CORPORATE VIDEO PRODUCTION MISTAKE 6. DON’T USE A TRIPOD OR OTHER CAMERA SUPPORT
Video production pros know that a steady camera is critical to getting a good, interesting image. If the camera is bouncing around, the viewer gets distracted and often, annoyed. If the viewer’s mind is busy following the subject around the screen, it won’t be concentrating on your message.
At certain times, a moving camera becomes an art form, such as is seen in music videos. But corporate videos are typically not music videos. Keep the camera on the tripod and keep the camera movements smooth.
When the video production pros shoot, there are a wide variety of camera mounts available for image stabilization. These include various sizes of tripods, jib arms, cranes, dollies and a Steadicam®.
The most common camera mount is the tripod. It’s portable, easily transported, and functions well at getting most of the basic shots. It provides a stable mount for lock down shots, zooms, pans and tilts. Here you see one in use in a video production we did outdoors in France.
You always want your video production tripod to be sturdy enough to support the weight of the camera and anything else that might be added to it. A good example is this prompter which goes in front of the camera so that the speaker can be looking at the words while appearing to look right at the lens.
Here’s a look at a video production dolly, with the camera operator on board, and the dolly grip pushing it on tracks. The dolly gives great smooth shots, but due to the expense of rental and the two people needed to operate it, it can be a pricey addition to the program.
Below we are using a jib arm in preparation to making swooping and climbing shots of a store facade. The jib can be rented in various sizes and can create an almost 3D look, as it can be made to travel in three axes above and around the subject. It needs a trained operator.
Another less intimidating arm would be a smaller version of the jib which allows the camera operator to raise or lower the shot smoothly. This is called “pedding up” or “pedding down” short for raising or lowering the pedestal of the camera. This move is different from tiliting up or down with a tripod. Also, this mount is easily mastered and requires less training than the large jib arm.
While the jib can move extensively around a subject, for true 3D views, a Steadicam® is called for. This is a specialized harness that needs to be used by an experienced camera operator. It can give dramatic looks at the subject, including moving smoothly around them for 360 degrees or more. Unless you have a Steadicam® and trained operator, don’t follow your subject around with the camera – leave it to the pros.