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get this gear!
I have met so many people, who just give up on their video camera, and let it set and gather dust. They don't like the videos they make. I hope to make it simple for you to create a nice video, one that you, your friends and family will enjoy. Some of you are interested in going further than just home use, this manual will benefit you as well. You may want to become a professional in this field, if so you will find pointers here that will allow you to produce excellent work.

Lets start by thinking in three distinct areas.
1. The Equipment and its use
2. Video taping, acquiring footage
3. planning and production.


The first lesson for this manual is the importance of LABELING AND DOCUMENTATION. Labels on your tapes, shot sheets, and scripts are more important than you will ever guess. Have special boxes where you store all of the documentation and tapes you shoot for the project. You will have many tapes and so much paperwork when you are in production of a serious project, that, if you dont have a serious way of keeping track of it you will get lost and waste time. So label every tape and number it, keep a log of the tapes, use the label name and number in your edit scripts. If you are shooting from a script, read it well and list all the possible shots you can dream up for a scene. This list will become your shot sheet. If you are going out and shooting a documentary style, start with a blank sheet and list your shots as you shoot.
1. Label and number the tape before you put it in the camera
2. Keep notes as you shoot the video, use shot sheets if you have them
3. Have large zip-lock bags for tapes and papers
4. Keep all tapes and paperwork in one box/container/folder

**Grade for this lesson**

Give yourself an "A" if you have learned this, your success as a videographer will rely on your attention to detail.

The equipment and its use

In the Equipment pages, you are going to learn how video cameras work. There are controls and settings, which will give you a better final picture. A camera only does one thing, it captures light, and the camera settings determine how it captures light.

We will learn about other equipment used in making a video. This equipment is, Audio, Lighting, Tripods, and then editing equipment and computers.

Each one of these pieces of equipment is important, and knowing how to use them when they are available will really help you.

We are living in the most wonderful technological age, so many new inventions and advances have come to us. At the end of the Equipment section, Computers will be the topic. This area will describe the current computers and software. Understand this, it is going to be very difficult to be on top of the exact development. Today everything is going along at an awesome pace. I will have an entire set of links to all of the major manufactures of equipment at the end of the section. I recommend you go to those sites and expose yourself to their products.

A large number of trade magazines are also in print, you will find their URL's here as well.

As a final note on equipment, used and home made equipment is just fine, so long as it works for you. So we will have the never ending chapter called "Make it yourself".

Using the Camera - field shooting techniques

This area will teach you how to take pictures. It is really easy to capture good footage when you know just a few techniques. There are not many different techniques so don't worry. Just to start remember this. If you will just forget you have a video camera and think of it as a regular film camera you have the best place to start. To begin with forget you can pan or zoom, look through the viewfinder and find a pretty picture. In that picture have your family and friends move around, let the action happen there.

From this simple start you will begin to make some of the best video movies possible.

We will learn about the other equipment one piece at a time and discuss how and when to use them. Lots of times, you will not have the options of using the best and have to improvise, just make do. We'll talk about that too.

I was not quite as fortunate as you are, by being taught this. The people who taught me, tried to impress me how hard it was, and had their little secrets, which they didn't share. I want you to learn how simple it can be. I don't have secrets, 'don't believe in them'.

Using the Camera - field shooting techniques

So many different areas are a part of production. Lets start with the writing of your script, from your first idea. You will have so many different steps to go through before you finally finish the video. This section will cover them one at a time.

Having an Idea, and having a movie are many steps away from each other. Here is as good a place as any to say - VIDEO IS BEST DONE AS A TEAM EFFORT -but- I'm going to assume you will try and do it all your self. The production section is designed to expose you to all of the areas, which you will have to make decisions in. If you know how to do make-up, sew, keep books, cook and cater, write, shoot and edit, sell and promote you are rare. You see this is why I stress how important it is to accept the team principle.

Ok, what is important is, to learn enough about the different areas to either assign someone to do the work, or you can do some in-depth study and do it yourself. I'm sure you realize that accounting and bookkeeping (for example) are entire university courses.

Editing, you may be a person at home with just a camcorder, VCR and television, if so, you are included here. The page on making your own recruting tapes describes this technique. We start with this simple form of editing and discuss the different tape to tape editing systems and end with various NLE (Non Lineal Editing) systems. Your first assignment is to watch movies and pay attention to the way the movie goes from one picture (scene) to another.

There are many, many details to learn if you are to be a videographer, but do not let this worry you. You will be able to start simple and use checklists, and the complexity will come easily, your knowledge will grow with your practice. Practice really is the key, if you play music or sports, you realize the importance of practice, your work and attention to detail will quickly make you proficient. Just as the performer will work on one instrument his whole lifetime striving for a perfect mastery, the camera or any other videographic skill can be the same type life long work.