Tips for a recording novice?

Hi there, I've enjoyed recording and editing videos from my old camera and recently decided to invest in a camcorder for higher quality videos.

I mostly do two things:

-Record horses running, jumping, etc.

-Record myself/myself and somebody talking into the camera.

The camcorder I got is the Sony HDR-CX280. I'm completely new to owning a camcorder and I'd like any tips you guys can offer on how to get good shots, what settings I should fiddle with and anything else. If you have links to good videos or articles that'd be good too, I'm having trouble finding things.

Thanks!

1 Answer

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  • 7 years ago
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    The best way to get quality videos is by making them often. Trial and error will be your greatest help when becoming familiar with your equipment and filming techniques. A few basic things to always remember are:

    Stabilize the camera - Doing anything possible to get the camera out of your shaky hands and mounted to a tripod or monopod. This alone will increase the quality of everything you film.

    Plan your shot - Remember the film is to tell a story. If you move the camera around constantly and/or zoom in and out as you see things, the quality of your video will degrade greatly (this is how we often see people filming public events, fights, etc). If you know the horses are going to move left to right, plan a steady panning shot that follows them from left to right at a consistent pace and zoom level.

    Lighting - The sun is your best lighting source and can fill a scene perfectly when you're filming. Try to avoid filming into the sun, and if you need to, invest in an UV filter to cut down lens flares from unwanted light. When filming indoors, try to use natural sunlight from a window, or use 5600K lights to simulate sunlight.

    Audio - If you're focusing on dialogue, be sure to invest in a microphone that is not built in to the camera. Even very expensive cameras have generally poor microphones. If you're going to be speaking over a video look into doing ADR with a desktop microphone or lav. If you want to capture audio from the scenes you're filming look into a rode vidmic or a shotgun mic (if you have a friend willing to hold a mic boom).

    Coloring - Sony loves to add a "cinema" profile to their cameras. This looks great inside the camera as you're filming, but I suggest avoiding the use of this color profile as it often over-saturates the colors you're filming. If you film in a "flat" color profile, you can always ramp the colors up in post (crap in -> crap out, quality in -> quality out).

    When all else fails, go out and film. You'll be your own worst critic when you watch your footage after you film. Make notes of what you like about your shots and what you hate. Once you've done that, practice making your shots better every time.

    Source(s): Film Junkie
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