A lot of what makes professional-looking video is not in the editing; it’s in the recording. And there are several techniques to shooting video that can help you get more professional-looking footage to put in your project.
To make things clearer, let’s start with a video describing the basic shots used. We can cover them in a little more detail afterwards.
One thing you want to keep in mind is that you can mix and match these different types of shot as required.
The basic wide-angle shot. This is commonly used as a form of establishing shot, showing the general area that a scene will be set in. This is not the only reason for a wide-angle shot, however, there are other reasons. For example, in a comedy piece, a wide-angled shot with a screaming voice-over can indicate just how loud the voice-over is implied to be. It can also be a means to show travel, in the case where a wide shot focuses on one location, and then moves to another (see “linking,” below).
The angled shot is often used to show a sense of perspective, since the eye will follow the perspective of objects to recognize the foreground and the background. When angled up or down, the shot can also emphasize the largeness or smallness of the subject, accordingly.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get onto the ground, but some shots are more interesting when recorded at different heights. For example, a low shot can get just the legs to allow a shadowy meeting without the principals being revealed to the audience. A ground shot with a vertical angle can provide a striking view of the sky, and whatever’s tall enough to be in the shot. Or, you can have a point of view of someone who is lying on the ground, stunned. Imagination’s the key for this one. Regardless of what you do, it’s not likely going to be boring.
This is a filmmaking staple. Linking shots are multiple shots focused on the same subject performing the same action. An often-used example is when a subject walks in the door (as seen in the video), and the camera shifts to a different location to indicate that they are still moving.
The benefit of having a DSLR for recording is the magical depth of field shot. This is a shot where the space in front of, and behind, the subject is blurred out. This gives the viewer the ability to tell where the subject is in a shot, because either the focus follows them, or they come into focus as they approach whatever’s being focused on.
Even without the use of the depth of field shot, there’s still the benefit of an angled view; again, when a subject is positioned near something that is angled to show the perspective, their position relative to that object gives the audience an idea where they are.
One of the more dramatic forms of shot, the opposite shot can be singular, such as a view through a mirror, or linked, such as a shot where a person’s front walks into the camera, only to become their back as they walk away.
WALLDO: Professional Mix
A professional will not just use one of these shots in their videos, they will mix things up as appropriate for telling their story. Sometimes, the mix will be simultaneous; for example, a filmmaker can use linked angle shots for the purpose of showing a character’s motion from the view of a security camera, or an angled depth shot to provide focus on an object, and its impending interaction with a subject. At the very least, wide, depth, and linked shots are pretty commonly used in many major project, including feature films.
Note the word “appropriate!” You should never use a camera angle just for the sake of using a camera angle! Whether you are filming a report, a film, or a music video, you must always use the shots to tell a story. If a specific shot tells the audience something about the scene, then use it. If it distracts from the action of the scene, then by all means, avoid using it! It is always, first and foremost, about the narrative, the sequence of events taking place in your story.
Hopefully, this will help you get better footage. Admittedly, it has nothing to do with Linux, but having some new understanding for the artform is never a bad thing.