(3) Short-Term Plan:

A day at the park

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

Be prepared for the important moments. Co-ordinate with other people, so you get advanced warning before they happen.

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...

"A trip to the park" could work well as a 5-minute piece.

To finish this tutorial, here's a few more tips...

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