Web video for beginners

Shooting Video Tutorial

Create a Checklist and Set Up the Studio

In the shooting video tutorial below, you will learn how to create a checklist before you shoot your video to make sure there are no suprises and mistakes when you start shooting your video.

All professional video producers use a checklist, and it avoids making silly mistakes like not having a spare battery for the microphone or shooting out of focus, which can result in having to shoot the whole video again. Which is not a lot of fun!

A checklist not only results in a better looking video, but also a stress-free experience for you. Enjoy the video.

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Here's the transcript of the video:

Now in this segment we're going to talk about actually shooting the video. Now what I have here is my checklist. And this is the checklist that I go through before I shoot every scene or before I start any video. Now that checklist helps me produce a better quality video. You know, I learned after having to re-shoot and re-shoot and re-shoot scenes, that it's better to get the camera and the audio and everything set up first and that way the only reason you have to re-shoot is if you mess up or you say words or you go too long or you make mistakes. So this is the checklist that I do and I'll show you what that checklist is.

First thing we do, when we're getting ready to shoot a video, is we come in and turn all the equipment on. Let it all warm up for about 10 - 15 minutes before you do any adjustments at all. That means turn the camera on, turn the monitors on, turn the lights on. And in most cases what we do, is we also turn the air conditioning down about 5 degrees so it will cool the room down because when you turn the lights on and all the equipment on, the room will warm up.

The second thing we do is we put the camera in manual mode. You know, almost all your camcorders have automatic mode, which is great if you're outdoor shooting or just shooting Johnny's birthday party. But if you're shooting a how-to video in a studio environment like this, you'll want to put it in manual mode. Putting the camera in manual mode means that you don't have to worry about auto focus see-sawing in and out when you move your arms or when you hold something up. You don't have to worry about the light changing colors if you move something up and down and it happens to be bright. It won't light someone's face up or lower someone's face. You don't have to worry about all the problems that are normally associated with auto mode. So put the camera in manual mode.

The third thing we do is to do a white balance. Now if look at your camera, it probably has several different lighting modes. One is the sports mode or the indoor mode or the outdoor mode or the full sunshine mode. And then you probably have a manual white balance. Now to work manual white balance, you put your camera in the white balance mode, and you hold something up white. You zoom right into that white element and you press the white button until it quits flickering. Then you'll have a nice white balance which will give you true colors. Now you definitely want to do that if you're using florescent lights or something similar because it will give you the good lighting that you want.

After you do the white balance, the next thing you want to do is to focus your camera. Now you know, to do focus, and a lot of people don't know how to do this, but basically you zoom right in as close as you can on somebody or something, and you focus. And generally what we do is we zoom in on our eyes and focus on the iris and then pull all the way back. And if you do that, you'll stay in focus all the way. Now remember, keep your camera out of auto focus when you do the focus.

The next thing that we do is we plug in our mic, our lavalier mic which is the mic that you see right here, plug it in to the camera, turn the mic on, and do an audio check. And to do that, we put headphones on, plug in to the camera, and listen to make sure that we can hear the mic and that the audio is the right level. You know, these mics run on little batteries. These batteries only cost $2 or $3 dollars each but if a battery fails in the middle of production, and you don't know it, you may have to re-shoot the entire production simply because the mic failed to capture the audio. So always do a mic check. Always have spare batteries.

After the mic check, what we do is we make sure that the monitor that we're looking in - and I mentioned earlier there's a monitor right below the camera that I'm looking in right now when I'm shooting the video that allows me to see exactly what's on the screen - and I want to line that monitor up so that when I'm looking in to that monitor, it looks like I'm looking directly at you. So we always line that monitor up so that it's perfect so it doesn't look like you're looking down or so you're not looking up at the camera or looking to the right to see what you look like. You always want to be looking directly into that monitor. So we line the monitor up.

And the next thing we do after we do all that other, is that we start doing video checks. Which means that I'll record about a minute's worth of video where I'm speaking into the camera looking at the monitor. And I'll record it to make sure that the shirt that I'm wearing is the right color, that the lighting in the background looks good, that there aren't any reflections that there shouldn't be, that there aren't any post-it notes in the back that shouldn't be up there (you know, somebody's phone number), that there aren't any beer cans (not that I drink beer) but there aren't any beer cans on the desk. You want to do all that before you start shooting because it would be terrible to shoot an hour's worth of video and discover that in the background you had something you didn't want anybody in the world to see.

So that's my little checklist that we do before we start shooting. Let's go over that again.

  1. Turn on all the equipment and let it warm up for about 15 minutes. This allows all the color levels to get to the right level.
  2. Put the camera in manual mode.
  3. Do a white balance on the camera.
  4. Focus the camera in manual mode.
  5. Do an audio check to test the microphone is working and make sure the battery is fresh.
  6. Adjust the viewing monitor. That's the monitor that the talent looks into while they're shooting the video.
  7. Do a video check by recording one minute of video to make sure that everything works well. That the audio looks good, that the lighting looks good, that the colors look good, that the chair is positioned in the right place, that your talent and all the props are in the right place to make sure it looks good. Review the video test and if it looks good, then you're ready to start shooting the set.

Now when it comes to actually shooting the video, once you've got it all set up, if you're like me and you shoot these videos by yourself, you have a remote control. So you sit down and you look at your notes and you look at your outline. And you say, "Okay, in this segment this is what I'm going to cover." I'll hit record, and then when I record, I start talking. And I know what I'm going to talk about. I've looked at my notes, and I've looked at my outline. I'll talk for a minute or two or however long we've allocated for that segment. And then we hit pause on the remote. And we do that - and for example, this video is 15-16 chapters - I'll do that 15 or 16 times. And when I'm done, I will be completed with the video. Now while you're doing that, watch the length on your video tape. Because what will happen, is suppose you are going to shoot an hour long video. What will happen is then you'll - there will be segments that go over long, or you leave the record on, and right in the middle of a great segment, then you'll run out of that hour long tape. So every once in a while, get up and look at that tape to make sure that you've got enough left to finish your video. Generally on an hour long video, you can expect that it's going to take two tapes.

Now in the next segment, we're going to look at how to get the raw video out of your camera in to your computer so you can start editing. Let's take a look.

If you have any video related questions, please click HERE to ask Mr Video!

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