Five Tips for Shooting Video for Visual Effects

Shooting with a high enough shutter speed – Tracking is one of the basics to almost every visual effects shot. In order to have an accurate result, the software relies on optical recognition of certain areas in the clip. Most motion trackers have a hard time with frames that are entirely blurred by the camera motion. In order to avoid this, you are better off shooting with a higher shutter speed to avoid frames where there is no focus at all.

Know the Camera Settings for the Footage – While most professional cinema cameras have the camera settings in the footage metadata, it's not that common with a DSLR Camera. If you are working with visual effects you better know the camera settings such as the focal length, aperture, and shutter speed. Personally, I would add keeping track of the camera position from the ground as well as the distance from the subject to that list as well.

Shoot from a Tripod if there is nothing to track – If you are shooting an ocean background plate for a ship added in post-production you won’t be able to track anything distinctive. If you need to have a camera motion you better add it in post-production and shoot with a tripod.

Avoid Fast Camera Movement – Just like with shooting with slower shutter speeds, blurred frames can occur when moving the camera quickly when panning, tilting, or zooming. If you need tracking during that camera action you better find a workaround as it is very hard to track blurred frames.

Have Foreground and Background Objects for Tracking – Parallax is one of the best approaches for creating a 3D illusion on a 2D screen. It is when the camera moves and there are objects in the foreground and in the background. To make sure your camera tracking in post-production is accurate in the 3D space, make sure you include both foreground and background objects in your footage.

So, they were my five tips for shooting video for visual effects, I hope these tips will help bring your video work to the next level. Join me next time, where I will talk you through how to properly do green screen.

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