Finding the right shot and actually capturing it with your camera can be rather difficult, if you don’t know your way around your equipment or know how to use your eyes just as much as your camera.
Using Your Eye to Capture the Shot
Your eyes are just as important, if not more important than your camera is, in capturing quality shots. In order to get the right shot, you have to focus your brain on a person or an object that is completing the action worth filming. Consider it a good rule of thumb to train your eye to include a ‘hero’ in each shot, filmed so that the audience has a focal point within the frame. An individual who is having an inspirational moment would obviously be the hero to be focused on just as a bottle of rum would be in a scene of an alcoholic considering ending his sobriety.
Regardless of who or what you choose to be the ‘hero’ of your shot, it is important to have a main character or subject. Without focusing in on the hero, the audience can be confused as to what exactly they should be paying attention to, and it could mean losing their attention altogether.
Need some tips on how to help your audience pinpoint who the ‘hero’ of a shot actually is? Take a look at some classic Hollywood techniques you can use to make your hero standout.
- Make sure that the hero within a scene has the moving role, so that the eye is drawn only to them
- Use lighting techniques to make the hero just a little brighter than the rest of the scene
- Use your camera lens zoom feature to make everything else in a shot just a little blurry, this will make the hero stand out
- Don’t make the hero a part of the background, bring them forward within the frame
These are just a few of the ways in which you can help your audience’s eye to focus and make your subject the true hero of a shot.
Using Your Camera to Capture the Shot
Now, if you have used to your eye to create the perfect shot in your mind, you want to be sure that your camera skills and knowledge will actually allow you to transfer this to the camera. Familiarizing yourself with your camera is absolutely necessary if you want to be successful.
This means reading through the manual, beyond the quick start instructions, and playing with all of the features. You might be surprised to find that your camera is equipped with certain options, or should be adjusted to film in certain locations.
If you have a new camera, or happen to think that playing with your camera could break it, there are plenty of options to help you get to know your equipment better. Not only do most modern cameras come with detailed manuals, but most manufacturers offer detailed tutorials for each camera on their website. Additionally, some digital cameras are now equipped with a default, or reset, feature so you can play with your camera all you like, and can return it to its original settings easily.
By simply getting to know your camera, and learning what it can, and cannot, do, you can begin to plan your scenes around the action that your eyes see. Recognizing the scenes and actually capturing them the first time exactly how you want them won’t happen overnight. To get the shot the first time, you need to train your eyes and practice with your camera equipment.
Donna manages a creative film and broadcast portfolio for a leading film and video distribution service.
Photo Credit: Vancouver Film School
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