Creative video techniques part 1Jun 28, 2022
3 ways to get more creative with your camera
A few nights ago, a really funny visual popped into my head. It was of a videographer named Craig I’d worked with years ago. Craig had entered our film studio in the middle of the night to return some gear – and do some after-hours yoga. I’m talking three legged down dog. Reverse warrior. And several other poses I can’t name.
How did I know this? Craig was caught on a hidden time-lapse camera. We were’t trying to spy on our co-workers – but we were trying to grab some interesting behind the scenes footage that could be pieced into a film. We ended up creating a 10 minute time-lapse video that showed everyone in the team moving in and out of the office over an 8 month period. It was entertainment gold.
That memory reminded me just how much I love videos that use a time-lapse effect. They always make me crack a smile. I’m not sure what it is about them. I just think they’re really fun and memorable.
And that got me thinking about all the other ways you can inject a little more creativity through your videos. I know how hard it can be. But over the years, I’ve identified a few key techniques that I turn to whenever creative block strikes to help spice up my videos. And I’ve decided to be super generous and share them with you!
In fact, my colleague Mike Hill and I have dedicated a whole capsule series of Moonshine Moonshot to help you make more creative videos. Because there really is nothing worse than a boring video.
In episode one, we’re unpacking all the kooky camera angles, camera movements and specialty shots that you can incorporate into your next video project so that it can really captivate your audience and keep them focused.
Let’s get stuck in.
Play with your camera angles
Think about some of the most engaging films you’ve ever seen. What kept you hooked? The storyline, script and acting probably played a big role but I’m pretty sure the camera angles made some serious impact too.
Maybe you’ve not thought about it that way before but the composition and movement of certain shots really do play a part in how we engage with moving pictures. Watching a talking head for hours (or even minutes) on end gets pretty tedious pretty quickly.
Which is why you need to get a little creative with your choice of camera angles –especially if you want your audience to remember your video long after the it ends. Peppering a few different styles throughout your film is a great way keep your audience interested and will really enhance your storytelling. YouTube even recommends that you utilise a few different camera angles to hold your audience’s attention.
Plus! It makes it a lot easier to edit out your on-screen talent’s stumbles, errors or any of those clumsy ‘ummms’ and ‘ahhhs’ that creep into everyday speech. If you only show one camera angle throughout your entire video, getting rid of these little missteps is much harder.
So what can you try out?
Well you might jump between a wide shot and a double shot. Or maybe you’ll throw in some shaky hand-held camera action. A close up or two. You might work in a cut-away to your talent’s hands or eyes. You could try over the shoulder or even reverse over the shoulder. Then there’s high angle and low angle.
Phew! I know that’s a lot. And it’s probably a little tough to visualise, which is why we cut together a great example using all these shots in the Moonshine Moonshot episode. Here’s the link to watch it now:
Mix up your camera movements
Camera movements are also super important and can make your film feel really dynamic and visually stimulating. The wide angle slider shot is one of my favourites. It’s a pretty common one too – you know all those scenes in Oprah and Dr Phil where the camera pans to show the entire studio audience? Slider shot.
They allow you to smoothly move your camera from left or backwards and forwards, and when executed purposefully, it can add a whole new dimension to your visual storytelling.
Most film crews will have this equipment in their gear, so if you’re working with a professional video production company on your project be sure to ask if it’s something you can utilise on shoot day!
A gimbal is also a great tool to have in reach. These super nifty devices allow your camera to rotate smoothly along an axis. That means you can film silky smooth video footage on the move.
Hello, engaging content!
Don’t dismiss the specialty shots
Specialty shots can really bring a lot to your video. And the best bit is that most of them are pretty easy to master. But which ones carry the most weight?
Drone shots for one. Audiences tend to lap these up, especially if they capture a unique vantage point of a location.
Slow motion shots can also be really special and help to pack a lot of emotion into your film’s story, particularly when teamed with the right music or narration (it’s something I favoured while producing Conquering Cancer, which you can learn more about over here.)
And of course, I can’t forget the time-lapse shot. They really help to show the movement of the environment you’re filming and are useful for giving certain transitions context.
Plus, as I mentioned at the top of this post – I think they’re really fun and can add an unexpected layer to your content.
Are your creative juices flowing yet?
I hope this has got you thinking! But this is only the tip of the iceberg – I have another three posts up my sleeve zoning in on the creative techniques you can apply to your videos to make them more visually dynamic and engaging for your audience.
So be sure to check in next week so you don’t miss a step.
You can also check out the video over here (be sure to subscribe to our channel too!) and the podcast over here if you’re like to learn while listening.
And if you’d like more tips from me, come join me in the Define Your Ideal Audience course. You’ll learn how to research what your audience think and feel so you can create a video project that will cut through and connect.
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