Video Directing tip .... (REALITY style)

So .. I thought I'd send you ONE tip today .. listen up!

If you shoot Reality / Documentary style, on the fly then this is for you.

But.. even if you only shoot this style of Video at a Birthday Party or on Vacation then this is still relevant too. (That's everyone!)

Regardless of the subject matter - you need to put your Directors cap on whenever you film.

When events are unfolding fast and people's reactions are unrepeatable.. you need to keep this is mind:

'Which shots can I pick up later and what MUST I grab NOW?'

Meaning .. are there shots that are critical to get? .. So I need to point the camera at them, and NOT point at something else less important that I can get later or even before.

Let me explain ... this might take some concentration. So in a minute you'll watch a Vlog extract from Tanner Fox .. might not be your kind of thing (there are bleeps), but he has millions of subs and is a talented Vlogger for sure.

So anyway, I spotted this incident where things nearly went wrong, due to some odd camera work.

So to the set the scene .. his friends have pranked him and wrapped his precious car in Pink!

Here is Tanner before the reveal:

Then he opens his eyes and sees his car!

But the camera operator decides to PAN and show the car, and then back to his reaction. Here is the car shot.

So they miss some of his reaction. (Note: Yes there are other cameras operating but they seem to be uncoordinated ie. not well Directed - so I'll stick to the notion that we only have one Camera to film with!)

Then the Operator pans back to Tanner ... for more reaction.

So the point here? This shot of the car ...


.. could have been filmed afterwards (wide, camera moving in slowly and close ups - at least 4 shots) as POV's (Point of View shots - as if we are looking from Tanners position at the car) and then edited over as B-ROLL at any point (or several times) during his reaction.

The camera could have just stayed on him ALL the time to grab 100% of his reaction. This reduces the risk, since panning away at the wrong moment could have missed the best reaction.

You can watch the Video from the relevant timecode here so it will all make sense:

Now you may be thinking .. WTH I don't film pinked out car Pranks? How does this apply in other circumstances when you only have one camera?

Ok, so imagine ..

  • You are recording a talk, the Keynote Speaker is getting very animated or you sense about to deliver the punch line BUT you are pointing the camera at the audience. No need! Audience reaction shots can be filmed during a different less animated part of the talk (or during another talk altogether) and used as B-roll.
  • You are filming doc style, a Yoga lesson .. and you get intrigued by the flowers in the corner of the room or the photogenic students. Yes, it will make great B-roll for later but your priority is to capture the Teacher welcoming the class and starting off the exercise on camera (ignore the rest for now) .. before you get into the B-roll. eg. a shot of a student listening to the teacher can be grabbed during a later exercise and inserted as B-Roll during the first one.
  • You are filming at a Birthday Party and move the camera to a close up of the cake design and candles, whilst everyone is singing and reacting. No need! Ask to film B-roll of the cake for a few seconds before the singing starts.

In short don't panic and swing your camera around too much. Think "What's critical and what can be picked up later?"



ps. Want to learn more Video Directing tips Over my shoulder? Check out the Video Case Studies and Super Shots inside the NEW Video Hero Membership :)


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