Videography Tips For Your Video Success

One of the best things I did recently was take a working holiday as volunteer videographer with a charity local to where I live. The video would be for a 30 minute documentary about the work of a children’s charity. We travelled as a group to several rehabilitation hospitals in several cities in Vietnam.

As a speaker I am always trying to perfect my story telling ability. But as a videographer, my role now shift to being on the outside looking in; first to recognize a story, then to immediately capture it in video. I already started putting to use a video arsenal doing video blogs for my website. Some skills of videography I already knew and practised. But several events caught me by surprise and helped me grow my expertise.

Here was my scenario. I was travelling with our team of 11 plus interpreters to hospitals giving full day workshops to parents and young children with cerebral palsy. Rooms were tight. It was hot and humid. Near the end of day the children were tired and crying. At times I had to jump from room to room capturing scenes of the children ranging in age from 9 months to 17 years. I was looking to capture emotion in the faces of the mothers and their children. I also wanted to profile each of our health care professionals who volunteered to work with these children.

We would leave our hotel by 7 am and not be back until 5 pm most days. Along with wanting to visit and dine with our team in the evening, I usually had no less than 2 hours of work in my room backing up, reviewing and indexing all the days video I collected. But I was in my element as there was a lot going on around me. I felt I had a story to capture and tell. What follows are tips I learned which I would like to share.

1) Don’t assume you will only be holding the camera and capturing video. You may also have to jump in and be the producer, choreographer & editor – everything from beginning to end of producing the video. Also, you being the editor will empower you to capture the video just the way you want it and save you valuable time editing later.

2) Make sure you have enough battery power – enough to power a full day of camera work. Buy the largest battery you can. I had 2; 1 for the morning and 1 for the afternoon. We were out for 12 hours some days. Also ensure you buy an external battery charger. The built in charger of the camera is a poor standby. Don’t rely on it when you are shooting every day on a road trip. You wouldn’t want to risk blowing the electronics of the camera while charging the battery. One reality was that I did not have a backup camera. If it broke, I would be sitting idle.

3) Have a travel backpack you can easily carry and access during your daily video hopping. I had 2. The main one was my carry-on with all my video gear contained. When travelling you do not want to check-in your delicate video gear. For your day outings, have a smaller backpack with lots of pockets that you can comfortably sling over your shoulder or back so you can access easily while shooting.

4) Have a long extension chord for your hotel room when you backup your video and recharge your batteries each evening. I took this tip from a work colleague who travels internationally and it saved me big time. The hotels we stayed in usually had only 1 plug that was easily accessible, albeit across the room from where all my laptop and video gear was set. If I didn’t have this long power cord with me, I would be in dire straights.

5) Backup your videos each evening to an external drive if not two. Review them to ensure they copied over properly before deleting from your camera. I made 2 backup copies; 1 in the laptop drive and another on an external USB drive.

6) Have a laptop with video viewer so you can review your videos to ensure you have the shots you want that aren’t jerky or out of focus. I had my video previewer installed on my laptop so I can quickly watch my video of the day, I.e. lighting, panning or maybe too much jittery motion. Mistakes made today can be corrected for tomorrow’s shoot.

7) Ensure you have enough spare SD memory cards. Sometimes they can go bad or get lost due to their small size. You may also have found good content and decided to shoot longer to capture everything.

8) Have a wrist strap attached to your camera. If your camera slips out of your hand, you have 1 more chance to save your camera from bouncing on the concrete. This saved me several times, especially in a hot climate when work days were 10+ hours and I was tired.

9) The wrist strap should have some branding on it like your country flag. Mine was a red TEDx lanyard and actually started several conversations with other tourists and eventual biz card exchange.

10) Wear hiking shorts with LOTS of pockets. I had SD cards, batteries, notepad, pen, water bottle and everything else in every pocket.

11) Tripods are big and bulky. I had a telescopic carbon monopod which was great at getting me into tight spots quickly. It also adjusts on-the-fly. It was so comfortable to hold and adjust the telescopic legs. It was also great for going over people’s heads when a crowd developed around my subject matter. Overhead shots add dramatic affect also. There’s nothing like getting right into the story subject.

