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Photo Tips


Plan Ahead for Better Videos


When was the last time you took your video camcorder out to capture a special event? And just how pleased were you with the results? As with nearly anything in life, making good videotapes requires planning, patience, and persistence. And it all begins well in advance of the actual shooting.


Imagine taping your son's Little League baseball game. Before running over to the field and shooting hour after hour of footage, ask yourself what it is you and the rest of the family would really like to see in the finished product. Certainly, that includes junior up at bat, as well as making that terrific play in the outfield. But how about a few "extras," like an opening shot of both benches and a sound shot of the coach's pre-game pep talk? You'll want at least one scene of the home team taking the field, too, and perhaps another of the pitcher warming up.


Once the game gets underway, don't waste tape between pitches. Instead, pan to the first- or third-base coach as he flashes his signs. Cut to the fans in the stands to capture their excitement. In between batters, try a long shot to the outfield followed by a zoom back to the action at the plate. Between innings, capture the catcher putting on his gear-quite a process in itself!-Or the relief pitcher warming up on the sidelines. And don't forget the end-of-the game celebration followed by a few scenes at the local burger stand.


The key to keeping any video from bogging down is to plan shots like these well ahead of taping. That keep the video moving and prevents your audience from falling asleep.


Make a note of each individual scene and where you'd like it to fall. Write camera directions like fade in, fadeout, zoom to, and pan, in a notebook and bring it along with you. In that way, you'll be well prepared for the action and ready to fill the lulls in between. And don't forget to bring along plenty of tape. A 120-minute tape isn't sufficient to handle a two-hour game once you take into account all of your auxiliary shots.


Remember, where videotape is concerned. it's always best to overestimate rather than underestimate.


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