Top Ten Tips

6 replies [Last post]
tom hardwick
Joined: Apr 8 1999

I bet we could all turn this into the Top One Hundred Tips, but for now here goes with

Tom's Top Ten Tips:

1) Your finished movie will tell a little story. Remember this as you film; you can't shoot willi-nilli as you can with a still camera.

2) The best film-makers are invariably the best editors. Chop that movie
down to size.

3) Shoot lots on the day. Remember, this day will NEVER come again.

4) Get some big bold closeups. Close is hardly ever close enough.

5) Shoot cutaways and POVs. Then shoot some more.

6) Remember variety is the spice of life and movies. If you don't have an
earth shakingly good script, use extremes of focal length, viewpoint,frames
per second, shot length, camera movement.

7) Don't bore the audience; leave them wanting more.

8) Use your imagination. Or use other peoples; TV is a great source of

9) Include people. People are much more interested in looking at people
than at steam locomotives.

10) Have a point of view to put over. Evoke emotion, any emotion, and
you're half way there.


Joined: Apr 12 1999

>People are much more interested in looking >at people than at steam locomotives.

You obviously don't know enough steam engine fanatics ;).

Personally, I'd say:

1. Get a good script
2. Plan everything properly before you shoot.
3. Plan everything properly before you shoot.
10. Plan everything properly before you shoot

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Joined: May 26 1999

What about these...

During Filming

1. Don't ever talk to other people or sing (believe me I've seen & heard it) whilst operating the camera.

2. Use a tripod whenever possible. Especially if recording a fairly static scene (ie: concert).

3. Don't zoom in, then out, then in, then out....etc...

Post Production

1. Don't fade to black then fade back in on the same scene (I'v seen this one too, one of my in-laws does this regularly)it's excruciating.

hope these are useful to someone


Joined: Mar 21 1999

I would put mine as follows.
1. Chop, chop and chop again.
2. Sound is just as important as pictures. Add sound and music if you can. Try not to use camcorder sound as the wind noise and quality is usually not very good. If you add appropriate sound effects most people won't know the difference. Voice overs by good speakers pays dividends.
3. When you have 'finished' your epic let someone else check it out as believe me when you have looked at the same piece of video for the 100th time your sure to have missed something.....and there is also the tendency to keep it in because you have spent time on it. Chop..chop...chop.

This is another reason why I cannot understand the 2GB discussions...who has scenes that last that long!!!

Keep on editing,its fun

David Murphy

Alan Roberts at work
Joined: May 6 1999

My most effective tip, for the one-man-band videographer, is to delay editing as long as possible after the shoot. Put the tapes away, do something else. Then, when you get back to editing, you've forgotten exactly why you recorded each shot, it's like using someone else's footage. That makes it miles easier to hack out the stuff that doesn't work.

Joined: Oct 25 1999

As a freelance TV News Cameraman/Editor, the three most basic points (regardless of kit) that often 'makes the difference' between professional and amateur looking footage are;

1) Keep it steady (use a tripod whenever possible. If you need to make the subject larger in the frame it is usually best to move closer, DON'T zoom, as wide-angle shots are intrinsically steadier (especially when handheld)).

2) Keep it in focus (no Professional cameras use auto-focus for one very good reason; it doesn't work (ie. it 'hunts'). If your camera has manual focus - use it. You will get used to it over time. Some auto-focus cameras have servo-driven 'manual' focus systems that can be very tricky however).

3) Don't zoom unless necessary. (Over-use of the zoom control is very common as people seem to want to 'get their moneys-worth' by using all available functions on the camera. The zoom should only be used 'for a reason', e.g. to reveal a wider 'context' of an image (zoom-out), or to concentrate on a specific area of a larger image for dramatic effect (zoom-in).


Ben (Gadget)

Joined: Nov 14 1999

Gadget, I agree!

And as a long time news shooter, I'd add to your good list:

Always be aware of natural light and try to use it as your primary source in composition.

Always anticipate action and what it means in the context of what is happening in any given moment.