12) You may have a story in mind but be prepared to follow a segway story or 2 that may unravel right before your eyes. You must always be on the lookout for scenes and stories developing around you. Have your camera on and microphone running to capture that video clip with good sound. These can be blessings in disguise to give your story a twist or spinoff. Remember, you may also collect enough good footage for 2 or 3 additional stories, to be edited and released at a later date.

13) Always have your video camera at hand during your filming day – even in the evening when you are out for dinner with your team. You never know when a video story could break out in front of you. You want to be able to capture it. During a cab ride I got a very insightful opinion from one of our Vietnamese interpreters about the history of CP in Vietnam. Genuine episodes like that just cannot be repeated.

14) Always have your camera visible around your team or subject matter. Your subjects will get so accustomed to you they eventually won’t know whether you are filming them or not. This is great to capture those candid shots. My purpose was to capture them at work around the parents and children as candid as possible. We all know that as soon as a camera appears, people go stonefaced, guarded and rehearsed. You want to capture them as relaxed, candid and natural as possible.

15) Be sure to have a variety of energy bars and snacks including water in your pack or pockets. I didn’t and there were days where we weren’t eating for awhile. You want to keep your energy up. Nothing worse than a hunger pain or thirst to distract you from your videotaping.

16) Most important, do a daily index of all your video clips while the day is still fresh in your mind. I started to slip after the first several days and began to forget what clips were from where. I quickly corrected that by doing an excel sheet on my laptop, indexing by clip number and briefly describing the scene, location and the significance. I did this every evening in my hotel room, while charging up the batteries and doing backups. If you know what story line you want to follow, you can start marking specific clips for use in your documentary. This saves you time when you get back home. I also found it very helpful to review all clips each evening so it would become embedded in my mind; what I had enough of and what was still needed.

17) Keep your video clips no more than 2-3 minutes long, even 1 minute in duration. Once I returned to Canada, I found that it is much faster to find a video clip by searching 5 one minute clips, than to search 1 clip 5 minutes in length. This discovery completely surprised me.

18) My key subject Laverne and I made an agreement that whenever she felt an epiphany of emotional commentary ready to surface, she would signal for me to come over asap and video her monologue. These commentaries would be sprinkled throughout the documentary to reflect truly what transpired during our 3 week mission. It helps for the videographer to get to know their subject person fast by spending some time with them over coffee, a drink or a meal. In this case it was easy as Laverne and I have become good friends over the past several years.

Upon returning to our hotel at the end of day, we always had a 1 hour debrief in the dining area, giving each team member a chance to share anything they wished, whether related to their workshop or their true feelings in general. This was the time I used to get some ideas for other video clips I could capture next day. It was also a great way to team build and share your experiences as a group in a distant country.

There you have it; my tips for aspiring videographers. I am already looking forward to my next video trip where I will further strengthen my skills mentioned above. Happy video journaling!

Be Relieved From Christmas Shopping Stress

Do you already feel the ice-cold breezy air? Hear “Jingle Bells” over televisions or radios or see bulk shoppers in your favorite malls? Don’t ask why, because it already Christmas time! Yes, Christmas is finally here! This is the time when people do Christmas Shopping as part of their preparation for gift giving, Christmas celebration and numerous Christmas parties. Yet, Christmas is so stressful because we tend to be very busy for the entire holiday season. So, how do we manage our stress? Below are five New Jersey residents who share their extraordinary views on how they cope up stress during Christmas season.

To keep away from stress, Anne Gadsden does Christmas Shopping in a contemporary way-that is through online shopping. Before she starts surfing the internet, she puts first a classic music on her CD player to give a light ambiance for her online shopping. Anne, a mother of three uttered that she had already done holiday shopping and started to do online shopping for relatives living outside New Jersey. She usually browsed Amazon and when doing online shopping. She said she saved at least $25 because online companies usually offer free shipping. Above all, online shopping is indeed a stress free activity for holiday shopping.

