Always Check the Shots for Your Digital Film - dummies

Always Check the Shots for Your Digital Film

By Nick Willoughby

Checking your footage after each scene you film should become a habit. It’s a good idea to check shots straight after they have been filmed before you move on to the next shot. The last thing you want to do is import your footage at the end of the day and find there are problems with your footage and you can’t use it in the edit.

The reasons to check your footage include:

  • Technical issues: You may have an issue with your camera or have dirt on your lens that you may not notice during filming. This is something you will notice when you play it back on a larger monitor or by importing it onto your computer.

  • Continuity and mistakes: You may find that you miss or don’t see mistakes while filming. This could be an actor stumbling over a word or something in a shot that shouldn’t be.

  • Missed shots: When you look back through your footage, it’s a great opportunity to double-check that you have filmed all the shots on your shot list or storyboard and not missed any. Missing shots is very easy to do and can cause problems when editing.

By checking your footage after each scene you can always reshoot any missed shots, or if needed, reshoot the scene without having to book your location, actors, and crew again and come back on another day.

If your camera records using tapes instead of media cards, then the process of checking your footage is a little more complicated. After watching the footage back from the tape you should make sure you play to the end of the last take you shot so that your camera doesn’t record over any of the scenes you already shot.

The safest way to do this is to record a placeholder at the end of every scene, before you rewind the tape to check the footage. A placeholder is just a few seconds of blank video, perhaps shot with the lens cap on, or, if your camera has them, you could use color bars to record the placeholder. If you go the lens‐cap route, however, always be sure you take the cap back off for the next shot!