Even if you’re not sure how your camp will use iPhone, smartphone or GoPro footage, it’s good to “think like a filmmaker” so that your videos are high quality and useful for editing later on.
Here are Redbird’s top-ten tips for capturing better summer video!
Ps. Want to see these great tips (and many more) in action? Visit our Summer Camp Showcase!
In order to take advantage of your entire camera , turn your phone sideways (versus up and down).
Why? Because if you film vertically, when you play it back it won’t fill up the screen and you’ll get those pesky black letter-boxing on the left and right.
Professional filmmakers and photographers aim to get a scene using a wide-medium-tight framing rule of thumb. This translates to far away enough to capture the scene, moving closer so you don’t see as much as the background, and then moving closer again to capture detail.
Not only does this make for more interesting footage but having differently framed clips will make it much better to edit at some future date.
Could you just take one long video where you’re moving the camera and zooming in and out? Yes, but your audience will not enjoy the experience.
Move your feet and close instead of using your camera’s zoom if possible. You’ll get much better quality and your footage won’t look grainy.
Consider filming with your camera phone first and THEN importing into Instagram. You still get a cool filter but you’re preserving the original footage, too.
When kids are doing something active, try to avoid following them with your camera unless it’s truly a can’t miss moment. Instead, let them exit (or enter!) the frame while you stay still — think of yourself as a human tripod.
Letting someone leave the shot is a great, easy way to transition into another clip or move on to another scene when you hand off to an editor.
If you can help it, try and not talk over people so you don’t talk over what they’re saying. Sometimes, I tell people that I’m going to film something and that I’ll yell, “Go!” right or give a thumbs-up before I press record.
If you do ask questions, etc., talk softer than you usually would do if you expect the final footage to have your voice included.
You don’t have to have everything neatly centered all the time — especially when you’re focusing someone doing something from up close (eating watermelon for instance). Feel free to have kids off center. This is often called the “rule of thirds” in photography.
While phones continue to improve their stabilization, consider investing in an inexpensive small flexible tripod or more traditional tripod. The new generations of GoPros have great stabilization, too.
GoPros are definitely a great tool to have in your kit and I highly suggest having a few to send out on trips.
RESOLUTION: At least 1080 resolution – larger is better (2.7k / 4k), especially if handing off to a professional editor.
FOV: Narrow / Medium / wide field of view is often best — not super wide.
FRAME RATE: 60 or 30 fps (frames per second) is usually best (120 if you know you want to extremely slow something down).
SET UP: For action shots, experiment with filming things two ways so that you have more to work with later on:
1) stay still and let the movement unfold
2) follow the action (diving into water, canoeing past, summiting a mountain)
It’s tempting to always go for the action, but keep an eye out for the softer moments (just as you might do in photography).