A guide to shooting video on your own.
Are you an indie producer, shooter and work mostly on your own?
Are you working on small budgets that means hiring a crew is not possible?
Are you a one-man crew, doing almost everything yourself?
Do you have a wish to create great YouTube content, but this means that you have to do this on your own?
Do you want to improve the quality of your videos, to the point where your audience can’t get enough?
Then you have come to the right place.
I like to think of myself as one of the world’s most experienced self-shooters. Because with basic equipment, I have made several TV documentaries that have been broadcast on TV networks, all by myself. And I can teach you how to do that.
I’ve been a broadcast professional for 37 years. And much of what I have done, particularly recently, has been shot on good but ordinary equipment, by myself, with me as presenter. How does one do that? I even once did a single-crew, three camera shoot! Was that a world first?
Some of the best work I have done, I’ve been alone in a remote environment, shooting my adventure travel TV series. Because budgets are tight, there isn’t the cash to blow on the very best gear. But that doesn’t matter. Because consumer and pro-sumer equipment is better suited to the one-person shoot than professional cameras.
This course will help you with:
- Gear choices,
- Discipline while shooting,
- Staying light-weight and portable,
- Getting great audio, as well as video,
- Confidence building and new ideas.
So many independent producers are lonely people. When I edited for TV commercials, we used to call ourselves mushrooms—we stayed in a dark room and we were fed bullsh*t. Like this, indie video producers work in an environment that cuts us off from humanity, Especially in the edit phase. Shooting can be like that too. There is so much to think about, and when we are being paid for the work, so much is at stake also.
- Part 1. Introduction.
- Part 2. Equipment and rig ideas for the one-person crew.
- Part 3. Compact camera rigs for the single shooter.
- Part 4. Camera and microphones for easy handling
- Part 5. More on microphones.
- Part 6. Getting the most out of a GoPro.
- Part 7. GoPro mounts
- Part 8. DSLR vs Mirrorless cameras
- Part 9. Shooting techniques.
- Part 10. Perspective.
- Part 11. Camera cases.
- Part 12. Audio recording.
- Part 13 The affect of shutter speed.
- Part 14. Backing up and protecting your data.
- Part 15. Editing concepts.
- Part 16. Conclusion and summary.
- Part 17. Samples of self-shooting broadcast shows by the lecturer (links)
Andrew St Pierre White has 37 years as a broadcast professional, with international awards to his credit. His most famous solo shoot was an expedition crossing the great Kalahari Desert on his own—with no crew or backup whatsoever. The resultant TV shows included two, 24-minute documentaries for broadcast TV. They were the most popular episodes of the season.
He understands what it takes to capture great footage and audio to make compelling videos— even as a low-budget indie producer. And, wether it be a documentary series, a 30-second commercial or a YouTube product review, he has done them all. His YouTube channel boasts over five million views a year and his commercials and TV shows have been broadcast all over the world.
Testimonials from our Udemy course attendees:
The Best Course about How to make video !
Thank you Mr Andrew..your lectures make me understand how to shoot and edit video for the best result ! really inspiring..
Just what I have been looking for
Andrew. Just a quick note to let you know how much I appreciate this course. I have been studying video-making for some time, but I always got stuck at the storytelling part.
You are now my hero and I’m not even a 4×4 gearhead adventurer (yup, I looked you up). 🙂
For anyone in the course reading this, I don’t know Andrew from Adam. I only learned about him looking through Udemy, then looked him up on Google, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Introduction and what you will get from this course
Shooting video, for the most part, is not as selfish an occupation as still photography. This is because videography is not always possible on your own. It often requires several people to do well. But what if one wants the private enjoyment and rewards one can get from still photography, from videography? To accomplish this, one needs to be able to shoot video without assistance from others. This means not only shooting great images, but recording good sound too. And carrying all the necessary gear to do so. The rewards of shooting, and then editing, great video stories all on my own has become a specialty of mine. And I enjoy intense satisfaction from doing this. I hope from this course you can also be an accomplished self-shooter.
Equipment and rig ideas for the one-person crew.
Self shooting means carrying all the equipment ourselves. And this can be a major challenge. This video explains what I have learned about staying light, adapting to situations, creating tripods and camera supports that do the job with minimum weight and maximum portability.
