more. Test the sound, especially if you are using an external microphone. Record yourself and play it back to check. If you have headphones use them to monitor the audio during filming.
  • Hold the camera with two hands. Digital cameras are very sensitive to small movements of the camera and everybody trembles naturally. Pressing your elbows into your stomach will make your own tripod. If you have a tripod set it up before the interview and make sure that it is steady.
  • Do not film against the light. The face of the interviewee will become dark or black. If there is time take the interviewee around to find the ideal place to film.
  • If you are using a digital camera with tape make sure your batteries are charged and within reach, and that you have at least one empty tape. Make sure that you have a lens paper available to clean your lens.
  • The length of the video should ideally be between 1 and 3 minutes. It is difficult to convince people in less than one minute. It will be difficult for the viewer to concentrate for any longer than seven minutes. If you want the videos to be spread “virally”, shorter is generally better.

Before you start filming it’s a good idea to:

  • make sure your batteries are charged and within reach.
  • make sure that you have at least one extra empty tape.
  • make sure that you have a lens paper available to clean your lens. Check the lens before each interview and if it is dirty clean it.
  • to test the sound, especially if you are using an external microphone. Record yourself and play it back to check.
  • make sure that your tripod set is steady, if you’re using one.
  • use the headphones if you have them, to monitor the audio during filming.

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