For quite a few years I was the one female camera operator in Adelaide, this role allowed me to do some pretty crazy things. My favourite of all of them would have been heading off in the chopper, and standing on the skids high above a fire or flood getting images for that nights news. God, there are a lot of stories I could tell you about my time doing ENG camera.
I remember when I came from filming commercials at GWN Television to news. There was always a fear of did I press record, and the fact that if you miss a shot, you can't go back and get them to do an arrest again.
For those people getting there first taste of filming for news, here are a few tips from behind the camera lens:
When shooting vision for your story -
1. ALWAYS get the basics first – Mulitple angles (BUT DON’T CROSS THE LINE the 180 degree rule) – HOLD for 5-10 seconds
WIDE SHOT – Establishing shot/s –
Overall view of the scene, full screen shot of the house etc
MID SHOT – May be just the driveway and roller door
CLOSE UPS - eg. Windows of the house/ letter boxes
2. If there is action to be had make sure you get it – ADDS interest to the vision. (if cops are pointing – firies running etc)
3. Once you have basics, then try different angles… GET down low for a different POV.
4. THEN Look at Pans/Tilts to add interest
5. HOLD moving (Pans/Tilts/Zoom) camera shots for 5 seconds at the head and 5 at the tail (allows multiple shots from same vision.)
6. From start of pan/tilt/zoom only run 3-4 sec (UNLESS it’s a colour story and we can let it breath)
7. GET Physically close to your subject, SO you don’t have to zoom in. (when zooming in hand-held it exaggerates movement.
When shooting interviews -
1. Make sure you give the subject looking room…
2. DON’T centre him/her unless they are looking down the barrel. So if they are looking left allow more room to the left of the talent.
3. Utilise the 3rds rule…. So eyeline top third, shoulder/chest bottom third and head not touching top of screen, and remember - LOOKING ROOM IS A MUST!
Always check your audio -
1. Get background audio – shots and video sounds better with ambient noise. Get your Mike as close to talent as possible.
2. Set audio levels so that the interviews are usable. (There is only so much you can do in post production)
So there you have it, these are a few of the things I always tell new to news camera operators.