The following info is just my opinion and I feel that there are many ways you can improve as a videographer these are my tips, I am willing to share that I have learned over my twenty years of being a videographer.
So, you have a camera and you want to up your filmmaking game? There are many things you can do to achieve this. For one you need to get out there and shoot. It doesn’t matter if it is a paid project or not. The main thing is to get behind the camera and shoot. You could be shooting a family event or your wife and daughter cooking, the point is you need a lot of time behind the camera to get great results. In fact, find something you are passionate about and shoot it. I had always wanted to shoot someone who does leather work. So, I found someone local and shot it for free. Why? Because it allowed me to use a new camera for one, and because it allowed me to work in a real life environment. It gave me a chance to figure out the camera. I didn’t get paid, but that was okay I gained a lot of knowledge.
You also will learn more about how your lenses react in different lighting situations, interviews, and broll footage. Learning more about your lenses will help you develop your shooting style. You may think you like to shoot with a 50mm lens but after all, you find out that 35mm is really your sweet spot.
Going out to shoot will also allow you to develop muscle memory. Muscle memory is needed especially if you plan on shooting fast paced activities or events. Videographers call this type of shooting running and gunning. It’s fast paced and you need to know how your camera works in order to deliver stunning images. Nothing is worse then missing a shot because you couldn’t find the correct button or menu that needed to be changed.
You will also gain a vast amount of knowledge regarding lighting and how it effects your shots, the mood of your story and what works and what doesn’t. I have set my kids in front of the camera just so I could play around with my interview lighting set up. I see what works and what doesn’t. There is nothing wrong with doing this, in fact it helps you become more creative since you are doing it in your spare time. You find what works and then you can take those same lights and the same light set up and use them on a paying gig. Practice, practice practice, makes you better and when you become better at your craft people will notice. Lighting to some may seem boring but it’s lighting that separates the amateurs from the pros. Lighting is the icing in the cake that makes great films look the way they do.
Another tip for better video production is to read articles and search out answers that you may have regarding videography. Read the responses in forums and see if there is anything you can gain. There are many knowledgeable filmmakers who respond to post within videographer forums and or Facebook filmmaking groups. Folks, this is free knowledge!
Another great way to learn more about filmmaking and videography work is to buy a class from Master Class. Master Class is an online educational tool that has some courses taught by filmmakers. You must pay, however the knowledge you get out of the online courses are amazing. You get the chance to view it at your own leisure. Never think you know it all, once you start thinking that you stop learning and growing.
Pay attention to sound. Sound is half the picture. Without sound people tune out. Try watching a film without sound and you will be lost. However, turn the volume up on a movie and close your eyes and you know more about the film with just sound than you would if you had no sound. Learn about how you can use different types of music to help create the mood of your video. Music is very strong and evokes emotion that helps drive the story you are trying to tell. You could also learn about sound design and how it helps bring life to a film. The swooshes, sound effects that are layered are in films for a reason. They too help elevate the film and give the viewer a better experience.
Gear is great but you need to learn how to use it and use it in different situations. Case in point, I went to shoot a mini doc on a boxer. I was planning on interviewing them and was going to use my soft box for the interview lighting. Well, I forgot my soft box, but I did have a silk with me. I knew by experimenting that I could still make my light which was a hard light into a soft light by placing the silk in front of the hard light. Sure, enough I stretched the silk and hung it by using two light stands and the result was great. I wouldn’t have known that if I never experimented in my free time with lights and different diffusion material. What makes you a great videographer is being a great problem solver.
This information I am telling you about is great to read but the point is for you to go out and experiment. No one gets better just by reading…. you must put in the work. I have embedded some of my work down below. I wish you the best.