In it’s most simple form, filmmaking is story-telling. With a few simple techniques everyone can record and tell compelling stories.
It is important to keep the camera in a safe and dry place. I kept mine in a camera bag in a dry bag in the trailer.
Take a spare battery. I took the standard battery as well as an additional high capacity battery.
How to hold / fix
Use the strap so you don’t drop it.
Hold the camera with both hands when you film to keep it steady. Use a tripod where possible.
Use the manual exposure and white balance where possible.
In low lights use the manual rather than the auto focus to avoid drifting in and out of focus as the sensor
tries to work in the low light.
Keep the story in mind when shooting. Think of the editor who has to edit the rushes into a story.
Take plenty of cut away shots which help the editor out.
If you are involved in an interesting situation and you think it will make a good story, make sure to get an estabilishing shot of the location: for example the restaurant you are sitting in or the person’s house. You can get this whenever is convenient so don’t worry to run out and get the shot and ruin the flow of the story. But if you shoot the story in the day then get the establishing shot in the day too.
Try to avoid shooting whilst walking.
Think in terms of 10 second shots if you are filming for an ‘action’ documentary. However, it depends on the style you are going for. Some travel docs might lend themselves to longer shots but have in mind how you will use the shots otherwise you’ll end up with loads of footage and no structure. Then again, rules are there to be broken so be creative.
For an interview shoot the person who is talking and make sure they include the question when they answer.
You can either film yourself asking the question or just get the audio. It is better to use the external mic if you have one to get the best quality audio.