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When it comes to the creative arts, there are always exceptions to the rules. But when it comes to the rules of video, it’s important to first understand them, so that you know when you can break them. Here’s a list of the 10 biggest do’s and don’ts in travel videography.

  1. DO take your time. The biggest mistake of beginners is to rush things when filming. You should record a shot for at least 20 seconds and leave 4 seconds at the beginning and 4 at the end without any movement. So if you don’t like your pan, you can still use the 4 seconds without any movement.
  2. DON’T try to zoom manually with a DSLR camera. The temptation will be there if you’re used to zooming with a video camera. But without a motorized zoom, it just looks jerky, not very smooth, and you’ll be out of focus.
  3. DO always use a tripod when you’re shooting video, especially when filming landscapes and when panning. Exceptions: when filming a close-up or fast moving action like a bicycle or people running.
  4. DON’T move too fast. Your panning should be very slow and deliberate and you should move across a straight line. Don’t try to combine a pan with a tilt as it will probably not work very well.
  5. DO always set your focus before you start recording. DSLR cameras don’t automatically focus for you when you start filming. You will have to choose Quick Mode in your Camera Menu under Autofocus settings. Before you start filming, you’ll have to set the little square on a subject you want to focus on and press the shutter release button so that it goes green. Now you have set your focus. You could also do it manually, of course.
  6. DON’T record with a dirty lens. It seems obvious but it happens quickly and often that some dust or a smudge gets on your lens. Frequently check your lens for dirt before you start recording.
  7. DO level your tripod. On a video tripod, you’ll find a small bubble lever that will help you find your level. Levelling a photography tripod using the ball head does not work for panning, since you’ll be off level when you turn the ball head, but it would be okay for still video shooting. The only way to level a tripod for panning is by adjusting the length of the tripod legs.
  8. DON’T use a photography tripod for panning. Unfortunately it doesn’t work at all, since photography tripods are not made for smooth movements. You will need a specific video tripod with a fluid pan-head. Just try panning with a photography tripod and a video tripod in a shop and you’ll notice the difference straight away. (If you don’t want to spend a lot, this Velbon Tripod works great.)
  9. DO use an SD card that can store a minimum of 32 Gigabytes and is a class 10 card. Video uses up much more storage space than photos, so you’ll need a bigger card. Video also requires a minimum write speed of 30 Megabits per second, so you’ll need a class 10 SD card.
  10. DON’T forget your spare batteries. You’ll notice very quickly that video uses much more battery power than shooting photos. So, if you only have one battery with you, then you’ll probably be done filming after about 30 minutes. Best to carry at least two extra batteries wherever you go. You can get the generic ones online for much cheaper than the branded ones. Your camera might say “erratic communication with this battery,” but you just select “ok” and start using it.

Good luck and happy shooting! Share on Facebook