Adam Plowden’s five golden rules

The 5 Golden Rules of Videography

Like many others before have said, rules should be a guideline for learning. Some prevalent information that sticks in your mind whenever you’re filming or editing. Don’t feel it is necessary to stick to these rules, just go with the creative flow.


Sound is just as important as the video you capture. Bad sound that is distorted, noisy or distracting can be a killer for any incredible video. Great sound can be achieved by using a simple microphone (on or off camera), or handheld recorder. Don’t forget about those sounds that are ambient too, such as roads, wind, water, clocks ticking. These all build up that atmosphere and set the scene.


Unless you are filming in a less compressed format, there’s no such thing as fix it in post. If you’re shooting video on a DSLR, the highly compressed video files are difficult to correct in your chosen editing application. Adjusting brightness, white balance and ISO (noise) can be difficult if not captured as you wish. To overcome this, use Magic Lantern or the built-in exposure meter to judge the luminance of the picture and set a custom white balance to get it right in camera! (Or, invest in an Atomos recorder or a pro camera)!


Work with others and collaborate. It is a great experience sharing ideas and working together to make a new video or film. There are lots of specialist roles in a production crew so it is hard to do it all, to a good standard, on your own. If you need an audio engineer to record separate audio then find one, same goes for lighting and visual effects. Use the talent that is around you to make an awesome video together, rather than an OK one on your own.


Steady shots are winners. Not everyone in your audience will appreciate the ‘Blair Witch Project’ or ‘Cloverfield’ style of hand held camera operating, and they do have their place in film. But, there is nothing more off-putting or distracting than unnecessary shaky video. Today, Manfrotto have a massive selection of tripods and video heads, monopods and camera rigs to choose from, and it is so easy to do. If you’re going for moving shots, then practice using a monopod to balance your camera instead of using a Steadicam. This worked for me for a few years!


Lighting is key (excuse the pun). Without light there would be no image for the camera to capture. Light is its own huge subject, but begin to appreciate the colour, intensity, shadows, contrast that both natural and artificial lights produce. With depth of field and movement, lighting is the third piece of the composition puzzle that allows directors to emotively and dramatically tell a story. This isn’t an over-night process, but I recommend watching loads of videos, reading articles on DoP’s and cinematographer’s techniques, and practicing; whether it be on your own videos or as part of a crew on someone else’s!

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