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Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials

5 Cinematic Shooting Techniques For Better Videos

2021-07-09

Making the shift from shooting stills in photography to moving visuals in videography isn’t the easiest transition. Suddenly, you’re not focused on capturing a single moment but many moments over a period of time.

So how can you ensure that the shots are visually interesting enough to captivate audiences? We spoke to Sean Seah from VulcanWorx who shared with us 5 cinematic techniques to help you develop a more compelling and dynamic video for your next project.

 

Extreme Close-up Shot

An extreme close-up shot is typically reserved for highlighting parts of a product, food, or to emphasise a delicate movement. It is extremely effective in conveying details that you may not notice easily as the perspective is not something you’re used to. For such shots, a macro lens like the RF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, would be highly beneficial.

 

Rack Focusing Shot

In a rack focused shot, the lens focus moves slowly from one subject or area to another. It helps you to guide viewer attention smoothly. For example, if you wish to introduce a talent into a busy scene, you can rack focus the lens (either by manual focus, or Touch AF) from where it was originally focused to the talent that walks into the foreground. This helps to bring instant attention to them.

To effectively create such a shot like the example above with Miki C Sze, you have to use a shallow depth of field, so your aperture setting can be around f/2.8. The shallow depth of field will help you to guide your audience’s eyes and focus their attention on what you want.

 

Vertigo Shot

When you move the camera in one direction but zoom it in the other during post-production, you’ve created what the industry calls a vertigo shot. This very interesting effect is used for special situations to convey a feeling of shock or surprise.

This technique is a little trickier as it involves post-processing. A good choice of focal length for your lens would be 35mm or 50mm. Ensure that your subject is in the middle of the frame as you move towards or away from them. Take note not to place your subject too far away.

Experiment with different aperture settings (f/2.6, f/4, f/5.6 etc.) and use Autofocus where possible. If your camera has the ability, record in 50p and it will enable you to slow down the motion during post-processing to create more interesting footage.

While editing the clip, keyframe the start and end points. If you have filmed the footage while moving towards the subject, keyframe the start with a zoom in and end with 1x (no zoom). Do the opposite if you have filmed walking away from the subject.

 

Tracking Shot

As the name states, a tracking shot follows the subject as they move. This can be shot from either in front, behind or from the side of the subject. Such shots are great for travel videos because the camera can follow the subject as they move about different locations or scenes.

With gimbals being more affordable these days, it’s easy to attach your camera to one and create a smooth, stabilised tracking shot. With the EOS R5 or R6, the In-Body Image Stabilizer is so effective that with controlled camera movement, you can get very useable footage.

Using a wide-angle lens such as the RF15-35mm f/2L IS USM can help to give the viewers a sense of the environment. Alternatively, using a telephoto lens such as the RF135mm mounted on a tripod to pan and track the subject can convey a sense of high energy.

 

POV (Point-of-View) Shot

A POV Shot gives you a first-person perspective and tells the story through the subject’s eyes. This application is great for having the subject do a voiceover while filming, narrating what they see.

Most commonly, a camera will be rigged to a helmet or body strap around the subject’s chest. A suitable focal length for the lens choice would be either 35mm or 50mm.

 

With these 5 basic techniques, you can create more interesting videos with a touch of cinematic flair. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for videography. There are many more ways to create interesting and visually appealing footage, so keep a look out as we explore more on this topic.

For similar articles: 

Introduction to Filmmaking on Your Canon EOS (1): What Every Beginner Must Know 

Introduction to Filmmaking on Your Canon EOS (2): Settings, Camerawork & Sound and Music 

Introduction to Filmmaking on Your Canon EOS (3): How to Edit and Shoot Better Video