The Little Digital Video Book/Chapter 3
By Michael Rubin
Prepared by Madelon Gruich
IT753 Instructional Applications of Interactive
The University of Southern Mississippi
Some important facts
Shooting a video is not making a
Editing will not occur “in-camera.”
Shooting to edit involves non-linear
Shooting to edit is gathering bits and
pieces of material (collecting video).
Final results will be a story, assembled
from video collections.
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Before you begin, ask
What’s going on here?
What in this scene interests me?
What little details would highlight the
What are my subjects seeing?
What personality traits of my
subjects can I show?
What would be another way to look
at this scene?
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Rubin’s 10 Rules of
1. Shoot to edit. Keep it simple.
2. Ad-lib it. Make “sketches” and shoot
3. You’re a one-person production
4. No equipment that you can’t carry in
5. Use existing light only.
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Rubin’s 10 Rules of Shooting
6. Shoot real moments, “small” moments.
(Ex. Popsicle dripping on child’s face.)
7. Don’t let your subject talk directly to the
8. Impose limits on your project.
9. Avoid in-camera effects.
10. Concentrate on static shots (use
moving objects minimally). Stop
moving; stop moving the camera; stop
moving your body; stop zooming in and
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How to Shoot
Take shots from a range of positions.
◦ Lying or standing
◦ Shooting up or shooting down
The closer the camera is to the body,
the more stable the image will be.
Patience is necessary for the good
shots. (It takes 7 seconds to start
shooting video from a camera that is
Consider zooming and scanning no
good – garbage.
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Images are edited to create a
Elements of structure include
◦ Beginning shots
◦ Middle shots: action or event
◦ Ending (closure) shots
Closure is last thing viewers see, so
make it a lasting impression.
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Cliché closures: turning out light,
waving goodbye, walking into the
sunset (still good).
Keep camera still and allow people to
enter and leave the frame—classic
way of closing a video.
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Camera Shots Vocabulary
Close up – CU
◦ Subject fills the screen
Wide shot – WS
◦ Subject is far away
Medium shot – MS
◦ Not too close; not too far away
Consumer camcorders have a powerful
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Face shots – It’s the eyes.
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The Medium Shot
Head and shoulders
Most shots are medium shots
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The Wide Shot
Provides context of the shoot
Takes longer to shoot
Balances out the close-ups
Allows viewers a break from close-ups
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Coverage – 6 elements
1. Establishing shots – beginning of
video usually to establish time (clock,
newspaper, TV clip, “voyeur” footage,
2. Cutaways - unlinked shots for
3. The shot/reverse shot – (classic
shot) capturing scene from other
side; when two people are speaking,
both faces are filmed.
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4. Over-the-shoulder (OS) shots –
establish relationships to use with
5. Point-of-view (POV) shot – shoot
person then the subject to show what
the person sees.
6. Top-down shots – pointing down at
subject giving different perspectives
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When editing, additional video may be
needed to complete the project.
Cutaway shots make excellent pickups.
The pickup is often shot later than the
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Popping between shots. . .
. . . means that transitional moments
between close-ups and medium shots
are rapidly done; no slow zooms.
. . . means that wasted time is avoided.
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How long should a shot be?
10 – 20 seconds is preferred
Get at least two shots (close-up and
medium) of same spot before moving
Shoot from different angles at the
same spot to prevent boredom.
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Looking into the camera?
Difficult to edit
Hold camera away when shooting so
subject is looking at you—not camera.
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Scene – the setting
Setup – shots taken at a particular
Take – each repetition of a scene
Watch the raw material as soon as it is
shot and shoot pickups if needed.
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Some Tips Before Shooting
Watch TV for shots.
Repetition makes editing easier.
Vary the framing, design, balance, and
◦ Rule of thirds – shoot subject about one-
third way in the frame.
Maintain safe frame margins.
Stop moving the camera – only
professionals get to move the camera.
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How NOT to move the
Brace against something.
Move eye around frame—not frame
Allow subjects to enter and exit your
Shoot a little wide.
Remember—when a camera moves, it
shakes and bounces around the
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Try to use only existing lighting.
Decrease shutter speed (if you dare)
to create interesting blurred visual
Backlighting – light is behind subject;
creates a silhouette.
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Camera automatically synchronizes
sound as video is shot.
Picture and sound – separate entities.
Ambient sound – background sound,
such as sound of ocean waves on
Sound editing too advanced for
Turn off music when you shoot.
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Shoot the SMALL Moments!
Get the candid shots – start with wide
shots and move in toward the subject.
Shoot about 20 minutes at any one
Finished videos will only be as good as
the raw footage you shoot.
Lights, Camera, Action!
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You Ought to be in Pictures
Shoot, Edit, and Share Digital Videos
Create an iMovie Project
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