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Tips for Videography


You bought a new digital video camera. According to the guy who sold it to you, entry to the Cannes Film Festival is just around the corner.

Now the camera's home, the guy at the store isn't, and you can't help but ask yourself; What do I do now?

Relax. This basic checklist will get things rolling.

  • Plan: Write a list of what you want to capture. That way, you won't get caught up in the moment and miss something.
  • Shoot: Take the lens cap off (minor detail), shift into "camera mode," and go for it. Have fun, and don't forget to pack extra batteries.
  • Transfer: Now you need to move the footage from the camera to your computer. Connect the FireWire cable to your computer and import the files. If you need more details and instruction, consult the product manual that came with your camera.

    NOTE: Digital video cameras require a FireWire/IEEE 1394 connection, which pre-1995 computer systems may not have. Consult your system profile to see if your computer has IEEE 1394 capability. If it doesn't, you'll need to install an interface card (sometimes referred to as a "FireWire" card). Contact your computer manufacturer to find out which cards work with your system.

  • Edit: Use your video-editing software to convert AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) format video to MPEG (.mpg or .mpeg) file format, which is DVD compatible. Add music and special effects, and "author" the DVD by adding menus, chapters, and titles to help tell your story. The software manual is a great guide to the many ways you can add impact to your movie.
  • Burn: Burn video to CD or DVD and add a label. LightScribe technology and specially coated discs let you burn silkscreen-quality images and titles right onto the disc ¡K just like the pros.
  • Promote: Now you have a disc that needs to be seen! Design your own CD jacket with our DISCover Designer, then promote your masterwork with a customized movie poster! Dress them up, send them out ¡K these cool tools are just more examples of how LightScribe makes expressing yourself easy.
  • Enjoy: Now the fun part: Impress your friends and family with your video masterpiece.


  • Watch the light: Always shoot away from windows and intense background light as this light can overwhelm your subject. For overly bright light, use your camera's backlight feature.
  • Capture your location: "Establishing shots" explain your whereabouts. At a baseball game, a sign or scoreboard work well. At a natural monument, take a wide shot or use a historical reference to set the scene.
  • Zoom in and out sparingly: Don't go wild with the zoom feature. It's distracting and can lead to dizziness.
  • Hold steady: Avoid jittery video: Use a tripod whenever possible, or lean on a fixed object.
  • Keep it short: Several short video clips 5-10 seconds long are more interesting than long, drawn-out shots (i.e., more than two minutes).??
  • Get the main and secondary events: Tell the whole story. Back to the baseball example, capture the game action as well as clips of the coaches, crowd, and players before and after the game.
  • Vary angles: Move around your subject. Shoot from above or below to make the subject seem larger than life.
  • Have a beginning and an end: Return to your establishing shot to conclude the video. Opening and closing shots are the bookends that cement the storyline. At the baseball game, signs or logos would make great bookends.