Camera rigs can so easily become large and unwieldy for the self-shooter.
Capturing good quality audio is every bit as important, as capturing great images. Never forget this! Neglect audio capture at your peril! This video discusses my camera rigs and the microphones I have found most useful when self-shooting.
More advice on microphones for the self-shooter.
Learn how a GoPro can enliven your footage, and not by just attaching it to conventional places, like a surf board, motor bike or aeroplane. Watch actual finished scenes of documentary work where a GoPro made a great contribution to the finished edit. This is part-1
Learn how a GoPro can enliven your footage. This is part-2, and includes mounts, poles and sticks and ends with what I consider another excellent example where without a camera like a GoPro, the scene would not have been worth shooting. This sequence was in the final edit of an adventure travel documentary shot in Namibia.
This was shot while I was shooting a documentary in Northern France, but I thought may be of interest to those taking this course. I used to shoot with a rig based on a Canon 5D Mk3. Then I changed to the Sony A7S. The change was a bit risky as the A7S was new at the time, and had yet to prove itself. But what I have learnt about the two cameras may be valuable for those wanting to upgrade from the Canon DSLR range to something that can produce better quality video but still remain in the DSLR and/or Mirrorless camera systems.
Self shooters that also present to camera need the ideal self shooting tool, and this is it. The DJI Osmo. Better than GoPro for many things, its a great tool, and highly versatile. I also introduce a new kind of tripod for the video shooter, that is every bit as light and fast as the smallest still shooter uses.
Shooting Techniques with a crew of one
Perspective provides the viewer information about what they are seeing. When an opject is seen in isolation, this is how the viewer sees and accepts it. It doesn't matter that the shooter knows that one object is close to another. Without both objects being seen together, in the same frame, they are seen as isolated. In terms of storytelling, revealing each objects relativity to others is a clever and interesting technique. This video explains this with a simple visit to the beach.
Technical ideas and advice
Ask a professional videographer how to record audio and he or she will tell you, don't record in camera and if you have to, never use auto gain control. And they have good reasons for saying so. But as a self-shooter, we have little choice. Monitoring audio and adjusting levels while shooting is just not an option. The solution is to shoot with automatic audio gain turned on. While this is never ideal, it is preferable to having large amounts of audio recordings either distorted or, with levels too low to save. But these are some techniques that help.
The human eye is comfortable with the visual look created by a shutter speed of 50 frames per second. It's how we see TV (60 fps in North American TV signals) The faster the shutter exposes each frame, the sharper each frame will be. When there is movement in the scene/frame, high shutter speeds eliminate motion blur. This means that each frame contains frozen action, and the result can be a stuttering effect, called strobe. This can be uncomfortable to the eye. In this demonstration, one can clearly see the effects. The higher the shutter speed, the more noticeable it becomes.
Every good videographer will use filters to improve the image. In my view, the better you can get the image in the camera, and the less work you have to do in post production, the better. This excludes colourising, as adjusting sharpness and colour in the camera is not always a good idea. But adding a graduated filter to deepen a bright sky, or a polarizing filter for when the sky is heavy or interesting (such as the intro video), then good filtration is essential for a polished, professional look.
Keeping your data (footage) safe once captured is vital to any project, as soon after the shoot has begin, the cost of reshooting becomes prohibitive. And that is why it is important to have some redundancy built into our methods. This videos was shot in a remote part of the Namib desert during a shoot I was doing all on my own. The procedures of backing up footage used then, are still the ones I use today.
Editing for me is as rewarding, if not more so, than the shooting process. Here are some of my most important elements of my editing course, presented in brief. Also, a bit of advice on selecting editing software.
I hope you have enjoyed this course as much as I have enjoyed creating it. Please remember to rate it, and contact me with anything you feel I could have done better, or even elements you think I may have left out. I can always add new bit as I feel they may be needed. The final part of this course are some completed examples of my self-shot broadcast work.
Self-Shooting Broadcast Examples
The following are links to completed solo-shooting work by the lecturer. All these videos have been broadcasts on network television, in several countries. These links are on YouTube.