An All-inclusive Videography Guide for Beginners - Part 1 [Fundamental Elements]
They catch your eye, they appeal to your senses, and they stick with you forever. Is there a better love affair than people and films? Probably not. As this age-old romance will continue to woo folks worldwide, videography becomes simplified, accessible, cheaper, and a lot less complex. Get on our trolly to touch down all the major aspects of video making using all the latest tools, software, and techniques. There is a lot to know about the dos and don’ts and the know-how of this creative domain. Let’s start with the basics.
Know The Difference
As a fresher to the wide world of moving film, you must know what the difference between filmmaking, videography and cinematography is. The core difference lies in their productions- video production has fewer, less complicated and usually less expensive elements than film & cinema production.
Rule of thumb - The three professions are not to be used synonymously, i.e. you shouldn’t make the mistake of using them interchangeably in any context. To avoid this mistake, study and understand what makes each of them different, unique and purposeful.
Now that you know what builds these closely related but different domains, it is time to jump into the technicalities of videography plus some elements of cinematography, photography, and filmmaking, so that when your wedding videographer or a freelance filmmaker is trying to throw jargons at you, you know exactly what is what. Since all big production houses run on a big budget, they have such professionals who give shape to a final grand product. But as all you beginners want to produce a winning film equivalent to the quirks of a Warner Bros production, here is where you start.
How To Create Interesting And Entertaining Videos?
Before you hold up and point your camera, build with a solid foundation. Nourish your understanding of these two factors that make a video viral:
- A harmonious blend of 7 elements of videography
- The best videography equipment
Let's begin by taking a look at each factor individually.
7 Elements of Videography
Video-making is an amalgamation of seven major elements. This starts by mindfully choosing, placing, and shooting these major aspects. To learn videography, focus on perfecting these:
1. Location- Type Video Shoot
It is the job of the Director of Photography to find the perfect location for a shot. The right shot can go a long way in defining what impact it has on the viewer. That is the magic & power of good photography.
Don’t you have an unquenched curiosity of what it would be like in outer space? Of course, yes! That is because you know whatever you know about the cosmos from pictures and videos. As a videographer, you would want to develop the same curiosity in the viewer's mind. This is possible only when you take them to an interesting location. Let the ambience and landscape work magic in your video. Be it for a wedding, social film, photoshoot, or anything for the production angle- choose your locations wisely. This is a great technique to make mundane actions seem pleasing. Wedding video locations are more picturesque, while traditional filmmaking ones are more realistic.
PS: Imagine a Greenwich, London wedding video shot at the Queen's House.
2. Dialogues- Type of Video Scene
If there are some dialogues in a video, the audience would like to see the source (for the mind likes to make a mental note). Hence, keep voice-overs to a minimum. Go for a direct dialogue with your customers or viewers and be on camera! Captivate their attention by saying what you have to in the most interesting manner. This is where scriptwriting comes in handy. The city of London (again- emphasis on how many beautiful venues this city has for film shooting & wedding videography) is known for its theatres as old as time. The theatre is the mother of modern-day perception of dialogue. So find a professional who writes like a playwright.
3. Costume- Type of Video Shot
The biggest selling points of all popular videos or films are their stories, shooting POVs and actors. But what makes an actor relevant to the role is how well he adapts to his persona, his on-camera presence and his props, i.e. costumes. You don’t need a costume designer or image consultant for this. Plan out something vibrant, eye-catchy, and unconventional (bizarre sells) enough to fulfil your purpose and glue your audience to the screen.
4. Action- Type of Story/Video
Interesting is effective. Hence, bizarre, weird or ‘avant-garde’ as they call it, sells quickly. Give the viewer something to think about, something that teases his emotions and of high entertainment value. As a videographer, you can accomplish this when your on-camera actions have enough jazz or oomph.
5. Sound effect/music- Type of Mood
Sometimes music does the trick. It is powerful enough to convey the sentiments in any scene. Just use the right background music, and effects to minimize heavy usage of words.
6. Props- Mood & Statement of Video
Props are the elements you use in your video to add accent or elements to it. The right amount and types of props can make a world of difference. Try and adjust the contrasting props to add to the beauty of your production. Remember not to cluster up. After all, minimalism is the new black. For weddings, the props are essentially brought together during the wedding planning. So the photographer or videographer needs additional things to define the mood or statement of the shots. Video production as a part of filmmaking is a completely different ball game. There has to be meticulous planning and arrangement of thoughts presented in every shot, scene and display. Props aren't limited to objects on and around the actors. There is also careful planning in their placement, colours, etc.
7. Characters- Strengthen Storytelling
For any visually depicted story, its characters are the window to the world. Ultimately, it is through these characters, which magnetically pull a viewer towards it. Moreso, they successfully do the job of putting across the desired message. As a videographer, build an interesting character that ties all your efforts together. Since you aspire to be a top-notch videographer (with whatever resources you have), it is essential to educate yourself on the areas to focus (as mentioned above) and acquire only the necessary gear. Here is a checklist of the right tools you will need.
The Best Videography Equipment
As a budding videomaker & Director of Photography, your next step should be to equip yourself with the right tools, gear and software. Here is the utterly basic yet relevant videography equipment for beginners checklist:
- Cameras - Smartphone, Point and shoot cameras, DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and action cameras
- Video Lighting kit
- Wireless microphone, shotgun mics, USB mics, and clip-on lavalier mics
- Editing software
- A range of lenses
- Light reflector
- Spare batteries
- Memory card
This basic videographer gear combined with the fundamental aspects works magic only if you have an understanding of how to capture footage. This skill, although tricky to master, includes essentials like shot compositions, frame formation, aspect ratio, camera settings for making videos and choosing the best camera shots with movements. But we will simplify all the technical tidbits for you in the second part of this guide.