Getting your camera ready


Make a plan of action


Edit your video



Chances are that your stills camera has a setting that allows you to create videos.



If you are using a camera phone just turn on the camera, select the video and this should reveal the different settings that are available to you (this varies from one phone to another).

If possible, find the equivalent settings to those described here for a stills camera.

Turn (or press) the MOVIE control so that your camera is set in the recording mode.

Study the camera manual to see how to carry out basic video recording, and have a go - it does not matter what you are recording, just become familiar with the experience.

It is a good feeling when you can see that your camera (or camera phone) is recording your first video.

Once the novelty passes go to the camera MENU and examine the settings for video recording.

The key items are:

   MOVIE MODE            -  In practice the realistic choice is between Full High Definition  (FHD) and 4K

   FILE FORMAT             -  e.g. MOV/H.264

   MOVIE OUTPUT        -   Again a choice between 4K and FHD

   FILM SIMULATION    -   Some cameras allow you a choice of film types (e.g. Eterna - which gives a cinematic look).

If you are looking for a suitable camera check out the recommendations on the CAMERA CHOICES page.



This is the number of frames per second that is being recorded. If you are going to display your videos on a TV you should use 30 frames per second (fps) in an NTSC region (e.g. North America) and 25 fps in a PAL region (e.g. UK, Australia).


The higher the number of bits per second that you record the greater the quality of the output, but as bit rate goes up so does file size. You may need to trade one off against the other.


Take the frame rate that you have selected and multiply it by 2. The answer gives you the shutter speed setting that you should use.


As a stills photographer you will already know the effect that a change in aperture setting has on the depth of focus in your shot - the higher the aperture number the greater the depth of focus, the lower the aperture the more the background will be blurred because of the restricted depth of focus. 

Use this knowledge in your video productions.

So, if you want a shallow depth of field and go for a wide-open lens (low f-number) you are in danger of over- exposing the image (remember the shutter speed has already been fixed by its link to the frame rate).

If this happens the only adjustment left to you is the ISO value. Adjust this value until you get the right exposure for your shot.


Check to see if your camera has 'presets' for this setting. If so choose the one that best suits your intentions or lighting conditions.


Set the audio level manually. Do not rely on the automatic setting.


Do not use auto-focus. Set the focus manually. Auto-focus often leads to the camera 'hunting' for a point on which to focus, and this leads to a (hard to watch) blurred section in your video.



Many of the most satisfying videos have a story running through them. A story not only maintains the viewer's interest but it also provides a backbone that links every video sequence together.

For example, a video of your child's birthday can include not only the birthday party but also every stage in the preparation of that party. Show the excitement building up, the work the parents have to do in order to make sure everything goes well, include the arrival of the guests and then the fun of the event. How the story ends depends on what actually happens, but include it so that the story reaches a logical and satisfying conclusion.

In the natural world you may be drawn towards the flow of a river. If this is to be your subject then the variety of ways in which it flows through different parts of its course becomes your story. Or you may prefer to show the different activities that take place along the river as it flows from its source to its mouth.

The changing of the seasons is a good subject for a video story. However, your video planning will need to allow for a whole year with shots in every season.


Success comes from knowing in advance the shots that you need to take in order to make a complete and interesting video.

Create a detailed list of the shots that you need, and keep that list with you while you are shooting. Not everything has to be recorded in the order that they appear on the list - that can be sorted out at the video editing stage. However, you don't want to discover that a critical element has been left out.


For every shot that you plan to take you should add a technical note. For example, if you want to show that section in slow motion then you need to anticipate that with your camera settings at the time that you make the recording. (In order to achieve this you will need to increase the frame rate to double the normal rate when you record the video section, but play it back at the normal speed in the final video.)

If special or additional equipment is required for any shoot, you must include this in your technical notes.

If you are starting out in video recording the minimum that you will need is a camera or camera phone, a tripod and possibly an external microphone. The filters that you normally use in stills photography will be equally useful for video photography (especially in landscapes).

As you become more experienced and more ambitious the equipment list will grow to include a gimbal (to keep the recording steady and to allow better control over motion and angle of view), sliders and even booms.


The discipline of working to a timetable will become a habit as you gain in experience. It is very hard to reach a target in video production unless you have and adhere to a strict timetable.



There is a logical sequence of seven steps to prepare your video for viewing:

   1. Download your recordings

   2. Organise your video files into a project folder

   3. Include in that folder any still images that you want to use in the final video

   4. Bring into the same folder any sound tracks that are to be included

   5. Import the complete folder into video editing software

   6. Create the edited video

   7. Export the final version ready to be viewed.

If you are looking for suitable editing software check out the recommendations on the  VIDEO EDITING page.