Hats

In this age of 3G, Wifi, Smartphones and Tablets the demand for video is on the up. Whether the demand is greater from publishers or from the public is hard to tell. Whether video is better than ‘old skool’ words and photos is again hard to tell. In many ways it doesn’t matter.

The truth is that medias don’t replace other medias. They run alongside. Quite often they complement each other. Theatres still exist. Radio still exists. Paintings still get painted. But at the mo people are screaming out for moving pictures.

As a freelancer I’m being asked more and more to provide video for my features to complement the words and photos. It’s a good way of driving website visitors to the client’s magazine and getting magazine readers to visit the website. Thankfully most clients are happy to pay a bit extra for being supplied with video.

The tricky thing I’ve found with having to do this is not so much to do with having to carry extra video gear around with me. Now that dSLRs shoot excellent video the only thing extra I have to lug around is a tripod.

The tricky thing is having to wear another hat. A ‘videographers hat’ to sit alongside (on top? underneath?) my ‘writers hat’ and my ‘photographers hat’.

At first I definitely suffered from being ‘Jack of all trades Master of none’. Ending up with features of good-but-not-great words, photos and video. Now I’ve got a bit more practiced at hat juggling.

But sometimes I’ve just had to discard a hat that isn’t comfortable to wear on the day and get on with wearing the other two properly. Clients are generally happier to receive a well-executed 2-out-of-3 mediums than a full set of slapdash ones. It’s better for your reputation and portfolio too if you never submit the duff stuff.

Some video tips:

1. Use a tripod. As well as being less annoying for the viewer it makes your footage look sharper.
2. Don’t trust your camera’s meter. Switch to manual.
3. Don’t trust your camera’s Auto white balance. Stick your own setting in there.
4. Don’t zoom during a shot.
5. Buy spare batteries. Shooting video really sucks power.
6. Buy some cheapy manual 1970s/80s lenses from eBay. They give a lovely silky look and are better for pull-focusing with (never use Autofocus during a shot by the way).

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