Monday, February 18, 2013

The Most Common Question about Video in Media

Being in media I receive a lot of questions every day from other organizations seeking to do the same thing we are. One of the most frequent questions I hear is "what camera(s) do I need to get for my organization"? Essentially one would think this would be an easy question but in all actuality it is very difficult. The type of camera depends on numerous factors. These factors can range from the purpose of needing the camera, the storage and output requirements, and the amount of money allocated to purchase the equipment. Not knowing any of this information makes that question very difficult.

The primary question any organization should ask is how do we need to convey our message to our intended audience. Once a person begins to work that question out, then the answers will start to become more obvious.

Utilizing cameras to reproduce a setting onto someone's television set is not as simple as pointing and shooting a camera. Much planning and understanding of the film process must be completed well in advance of warming up the camera. Successful videography is all about storytelling. It is not just conveying a picture from one location to another but rather painting a picture of what is happening. The goal is to make the viewer feel as if he or she is actually sitting where your intended environment. This not only includes visual but also audio.

One rule of thumb is to remember that cameras lie. Every time you power one up it will start deceiving you until it is powered down. Most cameras are two dimensional. They see things flat without depth or much contrast. Therefore, a successful director, reporter, or videographer must look for the proper equipment and know how to set it up to fool the viewer into thinking he or she is actually on location.

Second, even though most cameras are equipped with microphones their quality is so poor that it becomes a distraction to the viewer. Audio quality is critical to good video. Keep in mind that radio was around long before television and storytelling was being performed on radio with great success. Therefore, great attention must be paid to audio for a project to be successful.

Think about how you want to covey your story. Are you going to need more than one camera to make it happen? Is this camera going to be stationary or portable? Are you going to need special lenses to create interest and convey your story in a more realistic manner? How are you going to collect the sound? Are you going to post-edit your project, or is this going to be a LIVE event? As you begin to answer these questions I will help you with information on the products that are on the market as well as the techniques to shoot better video.

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