How to Find the Best Shot When Making a Marketing Video - dummies

How to Find the Best Shot When Making a Marketing Video

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

Your selection of camera angles, or shots, for your marketing video is limited, technically, only by your imagination, though you should master the basic principles before trying any fancy tricks. In Hollywood, coverage is the practice of shooting a scene from various angles.

When you start shooting video, take these types of shots first:

  • Master: The master shot is the foundation of your coverage. It shows everything — every important element of your scene. Place the camera far enough away to capture all the action, and shoot the entire scene from beginning to end. You can always cut back to the master shot to remind the audience where the characters are located in relation to each other.

  • Medium: The medium shot moves in to show characters (or a single character) in an area from roughly just above their waists to a little over their heads. The medium shot is commonly used because it shows facial detail but still conveys a sense of the bigger picture.

  • Close-up: In the close-up shot, the camera moves in tightly on a subject’s face or on an object. The close-up is a powerful tool to show lots of facial detail and to build tension and emotion in a scene.

  • Extreme close-up: In this type of shot, the camera (obviously) moves in even more tightly on a subject to show lots of detail. A shot of a character’s eyes or of fingers drumming on a table or of a doorknob turning slowly shows an intimate level of detail to drive home a particular moment.

    Though an extreme close-up is rarely followed by a master shot (it’s too much of a leap for viewers to make from small to large), you can follow it with a close-up or a medium shot.

In any scene you shoot, keep your shots smooth and steady. In the age of point-and-shoot video cameras, people have a tendency to start the camera rolling and then point it at various characters in a scene, in one long take. They often attempt this all-over-the-map approach with a shaky hand so that the scene ends up looking like an earthquake just occurred.