2.3: Tripods & Movement in Video

Get a good tripod and use it

The first step in capturing good video is keeping the camera steady. DO use a camera with built-in image stabilization, as that is very helpful if you cannot use a tripod. Whenever you do not have to move to shoot your video, use a tripod.

You can find tripods new and used at camera shops. Make sure you get one that is sturdy and pivots with smooth movements. Some used or cheaper models are not very smooth and cause a jerking motion during panning. A new tripod may need to be broken-in to turn smoothly. Sometimes adding wax or oil to the swivel can help.

A tripod is also useful as it frees up your hands for other uses and supports your camera when you are doing something else.


Learn When to Pan and Zoom

  • One of the most common video mistakes is zooming and panning quickly.
  • Do not pan or zoom unless there is a very good reason to do so.
  • Take a shot of something and leave it there for 10-20 seconds. If you want to move to another location, stop the recording, move the camera, and then take the other shot.
  • If you must pan or zoom, use slow, smooth, and deliberate motions. This will make your videos much more watchable.

The best quality shots are when your camera is completely zoomed out. Video quality decreases as you zoom in. So if you need to be closer to your subject, get closer rather than zooming in. If you are shooting video and audio together (not recommended when outdoors), sound quality will be better too since the camera mic will be closer to the source of the audio.