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How to make better videos with your camera


With interchangeable lens and compact cameras offering quality video capture, more and more photographers are making the next transition to movies. If you’re thinking of using a stills camera for videography, check out our top tips for motion picture perfection:

1.    Go Manual

“You can easily access the movie mode in most compact cameras by simply pressing the round button with a red dot in the middle to start recording,” says Ian Savage, Head of Training, Jessops. “For interchangeable lens cameras you may find a movie camera symbol on a mode dial or via the menu function. If you are using a lens with autofocus (AF), it’s often worth disabling this and switching to manual focus as the lens may hunt while you are recording, momentarily throwing everything out of focus. What’s more, the noise of the AF mechanism may also be picked up by the camera’s microphone, potentially ruining the shot.”

2.    Steady as you go

Unless you have phenomenally steady hands, camera shake will probably be the first problem you encounter when switching to movie mode on your camera, so a tripod or monopod is an essential investment for professional looking videos. Consider opting for a tripod with a fluid head to add variety and stabilised movement to your shots, other stabilisation products such as the Manfrotto Modosteady or Steadicam’s Solo Stabiliser have been designed specifically with motion in mind

3.    Sound advice

One of the main learning curves for photographers moving into video is dealing with the minefield that is audio. Sound may or may not be a consideration depending on what you are recording. If you’d like to capture some family videos on holiday, a camera with in-built audio should be perfect for your needs. If you plan on filming a friend’s wedding, take a look at the range of hotshoe microphones and external audio recorders from Hahnel and Azden available to take your audio up a notch and ensure you catch every quivering syllable during the speeches.

4.    Get established

Foresight is crucial when shooting video. Try to think about how all of the different shots will edit together when you upload them to your computer. If you’re planning on shooting something creative rather than just documenting your experiences, try sketching out a storyboard to help you visualise the final film. If you’d like to add credits or a menu at the start of your film, think about shooting some establishing shots of the location to really set the scene.

5.    Need for speed

If you don’t already have one, a high-speed memory card is an important addition to your kitbag if you plan on using your camera to shoot video. Cards with slow read/write speeds can cause the camera’s buffer to fill whilst transferring data to the card, resulting in unwelcome gaps in your footage. Card capacity is also an important factor when you consider that a 2GB card will only hold ten minutes of Full HD footage. When it comes to memory cards for video, size really does matter.

Thanks to Jessops for the tips.