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The Camera

Get to know your camera. Read the manual! Also, the best way to set up for the shot is to get into a routine. Try to set up the camera the same way every time.
Most home cameras have automatic settings so you can start to shoot as soon as possible. Most operators like to have complete control over the shot and so they turn off the automatic settings. You need to make a choice on what you want to control and what you want to leave to the automatic setting. The list below is in the order beginning with the front of the camera and working our way to the back of the camera.

Is the lens cap off?

Are you on manual, auto or infinity. Did you Critical focus?

Exposure; is there enough light?

view tutorial on exposure

This is an effect on the camera to fade up from black at the beginning of the shot and fade to black at the end of the shot.

This adds extra light to and crushes the white light in the background.

Do you have tape in?

ON/OFF Switch: Is the camera on?

VCR - The camera is used as a VCR and can play the media back onto the LCD or a TV.

Cam - This sets the camera to the record mode.

Pic - For some cameras, this sets the camera to take digital still images. Memory may be another label for the taking of still images.

White Balance:
This sets the camera to record either indoor lighting (tungsten light) or outdoor lighting (sunlight).

Gain or AE:
These will boost the image in the camera to help with shooting in low light.

LCD display:
This is the monitor on the side of the camera. Is it set so that the scene is accurately displayed? Does the video appear in the viewfinder as you want it to?

This is the monitor on top of the camera. Is it set correctly so as to give an accurate display?

Internal Menu:
The new digital cameras have an internal menu of settings instead of buttons on the outside of the camera. Check the owner's manual for all the aspects of the menu.

Are the levels for the audio set correctly?

Night Shot:
Do you need the night shot? (Do you have a night shot?)

Tip: Automatic Setting: Most cameras have a switch that turns all or most of the controls over to the camera. Most videographers turn this switch to manual so they have complete control over the camera. However, you may want to use it when you first start shooting.

Before going out, remember to ask yourself
"Do I have batteries and tape?"

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