Tips for filming videos

Camera and screen on location at Longreach, Australia’s outback.

How to make a great video — with today’s great camera technology

We’re in exciting times with ever-improving camera technology at relatively affordable prices. This technology includes compact drones, gimbals, lighting and handheld DSLR cameras that allow individuals to film cinematic shots that 10 years ago you would have needed a film crew to create.

There are plenty of blogs and videos about composition, lighting, audio etc. If you’re starting out in the video production game, here are my tips to help make engaging videos that you and your clients will love.

  1. Filming from multiple angles with a range of different lenses

As a basic rule, try getting three different angles of whatever you’re shooting. For example:

  • Shot #1 Use a drone to establish a shot

  • Shot #2 Cut to a gimbal shot on the ground (say 24mm)

  • Shot #3 Move to a tripod with a longer lens (50mm–90mm for example) and shoot with a very shallow depth of field so the viewer is drawn to a specific part of a shot. This is also going from a super-wide composition through to a more detailed close up of whatever it is you are filming — e.g. your subject.

Example of shallow depth of field taken from a video frame: foreground subject in focus with the background out of focus, blurred out.

Example of shallow depth of field taken from a video frame: foreground subject in focus with the background out of focus, blurred out.

The video below offers an example of wide establishing aerial shots during the filming of Brisbane city.

The video below demonstrates gimbal shots used during the filming of a real estate marketing video.

Time-lapse — a great way to mix up shots, adding a different feel to your video. Time-lapse gives you options when editing your video in post production. The clip below is an example of motion time lapse we shot with the Syrp Genie (motion control time-lapse + video) from Kangaroo Point in Brisbane.

2. The right music for your audio track

The digital marketing industry often cops a lot of customer feedback, requests for changes, requiring hours of edits before the clip reaches ‘Final’. I expect to make a few minor changes to videos, but thankfully my clients are generally really happy with the first draft of the video. Why? I believe a lot of the satisfaction comes down to the music track. Oh yes, we are also passionate and care about the final video production, too.

I often spend as much time looking for the right track for the video as I do with the actual editing — sometimes more. Days in fact! In my opinion, the choice of music comes down three things: the client’s style, their brand, and the target market. Think about these three things when choosing music for your clip, then start trawling the royalty-free websites for little audio gems. You might be lucky and find the right track quickly, or it might take hours.

Once you find something that’s right, add the track under your edit and seeing if it fits.  You may get ¾ of the way though your edit and realise it’s not going to work. If that’s the case, you need to find another track.

Have a look and listen to the video below — a great example of the right track for the right video!

3. Cutting your video to the music

My last tip for this post is simple: Edit your shots the the music.

This works much better if you have a fast dynamic song (drums and percussion are great!). As the music builds your cuts get faster, throw in some timelapse and you’re away. It’s sounds simple but it takes a bit of practice. It’s fun and works a treat.

This clip offers a great example of cutting to music. Enjoy!