Camera Tips and Tricks

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It is always great to get outside of the office. On International Women’s Day, Crystal, Soojin, and I packed up our cameras and microphones to get the full experience of the day in D.C. Our plan was to find a group of women that we could shoot for our Women’s Day PSA. Additionally, we set out to capture B-roll for the Native Nations march and rally that is coming up at the end of this week. It seemed that we were able to knock out a few birds with one stone on this beautiful day.

The day was not completely full of sunshine though as we had more lessons to learn about video production. Unfortunately, as soon as we got back to the office we learned that our audio had not been adjusted properly on the camera, and some of our footage was overexposed. Luckily, we had a back-up plan. We took still pictures of the International Women’s Day march, and we were able to make a nice video out of that. But, if you want to make a great video for a PSA, here are some tips and tricks that can help you.

First, be sure that you have a white piece of paper to white balance your camera. Make sure you white balance your camera whenever you enter a new setting with different color temperatures.

Next, make sure the image you are capturing is focused. To focus a person or object, zoom in all the way on the subject and then adjust the focus ring until the image is clear.

Now that everything is focused and white balanced you need to make sure your image isn’t overexposed. Bright and sunny days can cause trouble for your camera. A day with clouds and overcast is actually best for lighting. To regulate the amount of light coming into the camera you need to adjust the camera’s iris. The iris ring is usually found near the focus ring. Also, some cameras have filter settings. These filters are kind of like sunglasses and can be used to lower the brightness of an image.

Finally, you need to check your audio settings. This is what ultimately killed our original plan to make a Women’s Day PSA. If you are using a lapel microphone or a hand held mic, you must make sure that the audio settings on your camera are set so that your individual microphones are receiving audio input and not the internal mic on your camera. Usually, this can be done with just one flip of a switch. Also, be sure to plug headphones into the camera so that you can make sure the audio is coming in clearly. Look at the audio levels displayed on the camera monitor as well. If the levels are rising after an individual is done talking, then you should double-check your audio settings. The levels should only rise when an individual is talking.

By following these tips and tricks you will be on the way to producing high quality videos. I hope you learned something and if you have any other tips for future videographers and video producers please share them in the comment section!