How to Shoot Video Like Martin Scorsese

I like shooting video.  Sometimes I just shoot the scene, moving the camera back and forth to capture the action.  I film continuously, getting great footage and bloopers, terrific moments and dead air, fabulous shots and mistakes.  I’ll play the film back and enjoy the raw, unedited video.  Sometimes it’s kinda cool to see everything exactly as it transpired.

But most of the time, I like to make a more polished, edited video.  The following are some tips to help you make a professional-looking, edited video.

1.  Storyboard
To get a nice polished, professional-looking video, you need to have a plan. Make a storyboard or brief outline of the scenes you want to capture. You don’t need to write down every detail (unless you want to), but definitely plan out a general idea of how you want the video to go and what scenes you’d like to include.

2. Shoot B roll
You want to shoot some extra footage to use when you edit your video. For example, let’s say you’re videotaping your kids playing at the beach. Record a little footage of the waves rolling in, the breeze blowing through the palm fronds, a crab scuttling along the sand, a seagull flying by. When you edit the tape, you can add in these shots to break up the action and add another dimension to the beach.

3. Film close-ups
Try to get in as close as possible to your subject. A lot of background action is distracting.

4. Vary your shots
It keeps your audience’s interest when the shots are varied. Looking at the same static scene gets boring, so change it up! Let’s say you’re shooting a video of your kids baking cookies. Instead of setting up your camera across the room and focusing on the kids the whole time, shoot some shots of your kids from across the room, shoot some video looking over their shoulders as they stir the dough, shoot some closeups of the ingredients being dumped into the bowl, take some footage looking into the oven as the cookies bake, get a closeup of the timer, get a shot of chocolate smeared across your child’s face. When you mix these different angles and views together, you’ll get a stimulating video that holds the audience’s attention.

5. Make sure you can hear
Check out the sound ahead of time. Shoot a little video and play it back to make sure you can hear everything all right. Turn off any background distractions like music, TV, a fan blowing, etc. Although you may not notice it at the time, it can sound very loud when you play back the video. If you can’t hear the sound very well, you might want to invest in a separate microphone.

6. Shoot steady
Use a tripod whenever possible to keep the video camera steady. If you don’t have a tripod, prop the video camera up on some books or another stable base. There’s nothing worse than watching a video that looks like it was shot during an earthquake.

7. Edit
When you’re done shooting video, your work has just begun. Use Windows Movie Maker or some other video editing software to trim the video and put the shots together in a pleasing way. You can add titles, credits, music and much more to personalize your video. Have fun playing with it!

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