The Most Common Mistakes – RESEARCH
The Most Common Mistakes
I HAVE READ THROUGH THIS AND TO PROVE THAT I HAVE READ IT FOR THE PURPOSE OF MY RESEARCH, I HAVE HIGHLIGHTED IMPORTANT PARTS THAT I FOUND MIGHT BE EFFECTIVE DURING MY FILM.
The viewer can usually recognise a “bad“ video after the first few shots, even though s/he might not be able to say exactly what s/he does not like about it. What are the most common mistakes made when filming and how can they be avoided?
Hobby filmmakers shoot most of their material with a hand-held camera and as a consequence the results are blurred, especially when they use a telephoto lens. Achieving clear, steady shots with the camera supported on your shoulder or held in your hand requires a lot of practice and experience; even a professional has difficulties getting sharp images with long focal lengths.
Tip: use a tripod or stand (almost) all the time and every time, without fail, when shooting with a telephoto lens.
Using the zoom lense is the amateur cinematographer’s favourite technique in creating his/her films and yet it is the least satisfactory. As the camera itself does not move only the frame changes, not, however, the viewer’s perspective. Thus the zoom does not correspond to our normal way of seeing and we have the strange feeling that the picture is moving towards or away from us. In a feature film you will not find zoom lenses being used. Live reports on television do occassionally use the zoom in the form of a ‘pull-in’ or ‘approach’ shot.
Jerky and Pointless Panning
If a panning shot is jerky and if the beginning and end of the shot is blurrred, then either the tripod is not of sufficiently high quality or the cameraman/woman lacks the necessary practical skill. A smooth, clear pan can only be achieved with a high-quality tripod which has a hydraulically-powered pan/tilt head. And, of course, practice makes perfect. A needless panning shot arises when the amateur cinematographer wants to show everything that moves into his/her field of vision. As the viewer frame is too small to capture everything, s/he tries to overcome these optical limitations by panning to and fro. Filmmaking means, however, concentrating on essentials, namely showing the viewer precisely that part of the whole which imparts the story and allows them to focus on the main subjects.
Tip: do not just pan aimlessly, but only when you want
- To follow a moving object (follow)
- To provide an overview (panorama shot)
- To follow someone’s line of vision (bridging shot)
- To animate static objects (narrative pan)
Wrong camera position
Amateur filmmakers tend to shoot everything from the same height – determined by the most comfortable position for him/her to hold the camera and irrespective of the subject s/he is filming.
Tip: It is better to film your subject holding the camera on a level with it, or at eye-level, that means; when filming children or small animals – on your knees!
The two most frequently committed errors are: i) tautology, i.e. the commentary merely repeats what the image already says (“Here you can see the Eiffel Tower“), ii) the image–to–text gap, i.e. the commentary does not correspond to the picture (“The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 …” whilst we have already moved to the Louvre). The commentary should provide supplementary information which cannot be transmitted by the images alone.
Authors: Robert Lambrecht and Berti Schwarz. © Robert Lambrecht and Berti Schwarz.
Translation: Michèle Lester.
THIS RESEARCH CONCLUDES HOW NOT TO PERFORM THESE MISTAKES WHILE FILMING, ALONG WITH TIPS THAT WILL HELP.