How To Film and Record Sound
3.1 How Do You Use A Camera?
- Power/mains supply - Cameras can use the mains electricity or a supplied battery.
- Camera and playback mode - Camera mode for recording and playback mode for viewing.
- Stills camera mode - Some cameras allow you to take digital photos on your camera.
- Tapes - The best type is mini digital video (miniDV), because you can edit these on your PC.
- Record - The record button both starts and stops recording.
- Zoom - The zoom magnifies good and bad camera work! Turn "digital" zooms off.
- On board camera microphone - Awful quality but sometimes it is your only option.
- Auto settings - Most cameras have a fully automatic setting, which is fine when learning.
- Looking after your camera - Clean the lens and the video heads.
- Menus and special effects - Unless you are sure how you want your final image to look, don’t alter your image at all.
- Editing in camera - This method requires no editing and having no mistakes on tape but it isn’t easy!
- Create a film using only still shots - You can do this using the editing software in chapter 4. It simplifies filming and means beginners can create a very watchable piece.
3.2 How Do You Use A Tripod?
Tripods add a level of professionalism to your shots and are especially useful when zooming in to a distant subject.
- You can set them up on uneven ground - This is useful when you are not sure whether it is you, or your subject which is on a slant!
- When, and when not, to use - Tripods create a sense of calm. Handheld cameras create tension, but can make you feel sick!
3.3 How Do You Use Lighting?
By imitating photos you like when you are filming you can learn new styles.
- Sunlight - Great for landscapes, difficult for interviews as the shadows tend to be black.
- Cloudy days - Can give a great moody feel to the shot, but can give a very general "flat" light.
- Which direction to shoot in - Generally, shoot with the sun to your back, but it is good to experiment!
- ‘Practical’ or artificial light - Although difficult to use, a well placed lamp can displace or create effective shadows.
3.4 How Do You Record Good Sound?
- Microphone (Mic) positioning - Place the mic as close to the sound source as possible.
- Handling your mic - Be aware of wind noise or "handling" noise.
- Headphones - Wearing headphones helps you notice background noises that sound awful on tape.
- Good voice recording - Keep the microphone very close to your subject.
- Background noise - Background noise is distracting, don’t have any if possible.
- Isolating your subject - If at all possible get your subject somewhere quiet.
- Choosing a good location - Research it first! There is nothing worse than finding out your shoot is under a flight path!
3.5 How Do You Record Sound Effects?
- Use good equipment - Like your camera or a minidisc recorder. You can hire mics cheaply.
- Find a good place to do it - Whatever sound you want, you need it seperate from background noise or "clean".
- In a way that makes your film better - If it’s no good, go out, get a "clean" recording and then paste it over the the old sound!
- Know about copyright - Sound libraries can be expensive, try and source it yourself.
- Get good location sound. - If it was too noisy during filming, go back when it’s quieter.
3.6 How Do You Interview Someone Well?
- appendix This signature is proof that they are ok being on film.
- Put your interviewee at ease - The best way to get the information you want is for you both to be relaxed.
- Maintain eye contact - Make it feel like a normal conversation and that you respect them and value their opinion.
- Listen and respond noiselessly - Don’t talk over them or go "Mmm" to encourage the responses, just nod and smile a lot.
- Noddies - A noddie is the interviewer asking the questions and nodding to responses, handy for editing.
- The still shot - Filming a still image such as a photo helps recreate scenes that can no longer be filmed.
- Cutaways - If an interviewee talks about their car, you would ideally get a shot of it, handy for editing.
3.7 What Different Filming Techniques Are There?
When constructing a film sequence, especially for documentary, it is important to imagine how your filming will look on the screen, how it will "cut together". Generally speaking there are different techniques or styles used for the two main formats of filming, Fiction and Documentary.
- Fiction film techniques - Because fiction films have more time for planning and rehearsing, the camera is well placed often on a tripod, and moves with or in anticipation of the action.
- Documentary film techniques - Handheld camera work is the most common aspect of documentary, it is used because of the need for flexibility and speed.