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Camera Work. Shooting the Perfect Story. Good camera work will include all of the following:. Several types of shots Different angles Good composition Adequate lighting Proper camera movement clear sound. There are five basic shots you will use.

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Camera Work

Shooting the Perfect Story


Good camera work will include all of the following:

  • Several types of shots
  • Different angles
  • Good composition
  • Adequate lighting
  • Proper camera movement
  • clear sound

There are five basic shots you will use

1. The extreme long shot: often used to establish the setting.


2. The long shot: used to bring people into the story. Shows them in context with their surroundings.


3. The full shot: also used to show people in a scene, typically from the feet to the head.


4. The medium shot: used to capture dialogue between two people, typically from the waist up.


5. The close up: full face or shoulders and head, often used for interviews. Avoid profile shots; always try to see both eyes. This shot is also called the head shot.


There are four basic angles you will use

1. The eye level shot: shot at eye level from tripod or shoulder. Has a very normal feeling.


2. The high angle: shot from above the subject, gives an overview of the scene, can suggest power of the subject in the shot.


3. The low angle: shot from below the subject, suggests object has power over the viewer.


4. The oblique angle: shot at a tilt, rarely used. Suggests confusion, action, and even violence


Good Composition

Composition refers to the way all the objects in your shot relate to each other.

Good composition comes from applying the Rule of Thirds.


The Rule of Thirds breaks the frame into thirds with nine individual parts of the frame and four cross sections.


Vertical and horizontal lines such as buildings and the horizon should be placed along the lines created by the Rule of Thirds.


Other Composition Considerations

When you apply the Rule of Thirds, put the open space on the side that the person is looking. This is called the looking room and it makes the frame feel relaxed and not cramped.


Similar to looking room is the concept of Lead Room.The idea here is that viewers want to see where a moving object is going--not where it has been.


Good composition and use of the Rule of Thirds will also yield space above a subject’s head. This is called headroom.


Lighting and White Balance

Every light source has its own hue of color. For example, fluorescent bulbs have a greenish tinge and household (incandescent) lights have an orange tinge.

fluorescent light incandescent light


Unlike human eyes, camcorders do not have a perfect ability to adjust for the overall color of a scene. So you need a button to help make the adjustment.

If you don't use the white balance button, your shots might end up with an overall bluish cast, or yellowish tone. The white balance button makes the colors come out "true." It’s also called the color balance button.


Here’s how to use the white balance button: First, find something white in the scene (a shirt, a piece of paper, whatever). Zoom in until this white thing fills up at least 20 percent of the viewfinder. Then, push the white balance button.


On most camcorders, you hold the button down until a light stops flashing--typically about 3 seconds or so. What you are doing is telling the camcorder "Hey, this is white!” Once the camcorder understands white, it can get all the other colors correct.


Lighting Your Subject

Often, you will be forced to use the available lighting. In this case, there are a few things to watch for.

  • Be sure there is enough light.
  • Do not backlight your subject (unless you are doing it for a specific effect).
  • You can often use windows to light your subject.

Bad backlighting:

Good backlighting:

Can’t see subject

Creates angelic or halo effect


If you have the opportunity, you should try to light your subject according to the three point lighting system.

Results look like this:


Camera Movement

  • You will use five basic camera moves:
  • the pan
  • the tilt
  • the tracking shot
  • the Steadicam shot
  • and the zoom

1. The pan: the camera is mounted on a tripod or other stationary point and the camera moves from one side to the other along the horizontal axis.


A sub-category of the pan is the swish pan. The swish pan is when the pan moves very fast and actually blurs. It is often used as a transition from one scene to the next; in effect, a way of cutting.


2. The tilt: the camera is mounted on a tripod or other stationary point and the camera moves up to down or down to up along the vertical axis.


3. The tracking shot: the camera moves mostly along the horizontal axis. Also known as a dolly shot. This can be done with an actual dolly on a rail or even with a car.


4. The Steadicam shot: created in conjunction with the Steadicam. It allows the camera to move anywhere the cameraman can go. Also known as the handheld shot.


5. The zoom: hardly a “movement” at all although the sense of movement is created. Only the camera lens moves in this shot bringing the scene closer or making it more distant.

If you want to try something interesting, track the camera backward while zooming in.

This creates a strange,

vertigo sensation. Hitchcock

Used it often in his film.


Most of the time you will need the camera to be in a fixed position. In that case, you should either use your body as a stationary point or use a tripod.

how to properly transform yourself into a tripod
How to properly transform yourself into a tripod…
  • Tuck your arms in tight against your body
  • Brace yourself up against a wall
  • Hold the camera well, don’t just one-hand it. Have one hand toward the front end if possible.
  • Breathe smoothly and shallowly if possibly, avoiding heaving your chest
  • Best yet—use a tripod! It’s easier!

Getting Clear Sound

It is important to use sound to your advantage.

Sometimes it is important to let the sound of a scene speak for itself: a crowd at a sports game, a siren at a fire, water flowing into a classroom.

Oftentimes it is important for dialogue to be heard: an interview, a newsperson’s introduction and conclusion.

Whatever the case is, ask yourself if your microphone will pick up the sound you want.


When interviewing someone, it is important to remember to zoom out and then get physically close with the camera.

FYI: Always remove the display information!


Lastly, always do a three second countdown after you press record!


press record

and count 3…2…1…

and then begin interviewing