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Hello everyone. Here are some helpful tips for you as you begin to gather footage…


.dvi and .mpeg are preferable because most video editing programs work with them (Dr. Evans’ Flip cam shoots in .mpeg, for the record). Shooting in Quicktime format is fine if you plan to use iMovie, but I’d warn against this.

Shooting in medium quality should be more than enough for the purposes of this project – high quality is nice, but it can make for slow and tedious editing because the computer will have to work harder.


1. Light is your friend. A quiet room is also your friend.

2. Charge the camera before you leave, and take the charger with you.

3. Tripods are a must (you can rent these from the library.)

4. You should always have your subject off to one side of the shot (either the right or the left), never in the dead center (for an explanation, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds).

5. Keep the camera as far away from your subject as possible – this will ease any tension/anxiety they might feel about being filmed. Use the camera’s zoom function to get up close.

6. Getting a signed release is really important. Keep these in a safe place.


You should never, ever use copyrighted music that you do not have permission to use. Unless of course, you just do it anyway.


1. It’s often helpful to have an “establishing shot” – a short clip that gives your viewer an idea of where the interview took place, or where the cemetery is, etc. For example, say you filmed an interview in downtown Austin – showing a shot of the Capitol or 6th Street before the interview footage lets the viewer know when and where the interview was done.

2. Editing takes time, time, time, and more time.

3. Keep things changing in your film. With too many long shots, your viewer will be bored, but with a barrage of short clips, they will become overwhelmed. A good mix of long interview footage with short clips of traveling/locations/interesting sights/etc. will make the video much more compelling.

4. Editing is 60% instinct. If the way you’ve cut and arranged the film feels “right” to you, then it will most likely feel “right” to your viewer.

This site also has some good advice:


Good shooting!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. carinaevans
    March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Helpful advice, Sam! Thanks for compiling this.

  2. March 8, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you!

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