This is article #26 in the DSLR Video Weekly series.  If you’d like the whole thing in one shot, check out the book Creating DSLR Video: From Snapshots to Great Shots.

Once you get the hang of video, be sure to monetize it by becoming a contributor to Adobe Stock.

Repeating Action

By having my son play through each hole twice as well as using the word freeze, I was able to get proper coverage of the scene.

So, if you need to cut all your angle shots together, how do you pull it off? The most common approach to getting adequate coverage is to repeat the action of the scene. This means shooting the scene and then asking your subjects to repeat what they were doing. You should then change your composition and move your camera to a different position.

Here are a few ways to plan your coverage:

  • If you’re shooting a scripted or narrative video, you’ll likely repeat the scene several times. You should first shoot the master shot to get coverage all the way through, and then move the camera around and get “insert” shots of key moments to cut in.
  • If you’re recording an interview or a live-action demonstration, you should shoot all the way through. Along the way, make mental (or even actual) notes of “pickup” or “insert” shots and go back and get them to add in.
  • If you’re shooting an action scene, ask your talent to freeze or hold. When you get to a desired cut point, pause the action. Quickly move your camera and recompose your shot. Then let the action continue. Even if you can’t freeze the scene, you may still be able to reposition quickly enough and edit out the rough spots for a more condensed video.

Using More than One Camera

Sometimes there’s no way to properly shoot a project without having more than one camera. Live event situations, such as a concert or wedding, are examples. Or you might be shooting a one-time event like a sports competition or a rocket launch. There will be times that getting another take or moving your camera to a new position will be impossible.

In these circumstances you’ll want to shoot with more than one camera and place each camera at a different angle to get coverage. Perhaps you can borrow a friend’s camera or team up with a friend or colleague to share footage and coverage duties. You might also have an older camera that you can set up on a locked tripod while you use your other camera to shoot insert shots.

To make the editing of shots from more than one camera as seamless as possible, be sure to match all the camera settings as closely as possible. Choose the same frame size and frame rate for each camera. Try to match the shutter speed and the white balance settings as well.

Making a Shot List

You might think that the best Hollywood directors are creative geniuses; however, they have a more important character trait in common. They are great planners who aren’t afraid to intensely analyze a script or a location and map out the best angles to tell their story.

For a successful shoot, it’s a great idea to build a detailed plan. Your goal should be to think about the scene or location ahead of time. Try to list all the shots you’ll need and determine the number of shots and style of shots you want to shoot. Be sure to identify elements like the location and participants, and then specify the angles you’ll need.

By making a detailed shot list, you can literally check off shots as you shoot. Typically, I use a spreadsheet application like Apple Numbers or Microsoft Excel. I can then sync the list to my phone and read it on the go. When it comes time to edit my footage, the shot list helps me identify the shots I have to work with. The extra planning at the outset will dramatically speed up your editing as well.

Don’t Just Zoom in Place

It’s important to move the camera from time to time when taking multiple shots. If you merely zoom from a wide shot to a tight shot (which is often called a jump cut), the resulting edit will feel abrupt. For the smoothest editing, be sure to physically move the camera when changing composition. Change your shot? Then you better shuffle your feet and move to a new location.

Join us each Saturday for the next installment of this weekly series.

Once you get the hang of video, be sure to monetize it by becoming a contributor to Adobe Stock.