Stationary Camera Techniques

Tips and techniques for controls, composition, and movement:

Controls

Focus Maintain focus by setting your camera to manual. Zoom all the way into your subject, adjust your focus, and then zoom back out, to compose your shot. By using this technique, your subject will always remain in focus throughout the focal length of the lens (so long as the subject doesn't move too far from their original position). It's also important to understand that each time the focal point/subject changes, focus must be reset.

Iris Always set your camera's iris to manual. Auto iris settings may cause the image to flicker, and or pulse due to constant changes in aperture (especially with the use of moving lights).

Composition

Stage Wide Shot A stage wide shot is great establishing shot for a live feed, future web/dvd distribution, or transitions between songs/service elements, but seldom recommend for IMAG. This shot may include stage lights at the top of the frame, and the stage/subject(s) at the bottom of the frame. Caution: If your lyrics are presented in the lower-thirds, using this shot during worship is not recommended since the lyrics may cover the worship team on the lower section of the frame - see Stage Wide Shot (worship).

Stage Wide Shot (worship) An effective alternative to setting up a stage wide shot for worship is to vertically center your subject(s) within the shot, where the space above, and below the subject(s) are of equal distance. This composition allows for the lyrics to be presented in the lower-thirds, over the audience, and not over the band. This shot also provides for a simple technique of pushing into a shot (that's wider than a head-to-toe) - see Push

Movement

Push A push is an effective way to draw the audience into your subject(s) on stage. 

A simple technique to push into a shot that's wider than a head-to-toe, is to vertically center the subject(s) within the frame; where the space above the subject's head, and below the subject's feet, are of equal distance. While pushing in, maintain equal distance (above and below the subject) until you reach a head-to-toe shot. Once you reach a head-to-toe shot, continue to push in, losing the subject from the feet up, while maintaining headroom. With this technique, it's easy to push into a knees-up, inseam-up, waist-up, elbows-up, bust-shot, and or head-shot.

A push works great with group shots. When pushing into a two-shot or greater, it’s important to maintain even spacing around the subjects. Once the shot becomes too tight to keep all the subjects within the frame, select one of the subjects (keeping them correctly framed) while losing the others. 

A push also works well with a one-shot. When pushing into a one-shot, try starting with a head-to-toe or a knees-up. This will allow the director time to take the shot while the push is in motion. Usually, by the time the director takes the shot, the push is moving towards an inseam up (which is an great shot for worship leaders playing guitar), that can effectively continue into a bust/head shot.

Pull A pull is an effective way to reveal more of a subject from a close-up shot, to a one-shot, a two-shot, etc. Note: Pulling from a one-shot may be ineffective, when the space around the subject creates a sense of emptiness without revealing others in the shot.