The best way to avoid stress is to shop as early as possible according to Tasha Crimson. Tasha, a grandmother of eight asserted that she hates holiday shopping rush, so, she decided to shop all summer long to Independence Day to Labor Day all way up to Thanksgiving Day. Giving her self ample time to shop makes her free from stress. Besides, she does not want to freeze while running from store to store.

Bob Caprioti’s shopping style is something different. Perhaps, it might not his style but his wife’s. This man from Wanaque really hates shopping but his wife loves shopping. So, Bob simply delegates his wife to shop everything for their families, including of course the Christmas needs of their three children. In his family, it is his wife who is tasked to do shopping. He just lets his wife does what she wants and in return, his wife lets him does also what he wants. When Bob was asked: Does your wife purchase gifts for her and label it from Bob? He answered: “No, I don’t do that. It is my mother who does buying gifts for my wife. My mother loves also to shop, so I let her buy my presents for my wife. I usually accompany my mother to Willowbrook Mall during holiday seasons and other occasions, especially when I am required to give a gift for my wife. So, I am worry free because I have my mother to choose what is best for my wife!”

Shopping style can be very different, maybe because of our individuality or because of our unique beliefs. For instance, a lady named Angela Rodriguez of Fair Lawn does shopping right after Christmas festivity. So, when she was asked about her shopping style, Angela smiled and said, “Shopping style? I do not go shopping until the last day of Christmas. I always wait until after Christmas because my family came from Peru and we do have a big Feast of the Three Wise Men early in January. It’s the time when we get together. So, during Christmas, I just hang out with my friends in New York where I work. That’s basically the benefit of being single. Then, when New Year comes, I travel to Florida for a week or two just to be with my family. I usually travel without luggage because I ship it early, so, traveling is not painful and stressful for me,” said Angela.

Everybody loves to shop just like Tamara Williams. She loves to shop in a crowded stores or Malls. She might start shopping late but not that really late anymore. Tamara used to such holiday shopping rush because she is a full time University student at the same time a store keeper. It was Tamara’s hectic schedule that usher her to do a last hour shopping. Sometimes, she made final purchases at the stores until closing. Still, Tamara enjoys shopping for Christmas holiday!

Jobs Working From Home For College and University Students

If you’re a student attending college or a university, it can be difficult to balance a workload from your classes and a job. Even if your school schedule allows time for a job, the hours that are available for students can sometimes be hard on your personal schedule. Nevertheless, the necessity of money prevails and eventually sacrifices are going to need to be made. Stay at home jobs could be the answer to your problems.While some can successfully balance a job and full time hours in college, an option that often gets overlooked is that of a job working from home. If one can be obtained, it can mean or more flexible schedule for the student pursuing a degree while having a need to work their way through college.Now, finding a legitimate job working from home can be a little bit frustrating, but luckily there are plenty of real options for making money from home. For instance, since most colleges require their students to take at least one advanced writing course, the skills learned in those courses can be applied to online writing jobs. There are many websites that have a pool of articles that need to be written for the website’s affiliates. Most of the time these websites require an application with a writing sample, but once you’ve been taken on as a writer, its easy to make an income working from home.Another option open to technologically savvy students is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is process in which you get paid for posting advertisements for products on various websites. When someone buys the product or clicks on your advertisement, you get a cut of the money. The amount of your commission depends on which affiliate program you use, but there are well-documented stories of people making a decent amount of money through affiliate marketing.However, while the appeal of a job working from home may be too much resist, it must be noted that there are people out there ready to take advantage of people who want stay at home jobs. There are scammers who try to sell products promising to make you an online millionaire when the reality of the matter is really much different. Yes, some people make a fortune with online businesses, but these people usually worked a tremendous amount of hours in order to obtain this wealth and they’ve had a bit of luck along the way too.So, while it is a little unrealistic to expect to make enough money to drop out of college, getting employed working from home is not so unrealistic and idea. If you apply your skills you’ve learned while attending college, as well as working with things you are passionate about, its definitely possible to make a decent living (or at least enough to get you through your college years) with a job working from home.