Tips for amature film person

I am the media head on my robotics team and am in charge of the documentation of pictures and video. I have been doing YouTube for about two years however nothing ever too serious and my quality of documentation this past year were not as good as I think they could be. So I was wondering if anyone has any tips or knows of a good totorial series that I can look into to learn how to become a better filmmaker/photographer?

Hi Yamin,

I’m not in the Media section of our Robotics team, but I do love making documentaries. :smiley: One of the key things to making good videos/photos is having the right equipment – good camera, editing software, tripod, etc.

If you’re currently using iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, (which are both great softwares for editing) they will be sufficient for whatever you need to do. More professional softwares produce more professional videos. You get what you pay for. I use Vegas Pro 13, for example. However, there are ways to produce similar ‘effects’ using a low-cost editor. A great Youtube channel to follow is The Meejah Channel.

For videos for Chairman’s Award, etc, your editing style should vary with your video’s theme. I would suggest watching professional videos that have the same theme as your video. Our team did a ‘News Reporter’ Theme for 2015 Chairman’s Award, so the editing was similar to an actual newscast and had special effects for the on-screen text.

Make sure you keep in mind of the audience’s attention span. If you’re making videos where one person talks for a long period of time, you might want to add photos while the voice-over plays in the background.

That’s all I have for now. I might add more if I come up with anything else. But if you need someone to give suggestions to your team’s videos, I’d be happy to review them. :wink:

Thank you for your tips! :slight_smile: They are much appreciated!

I’m going to disagree with this post. It doesn’t matter what equipment you have - whether it’s your phone, an iPad, or a webcam, it’s about what you’re trying to do.

Come up with a concept, get a team together, and make sure you’re all on the same page with what you’re doing. This doesn’t necessarily mean create a script or a storyboard, because what works for you works for you. You need to commit and follow through on a project.

Then, a week or a month or whenever later return to the video to watch it. I’m sure you’ll take mental notes of what you wish you could have done differently, what you can improve. Keep those in the back of your head when you return to your next project.

You may not have a professional camera or microphone. Use one phone to film and hide another phone near the speaker to capture their audio. You have to make it work yourself and you can’t rely on having professional equipment only.

There are tons of resources out there you can look at for framing shots or colors or editing, but I would encourage you to start on your own first using what you have before you dive into that stuff.

…but I would say audio is incredibly important and you shouldn’t neglect it at all. Use a phone or something like I said. Good luck!

While my day job keeps me behind the camera I can lend a few tips. Remember you are telling a story so all of those rules apply and more. If you are trying to show off the robot for instance, you do have to have a few shots to establish a point of reference. The shots don’t need to be moving, but they do need to give the viewer a starting point from which to begin. Sometimes, as little as a second or two is enough to make the point. Watch TV shows and you will see what I am talking about.
Never think that running hand held is good enough and never think that using a phone is good enough. If you are covering a news shot, the public has gotten use to the little bites they see on CNN. That does not suffice for the kind of documentary you might want people to sit through. Use a tripod when you can and don’t be afraid to get close. In most cases you will not have a quality lens that can make the shot from the next county. Just like driving a robot, you have to practice to get better.
Don’t shoot a scene with a lot of backlight (like an interview in front of windows looking outside). Unless you have a lot of light on your subject, they will be too dark to see against the background. Some backlight is needed to make the subject standout from the background but no so much that it changes the balance of the shot.
There is not substitute for planning. Unless you are shooting news, have a script of some kind so you can be sure to get all the video and audio you need at a particular location to tell your story. Don’t be afraid to shoot “b roll” that will be used for transitions and fill over a long audio segment.
As far as editing tools, whatever you use, know what it can do and use it’s features.
Above all else, watch other people’s work and decide for yourself what you like. It will take a while but you will get an idea of what works and what is a waste of time.

Just make sure your video is
appealing to your purpose,
don’t use transitions just straight cuts of video,
pay attention to audio its more important than your think,
keep your clips really short keeps audience attention,
look to what you consider good video for idea,
and most importantly if you cringe or get bored watching YOUR video they(audience) definitely will be.

If you need any more tips send me a message