We’ve created a guide to help you keep your cool while navigating the minefield of technical jargon and potential pitfalls that go along with creating top-quality visual content. We’ve already covered lighting, now it’s time to focus on the camera.
Whether you’re using your smartphone, an old Flip or the latest video-capable digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, our handy hints should help you get the very best from your camera whether you’re the one pushing the shutter button or you’ve enlisted professional help.
On the charge
Always check what batteries, chargers and type of memory storage (SD card, CompactFlash) your camera uses (and have plenty of spares to hand).
Sneak a peek
Make sure the camera has a flip-screen viewfinder so you can easily see what’s being filmed, without having to play the cameraman or woman yourself.
For high-quality professional shoots, your basic equipment should include a range of at least three lenses to cope with different shots. Just using the one lens with a zoom function might not suit all your shots and could compromise quality.
Check if your crew’s equipment includes a neutral density (ND) filter for controlling the light. If they say ‘no’ it could be a warning sign that they are not taking your project seriously. Ask them to reconsider.
Shooting in the RAW?
If you’re using a DSLR or higher grade digital video camera, don’t be afraid to ask the techies questions – for example, what format are they filming in: JPEG or RAW? RAW format will give better quality and more control over the image, but it will take up much more memory space and could extend shooting time. Find out what’s best for your project’s intended compression and output avenues – from smartphone app to big screen.
Next time: Sound