Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Date:10 November 2017 Tags:, , , ,

In this video series we take a closer look at the gear, techniques and insight you need to consume and create the best videos on the Internet. We speak with some of the world’s top video experts about what they’re filming, how they shoot video and what their pro strategies are.

These interview are part of our VIDEO series, proudly brought to you in association with Canon.

What you’re filming

Anything that focuses on you

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: Natalie Alzate, beauty vlogger, 4 million YouTube subscribers
Strategy: Setting the camera above you does make you look thinner. But for YouTube, you’re more connected with your audience when the camera is at eye level.
Natural lighting is best, but that requires you to rely on the weather. I have two circle Diva Ring Light Nebulas on my left and my right, and an umbrella light right above me. It makes a huge difference.
You have three seconds to convince someone to click on a video. Pick the right still. Also, shrink your thumbnail down to the size it would be on a phone and ask: will people be able to read that? A font called Bebas is best.

What you’re filming

Stunts

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: Devin Supertramp, adventurer, 4.6 million subscribers.
Strategy: Avoid fish-eye lenses. When you have access to amazing locations, you want to show off the place, and fish-eye distorts the image. Use a wide-angle instead.
Have an intro in mind. I ask myself: how is this video gonna grab people’s attention? In our rope-swing video, we had an archer fake-shoot a rope across the canyon, hook it to the rock, then jump off. That starts the story.
The idea is to make it feel like you’re right there, but a lot of action sports and wildlife need to be shot from afar. Use a super-zoom lens to get up close.
Get the insurance. We’re cautious and want our equipment to last, but if we’re not putting it right in the action, we’re not getting the shots that
people love.

What you’re filming

DIY

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: Steve Ramsey, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, 800 000 subscribers
Strategy: Keep the focus very specific: how to make a box-joint jig, for example. You could certainly show every detail of how you made a big project, but keeping it short enough to get people to watch is another story.
For a big project, put the dimensions of the boards in the detailed plans and put those plans in the video’s description. This allows you to show only the key moments that are unique to that particular project and keep those shots down to just a couple of seconds.
Script any video that needs to be accurate. That’s important for me when I’m talking about something like table-saw safety. Don’t add too much production. I try to colour-correct as best as I can, but if it’s off, that’s okay. I just use the camera mic and leave the room sound, so it’s more like you’re in the garage with me. You can vary the camera angles, but it’s more important to be sure you show the steps clearly.

What you’re filming

Sport

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: Craig Woloshin, cameraman, NBC’s Sunday Night Football
Strategy: For sport with action moving left to right or right to left, set up as close to the halfway line as possible. With only one camera, you want to be able to cover the whole field, and from there, you can see everything.
For sport without a dividing line, such as baseball, create one. Position yourself behind home plate, in line with the pitcher’s mound and second base. You can get good footage regardless of where things happen.
During action, focus on where things are happening. Use the breaks between plays to zoom in on your child. That way, you don’t miss anything and still get shots of the people you want to see. If you can, climb up the grandstand. Height helps you get as unobstructed a view of the entire field as possible.

What you’re filming

Driving

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts
Expert: Ben Joiner, director of photography, Top Gear and The Grand Tour
Strategy: If you’ve got only one camera, don’t just mount it in one place. Be strategic. Think, Lap one, a forward-facing shot. Lap two, facing the driver. Lap three, looking down the side of the car. Lap four, get a friend to jump in and do handheld shots. You come away with a selection that can create a narrative arc.
With larger cameras, use multiple anchor points. Buy a hotshoe mount for the top of the camera, along with the bottom mount. That will make your shots much more stable, so you get less jelly-like effects.
Dedicate a bit of your day to recording sound.
When you’re shooting from the inside of a hairpin bend, study the first pass. If the wheels lift or the tyres smoke, jump up to 120 frames per second to get slow-mo of that detail. Next take, use a wide-angle lens and get the camera down low, close to the car. This will accentuate the turn.
In your edit, you can start with a wide shot that shows the whole scene, punch in tight to the tyre tearing itself to pieces, smoke pouring off. Then, as it exits the corner, cut back to further up the road. Those shots tell the story of that corner, and what it’s like to be near those cars.

What you’re filming

Snapchat Stories

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts
Expert: Sallia Goldstein, Snapchatter with 30 000 views per story
Strategy: Plan what you’re going to shoot. When I’m showing something like a science experiment, I usually run through it once to make sure it works.
Get a tripod.
You can use a dry-erase marker on your phone, literally on the phone screen. I do a lot of stop-motion, and it’s really hard to make sure your face is in the same position or the object is in the same position as it was last time. So I’ll draw an outline of my face or the object with a dry-erase marker so I’ll be able to take the same picture again.
Good lighting is so important. Dark, blurry snaps are so awful. Grab yourself a torch.

What you’re filming

Product reviews

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: That guy from the first page, Marques Brownlee, who has 4,8 million YouTube subscribers
Strategy: A lot of devices, like smartphones, have reflective screens. To block reflections, find the window or light behind you that’s causing it. Take literally anything and block it.
If you’re reviewing tech with a display, don’t set its screen brightness too high, because that will be overexposed relative to the environment, or too low, which can cause a shuttering effect when filming. Look at the camera lens like you’re talking to a person. And look away sometimes. It seems robotic when a person’s eyes never leave the camera.
A review video is a purchase-decision tool. You have to go over all the nitty-gritty details of owning the thing, of the pros and cons. It’s not a review if it’s just a showcase of something’s specs and price, or beauty shots.
Be decisive about where you want light. That’s ultimately what video is, capturing moving light. Think,
I want to light this behind me, but not have it spill over to this other thing, so I’ll block that light from this camera over here. It helps a lot. When I was reviewing a TV, I had to change the lights every time I moved the camera, but that attention to detail makes your videos different.

What you’re filming

Anything live

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Expert: Rob Perez, host of the Periscope TV show Buckets
Strategy: Bring as many backup batteries as you can, scout the Wi-Fi connections before you start and make sure your phone doesn’t overheat. (Take off the case or turn down the brightness.)
Interact with your viewers and commenters. I started with 30 to 50 total people and comments once every two to three seconds. Now I’m getting 15 comments every half a second. If a viewer writes something, I’m going to see it and I’m going to react to it. It’s the hardest part of what we do, but it’s also what people appreciate most.

What you’re filming

Babies

Filming for online: how to shoot video like the experts

Strategy:Point your camera at the kid and record. Resist the urge to show to anyone who’s not related.