(3) Short-Term Plan:
This is where you make a plan for today's shooting session.
Ask yourself what you're trying to achieve today. Exactly what sort of footage do you intend recording, and how much of it will you need? How will this fit in with your long-term goals?
Note: Before you plan anything, you'll need to know how your footage will be edited. (Remember that all video is edited, whether it be post-production or in-camera. If you're not sure what this means, see Beginner-Level Tutorial / Shooting to Edit.)
Shooting a Piece
Let's say it's little Jane's birthday, and she's having a party. The usual routine is to get a few shots of the presents, the cake, etc etc. That's fine, but with a little planning, you could make a 10 minute piece which tells a story of the day.
Start with an establishing shot - the outside of the house is as good as any (maybe at sunrise?). Your first inside shots are early in the morning, perhaps Jane getting up, or around the breakfast table talking about the party this afternoon. Don't get too much of this, it's only an introduction to the main event. Later on, get a few of the guests arriving - this shows that the party is beginning. Get 1 or 2 shots of each activity, with a little more of the popular ones. The cake and presents might be highlights, so get plenty of them. Some 'goodbye' shots wrap up the party, and a few evening shots finish the day. Capture Jane talking to someone about the cool day she's had, recapping some of the highlights. Get a closing shot - maybe her bedroom door closing after Mum's tucked her in.
Don't be scared to "stage" a few
shots. This is where you fake the action (to varying degrees) in order to add spark or
continuity to the video.
For example, if your piece is covering a day at the beach, it might be a good idea to start with a shot of the family arriving in the car. When you get to the beach, jump out and set the camera up on a tripod -- framed on a shot of the carpark. Hit record. Then jump back in the car, drive out of shot and back in again, this time with everyone getting out as if they've just arrived. Naturally, this will only work if you can edit the shot in post.
BEWARE: This sort of thing is likely to make people impatient, so don't overdo it.
A few more suggestions...
- Be clear about the purpose of each piece. There should always be a reason for having one. This doesn't mean that the content must be momentous - it could be a segment on feeding the cat. The point is that there's a reason - you want a record of your cat, how she loved her feeds, how fluffy she was, how the kids talked to her, etc.
- Plan the approximate length of each piece. It makes sense to have a longer segment for Johnny's birthday than feeding the cat. No matter how cute the cat might be at the time, do you really need ten minutes of her, or will one minute suffice?
- Don't forget to use CA's (cutaways). Not only do they help the flow of the video, but they force you to include shots of things which may not be immediately obvious.
If you've got a shot of Grandma reading a book, follow it with a shot looking over her shoulder at the book, or of her cat sleeping at her feet, or of the photos on the mantelpiece.
To finish this tutorial, here's a few more tips...