When constructing a video sequence, especially for documentary, it is important to imagine how your video will look on the screen, how it will "cut together". The good video maker adapts to the situation, using what you come across throughout the videoing process! Whatever you do, keep the message in mind and look for opportunities.
Documentary style can give the camera some freedom and a shot such as the broken "Welcome to..." sign to a town can really help the editor give the audience that message, though it may not have been planned. When videoing you should have an image of the whole video in your head, what you’ve recorded, how it will edit together, and what you need. When you come across an opportunity or a situation you know instantly how to respond, where to place the camera, how it will edit into the final scenes and how your sequences will edit together. Imagine a kitchen scene; you might video some shots preparing food, some cooking and some eating. If you are inspired you might decide to use a series of shots showing in different angles how the food is chopped, sliced, diced, fried, boiled and served. This gives the editor a rhythmic, stylish sequence adding a light hearted feel and quickening the pace of the video. Record wide shots and close ups in a logical, story led order i.e. what the chef is looking at (close up shot of her face), a knife (wide shot as she picks it up), which is chopping onions (close up of the onions and blurring knife), which is being put into a pan (overhead shot of the onions falling into the water). You not only tell a story, but you tell it in an interesting way.
A common technique in fiction video technique, but also used in documentary, is to video from different angles. If you video someone walking down a corridor it might serve to stimulate interest in the scene if you show the event from different angles. If you have more than one camera and they don’t get in each other’s shots you can do this in one take. Alternatively you can ask the person to do the walk several times and film them from a different angle each time. When you come to the edit, these can edit together much easier. You may start with a wide of the whole corridor, a medium shot of the person walking to camera, a close up of the persons feet and then an extreme close up of their face. (See diagram).
Generally speaking there are different techniques or styles used for the two main formats of film, Fiction and Documentary.
The key signature of camera work for narrative fiction film is the pace. Because of planning time and rehearsing your camera will be well placed to get all the action and may even be mounted on tracks (see appendices) or a wheelchair for that smooth tracking in shot to the actors face! Pans should be smooth, we should not see microphones and scenes will be well lit and recorded. All aspects of the mechanics of video recording are hidden.
In recent years this has developed more because of the accessibility of cameras. So we have the video diary style, with the camera pointed at the video maker. The fly on the wall style is handheld and squeezes into every room. The secret videoing format is low quality as the camera is hidden. Handheld camera is the most common aspect of all these styles used because of flexibility and speed, you also may not have permission to mount a tripod. Crews seen in mirrors and mics are forgiven, interviewers can be heard and often seen. The mechanics of video recording are apparent. The key is to still use a tripod if at all possible, keep production values high, aim for the narrative standard and keep the message central.