Film Tip 2; Anticipation

Video Tip 2

Making video is much like driving a car. You go from one place to another, from A to B. Staying in the same place is boring and doesn’t make much sense. However many people make video by just holding up the camera and not thinking of where it is all going to. They stand still and don’t have a destination.

You can make more interesting video when you have an idea of what’s going to happen next in your shot: your destination. Would you get into the car without any plan of where to go? Likely not. So let’s go travel.

At races there’s a lot of movement as cars and drivers go on and off.
It’s tempting to think that’s enough fun. You simply stand somewhere with a camera or phone, point it at whats going on, press “record” and wait.
But your shot isn’t going anywhere, it lingers on and the video will very quickly be boring to watch. But if you anticipate on what is going to happen and make the viewer feel there’s more coming up, you can make more interesting and dynamic shots.

Think of where your shot is going to. For instance, a car is appearing from some distance. You can simply point the camera, record and wait. But it’s much more interesting to follow the car to some good-looking location where you think it will pass by. This can as example be a garage, or a pit lane with other cars.

In your shot you see the car appear and you follow it. But now you don’t just let it go, but move the camera with it. When your camera comes to the interesting point you anticipated hold it still. Keep that good-looking point at as the end of your shot.

In this way not only the beginning, but also the middle and end of the shot are all nice. You travel through time and between two points. The viewer gets the nice ‘reward’ of watching the whole shot with the nice looking ending.

So the key is to anticipate on what is likely to happen next, and what could be the end of your shot. As example: Any grid girl will smile or wave at you when she knows she’s being filmed. Knowing this, you can make a shot moving your camera from a car to the girl and then have her smile at the end. Drivers about to get into the car will put on their helmet. He grabs it from the car roof and puts it on. Knowing this, you can follow the helmet closely from the roof to the face of the driver. It becomes much more dynamic than filming the scene from a distance.

Even when you film something that’s standing still, you can make it more dynamic by moving the camera from A to B. From a headlight to a brand badge, or simply from one car to another, there is always something to make your shot a journey in itself.

When you see a good start, already have a nice destination in mind. You will have a much better chance of getting a shot that is interesting until the end, and avoid shots that start good but then go nowhere.
Of course, in reality it will often go wrong. You can’t always predict the future, even when it’s just a few seconds from now. That car you follow goes a different way than planned, the grid girl waves to someone else… Bad luck, just delete those shots and try again. Practise makes better. The shots where it all works out will be worth it.

Anticipating on your destination makes a much better trip!

Happy shooting!