Don’t film someone in front of a window. This will turn them into a silhouette as the camera can’t handle the dynamic range.
Always try and use a tripod to film with. Going handheld shaky cam style just looks unprofessional and distracting. We do now have shoulder mounts in the media store however, which do provide a much more stable shot while keep the ease of use of handheld.
Remember the rule of thirds! Knowledge of how to frame a shot can be an easy way of ensuring high quality.
Try and position the subject in good lighting. Be aware of your surroundings, and if you can find a better place don’t be afraid to move people there.
Get on the same level as your subject (literally). If you’re filming something small or low down like a child, then film them at their height rather than looking down on them.
If your footage is grainy that means the ISO of the camera is high. Lower it and open up the aperture (lower the F stop) to let more light in. If the aperture is as wide as it can go then you need to find a more well lit area.
Don’t play with the shutter speed. The shutter speed needs to be set to double the frame rate (so if you’re filming at 25fps, the shutter speed should be at 1/50). Any lower and you will start to introduce lots of motion blur, any higher and everything will look like robots.
Shotgun mics, like the ones in the TV camera kits, capture sound in a cone in front of it. This it useful for targeting a specific thing, however remember that it will also capture the sound from behind the target as well. So don’t use it to record someone talking in front of a busy road.
Lapel Mic’s are omni-directional, this means that they capture sound all around it.
Always have a backup recording, whether its just using the on board camera mic in addition to a lav mic. If something goes wrong with your first recording, you would want to know you at least have something from it.
When using Lav mic’s, keep an eye on the clothing worn by the subject. You don’t want cloth rubbing against the mic, and items like leather jackets tend to squeak when they move which can be picked up by the mic.
Don’t film out in the rain. At worst you will have broken some expensive equipment, and at best your audio will be full of raindrops hitting an umbrella.
Make sure any cables are properly managed. The best way to hurt either yourself or a member of the public, or break a piece of equipment is to trip over a wire.
If you wear a high visibility jacket people will think that you have some authority and are more likely to do what you say e.g. if you want to film somewhere but there’s people around and you want to get them out of the way. Wear a lanyard for the full effect, and only use this power for good.
Keep a note book that lists the correct camera/audio settings so if somethings not working as intended you can quickly refer to the notebook to see what the problem is.