Taking great shots

Whatever image you see through the viewfinder will provide you with an accurate representation of what is being filmed. If playing footage back to make sure you are happy with it, make sure you go all the way to the end of the recorded footage before filming anything else. You don’t want to accidently erase your footage.

Use a tripod whenever possible. A tripod will make sure your shots are stable and smooth.

Sometimes hand-held filming is necessary, but make sure you practice a few times before recording. Even a small shake or bump can be seen in the finished footage.

Once students have familiarised themselves with the camera, use manual focus instead of automatic focus. It’s easy to think automatic is better because it does all the work, but it takes time for the lens to adjust to each movement. It’s actually quicker to focus the shots yourself – you just need some practice and time to rehearse the camera movements.

When using manual focus, zoom all the way in on what you want to film (whichever person or object is in the very middle of the frame), focus, and then zoom back out into the frame you want to film. This will ensure each shot is in focus.

Think carefully about how you want to frame each shot. What is happening in the story? What is important to focus on – what the lead actor is saying, an actor picking up an object, or showing the location of where the story tales place? These decisions should have been made during the storyboard stage of the project. Now all you need to do is set up the scene and practice filming it before shooting.