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 Shooting Tips

Video in Educational Research


 This page presents some handy checklists to guide your shoot.

 Things to do before the day of the shoot

  • inform students and parents
  • plan your shoot, considering class plan, activities, materials
  • do a dry run, practice!
  • make sure you have necessary cables, adaptors, extension cord, duct tape, etc.
  • set the time of day on your camera correctly
  • choose a tape length at least 15 minutes longer than you think you need
  • check the batteries in your microphones with a volt meter, and/or replace the batteries

Things to do before recording

  • select a primary focus (e.g. group work, or full class discussion)
  • get good sight lines to the primary focus
  • get microphones as close as possible to the primary participants
  • try to get faces and hands
  • set your camera to manual focus, and focus on an object in your focal plain
  • sound check! Headphones ON!!
  • glare and backlighting check!

 More things to do before recording

  • consider secondary focusses
  • tape down wires
  • label your tapes
  • record with timestamp visable
  • consider biases of your picture and sound
  • experiment with alternative angles
  • use AC, not batteries

Things to do while recording

  • wear your headphones
  • start recording before class begins, stop when class is empty
  • use a tripod as often as possible
  • teacher should use "ice breakers" (small jokes) to relieve tension
  • try to capture faces and hands
  • capture linkage between talk and materials
  • make yourself invisible (avoid sudden movement, noise, intrusion)

Things to avoid doing

  • keep wires away from heavy foot traffic
  • minimize glare and backlighting
  • use closeup shots only to temporarily capture materials
  • don't focus on teacher to exclusion of students
  • don't move microphones or overtly make participant aware that suddenly "you're on!"
  • don't move camera rapidly
  • avoid MTV production value (frame spilling over with action, rapid disconnected shots)
  • leave the camera running (don't start and stop)

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