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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Shooting Video as the Eye Sees

If you've read through some of the blogs, then you've probably heard me say that the most effective way to communicate your idea through video is by shooting as the eye sees.

Beyond the theory, it's also a good concept to keep in mind because it makes the choices you're making as videographer easier.

Whether it's the angle of your shot, the framing, composition or whether you use panning or zooming, keeping this idea in mind will make your video that much more easier to digest for your viewer.

Why can't I just do whatever feels right to me? You absolutely can. As with everything on this blog...these are tips. Tips I sometimes call rules, but I always add that rules are meant to be broken. If you're reading this because you want to shoot better video, then this is something you're going to want to pay attention to.

If you're shooting video that you don't expect anybody else to watch, then it really doesn't matter what you do. But if you're wanting your video to speak to anybody who watches it, you're going to need to keep them in mind while you're shooting. And if you really want to engage them, you're going to have to work on your skill and practice.

We experience the world through our senses. We smell, feel, hear and see what's going on around us. We smell, taste, fell and see food. The art behind video is communicating sight and sound to the people you want to watch it so that they feel they are there. You want them to get the story of what's going on. Because that's why you're shooting it in the first place. Right?

You can easily pick up your phone and shoot your ceiling and your walls...maybe some carpet...but this isn't something you're probably interested in sharing with your friends and family unless you're planning on selling your house. In most cases, you've placed value on what you want to share. It means something to you and you want to share that value with other people. By the time you make the decision to share what you value with other people, you're already making a decision to make the thing you're valuing understandable.

Perhaps it's that you want to share your child's first steps or something amusing you've seen while taking a walk. In both cases, you feel it's important that your friends and family share in something that has brought you happiness or joy. You want to spread that joy and happiness.

If you're reading this, then that means you want to be more effective at sharing that joy and happiness. You want to convey those feelings as best you can so that the person watching might think they're there.

Video is probably the best way to show somebody what's happening where they are not. So when trying to shot better video, the immediate question is: what would your friend or the person you plan on sharing this with see if they were here. How would they see it? Would their vision constantly be shaking? Would they be viewing things at weird angles? Tilt your head. Everything still seems pretty much level, right? Would they be looking at other people in the eyes or looking down or up at them? The answers to these questions can guide you to making the right choices when shooting video. They can make your video more understandable to the viewer.

And that's important. Because when you're in a situation, you immediately grasp what's going on around you and what's important because your brain filters out a lot of the noise (there's a lot of interesting science about this). But when it comes to sharing something with somebody that isn't there, it's up to you to act as that filter. To make the scene easily understood.

Most of the tips on this blog are geared towards helping you get better at that, but so long as you ask yourself what the eye would see, you'll make great strides in making your video better.