Here are my take-always to Plan-Move-Point-Shoot-Stop-Edit:


  • Make sure that every video, scene, and shot has a clear intent of how you want the audience to react and be explicit
  • Select a point-of-view (the “side”/opinion of a specific individual)
  • Either script or build a checklist of an anticipated key shots
  1. Move:
  • Keep the light behind you; make sure the lighting matches the story
  • Match location, background, and foreground to the story
  • Make moves in large increments

III. Point:

  • Focus on people’s eyes to capture emotion
  • Do not move the camera or use digital zoom before or during the shot
  • Keep the focus of your image out of the middle square of a 3×3 grid
  • Use an external mic (lavaliere or boom)
  1. Shoot:
  • Make every shot an action with a clear hero and a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Make each scene answer questions from the prior scene and raise new ones
  • If using two cameras, manually synch their AWB (automatic white balance)
  1. Stop:
  • Keep shots under 10 seconds (if traveling, shoot two 10-sec shots per hour)
  1. Edit:
  • Keep videos as short as possible; if doing a how-to, consider breaking into a series
  • Edit out everything that does not need to be there
  • Limit the use of graphics/text/titles; if used, make text/titles simple (ex: Helvetica) and effect-free
  • Consider using a call-back to link the final shot to the initial shot
  • Music & Sound: Test music that is on-story, counter-story; and unrelated and see what works; Add natural sound effects
  • Rely almost completely on cuts with a rare wipe (to convey movement) and even rarer dissolve (to shift to a somber mood)
  • Seek feedback and address all common concerns and think about unique ideas/concerns