Videography / Camera

In television news they look for what they call the "money" shot. It is that one picture that defines the moment - the crying child, the tanker exploding, the tidal wave hitting. You will see those shots run and re-run. However, “pointing and shooting” at an interesting subject will not automatically create good pictures. Thought should be placed into every visual element seen through the viewfinder so that all your pictures are "money" shots. To engage your viewers, your videography should communicate the story you are telling.

The key word is believability. It is more important to breathe life into a video or film than to have it perfectly structured, set-up and shot. If the footage does not look good or you cannot enhance it, do not shoot it.

In television, pictures & sound will always drive your story.

Getting the Shot


  • Specific=interesting / general=boring

  • For every action there is a reaction. Capture both sides: the action then those reacting. How are those involved reacting to the action?

  • Make sure that your lighting is flawless (see lighting chapter)

  • Always record natural sound - listen to how it may "tell" or enhance your story

  • Edit in the camera – think through each shot. Let the camera be an extension of the eye.

  • What can you eliminate from the frame that is not enhancing your shot

  • Eyes follow movement – watch what is going on behind your subjects and in each frame.

  • Use the best lens (wide angle, telephoto) for the medium that you are shooting

  • Creatively explore depth of field (how much of the picture from near to far is in focus) and use it to direct audience attention.

  • Focus - a blurry shot is a lost shot

  • Limit use of zoom, use only to direct attention

  • Make use of scopes & a quality monitor

  • Explore the use of filters and always check your white and black balance to get the accurate color temperature: 

    ~3200k – Warm reds / Indoor light bulb 
    ~5600k - Green / Leans towards florescent
    ~10,000k – Blue / Bright outdoors




  • Centering is NOT composition - find a center of interest then set “off balance”

  • Rule of one-thirds -divide your screen both vertically & horizontally into thirds and don’t run the horizon through the middle of the frame.

  • Balance your picture so that both sides of the shot are pleasing but not of equal size, shape or color.

  • Watch for “things” appearing to grow out someone’s head

  • Exclusion by using the zoom or close ups

  • Find or create patterns and compose your shot to them

  • Make every shot more visually appealing

  • Shoot close-ups - of people, objects, etc.

  • Use dramatic and interesting camera angles

    ~High – diminishes power
    ~Low – increases power


Final thought : Shoot in HD on flash cards. Choose the right HD camera for your specific needs - bigger is not always better - look for cost savings. Also, understand digital compression and what that means to the specifics of your recording and how that signal will be later processed in mastering.



DMC Firewall is developed by Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd