Fundamentals of Mixing Video Shoots

As a member of the Media department in church I’ve had the opportunity to mix video shoots on several occasions. Here are some tips I’ve learnt on good mixing.

Have multiple cameras. The more cameras you have, the more variety you can bring into your video mixing. I am accustomed to using 3 cameras: one on the left, right and centre. So, if mixing, shoot for having multiple cameras.

Make sure a camera is still before shooting from it. Before switching to a camera, make sure the camera’s shot is steady and it isn’t likely to shift immediately.

Change views frequently. When mixing you want to introduce variety. Staying on one camera for too long makes a video shoot boring. It is akin to sitting in one spot for hours. We don’t like that now, do we? We like to move around and get different views of things. The same applies to video shoots. Also, if the speaker is moving around, then you need to know which cameras are best suited to capture him or her at any given position and use those cameras accordingly.

Pay close attention to camera men. Camera men often give signals to the mixer on certain occasions. E.g. A camera man might want to tighten a loose tripod stand, requiring him or her to stop camera feed momentarily. He or she may also want to take a break, or something else. Usually he/she will give you a signal. You need to pay attention in order to catch these messages quickly. I suppose that having walkie talkies could make this even easier.

Have frequent crowd shots – When shooting a speaker-audience event e.g. church service, it’s important to capture crowd reaction in addition to the speaker. It’s often tempting to just remain on the speaker, but unfortunately that gives a rather boring video. You want to record crowd reaction especially when the speaker says or does something that elicits an interesting audience reaction.