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How to Capture Great Live Video

There is a lot that goes into live video production, which is too much to cover in one blog post. But here are some key tips we’ve put together based on the common challenges encountered over the years.

Call Sheets

Live production is a lot like event planning…you need to get everyone in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time. Your go-to document for this is a “call sheet,” which is a standard production document that helps coordinate everything. You’re literally getting everyone (and everything) on the same page! A call sheet includes important information like location, directions, production roles, phone numbers, and the daily schedule. You can download a free call sheet template here.

Don’t Forget the Audio

Everyone thinks of video as a visual medium, which it is. But perhaps even more important is capturing good audio. A common mistake people make is focusing so much on the visuals they forget about audio quality. Common problems include not getting the mic close enough to the subject, audio reflections bouncing around a room with many flat surfaces, signal interference from nearby electronics, and/or using a low-quality microphone.

Get Some of the Question in the Answer

If you are conducting an interview, ask your subject to give you a little bit of your question in the answer. This goes a long way in editing. For example:

Interviewer Question: “Why do you use stem cells in this way?”

Expert Answer: “We use stem cells in this way because…”

Use a Teleprompter (the Right Way)

When you need someone (who isn’t a professional actor!) to look right into the camera and deliver a prepared speech, a teleprompter is the way to go. The key tip here is that you make sure that the teleprompter is far enough away from the subject that you don’t notice their eyes tracking back and forth across the lines of the script. It also helps to make the layout of the script as narrow as possible to prevent this issue. For an even more natural look, ask the subject to look away from the teleprompter occasionally which will make it seem like they are thinking about what to say next, rather than just reading off the screen.

Get More “B-Roll” Then You Think You’ll Need

“B-Roll” is a dated term, but it refers to all of the on-location shots you collect that aren’t part of the interview/dialogue (aka “A-Roll”). The goal with B-Roll is to provide many visual choices for the editor. That means you want to get multiple different shots and angles of whatever you are filming. Don’t just get one shot of something and consider it done. Grab a close-up, a wide shot, a low shot, a high shot, a tracking shot, etc.

Bonus tip: every time you change focal length (ie close, wide, etc), consider changing the angle of your shot as well. A good rule of thumb is to move 35 degrees every time you change focal length.

Free eBook!

Did you find this post helpful? It’s part of our free eBook on “How to Succeed with Video.” Get your free copy here.


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