Using Your Smartphone for a Safety Shot

Producing videos is fun, some might say addictive. But there are lot of things that can go wrong. And by the time you have assembled your talent, crew, cooperative weather, and plants at the right stage in their development, you want to do everything practicable to protect against mistakes, don’t you? Enter the safety shot.

It’s the nature of most of the instructional videos we produce for Camga that the camera is usually hand held. This helps the operator stay nimble to get right in when it’s appropriate and get a well-timed close-up. What happens, though, if the operator misses the shot entirely? If you have a smartphone rolling with a long shot, you can just cut to it. You may miss that million-dollar close-up, but you’ll rescue your program.

If you have a willing buddy (this is a great way to earn hours!), station him or her in a location where most of the key action is visible. Let the Safety Shot person start rolling (preferably on a camera you control), and instruct them to keep rolling until you tell them to stop. Ask them to do whatever is necessary to keep the smartphone steady, because when all else fails, their shot will become live. When everything else is rolling, make sure you provide an audio slate mark (go to Using the Zoom H2n For Great Audio on Your Videos and look for “Make it easy to sync in post”) so you can easily sync the smartphone video with your other video and audio. And make sure you don’t erase the video on the Safety Shot phone until you’re satisfied you have everything you need without it.

If you end up needing to use the Safety Shot, you may need some help with the editing, because compatibility is sometimes an issue when you weave the camcorder video with smartphone video. If you encounter problems with this, email Lee Borden and he’ll make sure you get the help you need

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