Choosing a Camera and Shooting Tips

Movies for Makers #001

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by Zach Wolfson in Movies for Makers
March 15, 2016 4 comments

When it’s time to start making videos, you may be asking yourself, “what camera do I use?” You may worry the camera you have isn’t good enough, or that you’ll end up spending more money than you need to on a new one.

In the first episode of Movies for Makers, Zach and Jen share how to choose a camera that’s right for you, a bunch of shooting tips to help you get started making great videos yourself, and we answer live questions, too.



Choosing a camera that’s right for you:

(1:06) First, ask yourself:

  • What camera(s) do you already have available to you?
  • What kinds of videos do you want to make?

(3:38) If you have a smartphone, that’s everything you need to start.

  • There are stability issues and audio issues with smartphones to be aware of and that you can work around.
  • Consider buying a smartphone tripod mount adapter and a table-top tripod.
  • In episode 3 we’ll dig into how to work with the audio issues.

(7:58) If you plan to only make videos in your studio/workspace and you don’t have a smartphone (or it’s an older model), consider buying a Logitech C920 webcam.

  • With enough light, the C920 produces a really great image.
  • It has a built-in microphone, but it’s not the best.
  • It really simplifies editing by recording directly onto your computer.
  • And, it costs less than $100.

(15:54) If you already have another camera that you are really comfortable with, like a DSLR, go ahead and use it. But for simplicity, we suggest streamlining your learning process and using your smartphone or a webcam to start with.

Shooting Tips:

(16:43) Smartphone Shooting Tips:

  • “Flip it 90” and use landscape mode when you’re recording videos on your smartphone.
  • Nearly every smartphone has 2 lenses: The forward-facing one will help you capture better quality than the “selfie” one.

(19:11) General Shooting Tips:

  • Match your (or the subject’s) eyeline
  • Be mindful of your background: Keep it simple, clean it up for the moment so it’s not distracting
  • Create soft lighting simply with window light
  • Use a tripod for stabilization
  • Use your laptop as a monitor, when possible

Questions and Answers:

  • (31:24) Do you use a remote if you’re recording yourself with a smartphone?
  • (37:00) How would you coach other people with tips for filming you?
  • (41:03) Any tips for recording workshop material?
  • (44:17) What’s an easy way to record screencasts or interviews on a PC or Mac?
  • (48:13) How to increase the quality of recordings over the internet?

Products and Resources that We Mentioned (some of these are affiliate links):

Want more?

Here’s a list of every episode in the first season of Movies for Makers. Experience the live show on Mondays, and episode replays on Tuesdays.

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10 (Easy-to-Use) Tech Tools to Create & Publish Videos for Your Creative Business

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