Recording tips for a perfect video

May 01, 1991|By Linda Chion-Kenney | Linda Chion-Kenney,Special to The Evening Sun

TO PRESERVE ON video a slice of life in the family kitchen sample the following recipe, as submitted by Sean Sellman of Coastal Production Studio of Randallstown:


1 videocassette recorder or camcorder

1 high-quality, high-grade tape

* Prepare for the shoot. Have all ingredients out and ready within arm's reach. Select clothing carefully. Avoid red, velvet, pinstripes, herringbone and other intricately designed patterns. Best bets: blues and soft colors.

* Pick your spot. If the kitchen has an island, film from in front of your subject. If the counter is against the wall, stand alongside your subject, but pose her so she's facing you at an angle. Don't film a person standing in front of a window. Your subject will darken in contrast to a sunny day's bright light. (If it's unavoidable, learn to use your camera's "backlight" feature.) At night, watch for glares and reflections of light.

* Set the "white balance." It's your camera's way of knowing whether it's compensating for outdoor light, or for indoor, artificial light. In a room that's lighted with a mixture of both, set the balance manually, if your camera has that feature. From where you're filming, focus the camera on something white and then push the manual set button.

* Cue the actors. Instruct them to relax, speak clearly and to frequently look directly at the camera.

* Keep things quiet on the set. A camera's internal microphone is very sensitive: it hears the toddler playing upstairs, the television playing downstairs and the radio playing outdoors. Close windows and use an external microphone for better sound quality.

* Use a tripod for a steady shot.

* Break the recipe into segments and use the "fade-in/out" control for transitions to show time elapsing.

* Consider narration as a building block. With each fade-in, for example, you could quickly summarize where you are ("We've just finished sauteeing and simmering the garlic, onions, scallions and carrots for ten minutes") and what you're about to do next ("We'll now combine the remaining ingredients.")

* Allow for rollback. After you fade out and before you turn the camera off, run the video for an extra five seconds. That way when you start up again, you won't erase the last few seconds of your previous segment.

* Zoom in on the action, so when your subject says she "slices the carrots like this," you can see what she's talking about.

* For more professional results, check the telephone book for listings under "Video Production" or "Video Tape Duplication Service." Companies are in business to help you shoot and edit your footage and to add titles, music, narration and special effects.

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