Capture Professional-Looking Video

Camera Rules of Thumb


  • be sure to check your lens and carry lens cloths
  • make sure your batteries are fully charged
  • if your camera records on tapes or cards, carry extras
  • shoot extra footage before and after your shoot
  • check your audio levels before filming
  • set your focus to manual and keep it there - autofocus can disrupt a good shot
  • set your white balance
  • don't use the camera bells and whistles - you can always add filters in the editing environment

Plan Your Shots To Tell the Story

  • use props and setting to tell the audience about your subject
  • shoot both A and B reels
  • use a variety of shots to inform and engage your audience
  • establishing shots begin each scene (landscape view of city, view of house on rural road, etc.)
  • a full shot shows the entire subject in their setting
  • a medium shot shows some of the subject involved in an activity
  • a two shot has two subjects interacting
  • close up shot will be an important component in the project
  • cut aways (a cat looking into the lens, or a ceiling fan spinning) can be used for atmosphere, mood, counterpoint


Plan Your Close Ups

  • Use a tripod!
  • Headroom - too much space above head makes figure seem lost – leave as little space between top of head and frame without seeming crammed
  • Noseroom - aka Looking Room – Avoid centering the subject. If the subject is turned to the side, their gaze has a certain visual weight. The more they are tuned, the more nose room.
  • Camera lens should be positioned at eye level