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Step 1: Film Something, Anything! Step 2: Review

Step 1: Film Something, Anything!  Step 2: Review

First things first, 90% of what you will be doing is controlled by a simple web camcorder.  They are surprisingly high in quality, and just as easy to operate.  The majority of your use will consist of the power button, starting to record, and stopping.  I don’t mean to sound condescending, it is just the truth.  The magic is in deciding what to record and in editing.  The filming itself is very straightforward.  

So to begin, go play with your camcorder.  I’m serious.  Film something, so long as you are recording you are on the right track.  The point is to go use the camcorder then set-back and reflect on what you can do to record better next time.  Why?  Because you will not be an expert until you practice.  No shortcuts here.  So to help get you started right, we will walk you through the first practice recordings with this video.


After you have recorded a little test footage, you can go ahead and transfer it to your computer to take a peek at your first video dabblings.  Beware, they will be shaky and nowhere near pro quality, but that is normal, and that is why we are here to help.  So to learn how to get those video clips onto your computer for the first time watch the following video.


Zooming may seem like the perfect solution to getting a little closer to your subject, but resist the temptation.  Although it achieves what you’d like (getting closer) the cost is far greater than you’d expect.  Simple camcorders lose quality when zooming.  So if you’d like a closer shot… get closer.  Scientific, I know, but little tricks like this will greatly improve your video.  All the details are outlined in this video.


Whether zooming or moving closer there is a limit to how close you can get.  This varies camera to camera but the rule of thumb is about a foot.  So when looking to include the finer details of the inside of a toy robot, the painting you are reviewing, or those ants marching toward their hill keep the camera the minimum distance away to keep everything in focus and looking fantastic.  To see examples of what we are describing, the following video is available for you to enjoy.


Next on the list is the most common culprit for footage being ruined.  Light.  It seems obvious, yet when you are filming it can be easy to overlook.  Bright light, low light, and contrasting light.  These encompass the lighting situations you will encounter in real-world filming.  Understanding what causes them and how to avoid them will save you time and frustration.  So learn the basics and get ahead of the curve.  


Last but not least, where is your audio coming from, what background noises are there, and how can you avoid them? This is so important because audio disruptions are a nightmare while editing. The built-in microphone on an inexpensive camcorder is amazing, but it has limitations. These are evident in noisy rooms, on windy days, and when audio is too far away. So know your camera and record the best possible audio.  




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