Tips For Filming Outdoors
As spring approaches, now is the perfect time to brush up on your photography skills. And nothing beats the beauty of a picture taken within nature’s surrounding colors to complement it. And no doubt, clean and crispy video shots outdoors will take fun to a whole new level.
However, filming outdoors is not as simple as striking a pose or finding the ideal horizon or background. It can sometimes be a miserable experience especially with little knowledge on the forgettable but equally important instructions that govern outdoor photography.
During preparations for filming outdoors, it is essential to always be prepared for unexpected circumstances as you will have no control over some of nature’s elements. Listed below are ten of the best photography tips that can act as a guide to you when trying to get the perfect result from your outdoor filming.
Shoot During Golden Hours
In photography terms, golden hours are referred to as specific times of the day that produce a unique kind of light which is soft and golden in color. This is usually found in the early morning during sunrise and in late evenings during sunset.
Golden hours are easily the best time to film outdoors; as the sun sets or rises, it gives off a gentle light which consists of different natural colors that blend together to form a picture perfect background for your filming. This is the right setting you need for the much-needed quality in your videos.
Shooting during golden hours also offers stunning lighting which complements the subject or objects you are trying to capture. This type of soft lighting helps to chase away unwanted shadows which will ruin the shot especially when the sun is at its fullest. And if you want to capture yourself in the beautiful shot, your best bet will be to use a GoPro or GoPro alternative camera handy along with the GoPro accessories. Ensure that the camera is carefully mounted on a compatible tripod such as the GoPro Tripod for a steady and perfect shot.
Additionally, filming outdoors during the golden hours, which usually occur an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, will guarantee images and videos that are pleasing to the eyes and make people wonder if such picture-perfect moments are real.
Filming outdoors can be a miserable experience especially when nature’s elements are unfavorable during shooting. When filming outside, your source of light is continuously moving, and this will determine how the light illuminates the subject of your photographic interest. Your subject may not get a sufficient balance of light on them, and if the sun is acutely angled to one side, it is likely to cast a dark shadow on the other side.
However, a possible way to mitigate such occurrences is to make use of reflectors because they help you to better control your light and will significantly improve your shots. Using a reflector is also necessary especially when there is excessive harsh light because it helps to diffuse direct sunlight into softer light and minimizes ugly shadows that come with camera flashes. Reflectors are also handy when shooting on windy days as they can be used to shield your subject from extreme conditions. They can be the best accessory to have while filming outdoors as it can be the difference in having a great experience while getting amazing shots along the way.
To maximize the effectiveness of a reflector, they should be held close to your subject of interest while shooting.
A filter is a necessary accessory for your outdoor filming activities as there are some slight and unwanted distractions such as reflections and glare which can deter you or ruin your outdoor filming experience. Using filters will certainly help to get rid of these problems while allowing you to take some mind-blowing videos. When filming outdoors, the brightness of the sun can totally ruin your shot. But by applying a filter to your lens, it helps to get rid of reflections and glare which intensifies the colors, giving you a better image.
The way in which filters work is by letting in light from certain angles. A filter can also be rotated to improve color diffusion and remove unnecessary surface glare. They also help to penetrate surrounding atmospheric smog, making distant objects appear clearer and more in focus. When you inevitably end up taking a shot of the sky, filters help to separate the clouds from the blue background by darkening them and making them more obvious. Also, filters can help protect your lens against adverse weather elements such as salty sea breeze or a sprinkle of rain even as you continue shooting.
An ideal filter to use is the GoPro Magenta Filter which provides color correction while capturing captivating images. It is also constructed of scratch-resistant and optical grade glass to protect your camera lens.
Use Fixed Focal Lengths
When filming outdoors, the immediate environment is much wider and open than shooting inside, so you have to consider the effect of a focal length lens and the advantages it can give you. It is highly essential to pick the right choice of lens for filming outdoors to capture your best moments in clearer and sharper focus. Also known as a prime lens, a fixed focal length lens is not adjustable and comes in various lengths ranging from a wide-angle lens to telephoto lens.
The main advantage of using fixed focal length lens is that it has a larger or wider aperture which allows you to film in lower light with a shallow depth of field. What this means is that you are able to produce videos that will appear sharp and vivid with the inherent colors appearing more accurate because there are few glass elements between the subject and the image sensor. This also characterizes its lighter weight and it is easier to carry around.
Because of its wider aperture, filming outdoors using a lens with a fixed focal length allows you to easily capture your shots in quick succession. It also enables you to zoom in on your subject by blurring the background and sharpening the image. This is a good way to limit the impact of unwanted distractions in the background and keep your subject in focus. Lastly, you can invest in GoPro Protective Lens Replacement which shields the interior camera lens from dirt, dust, and scratches.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
This tip is essential if you wish to create high-quality videos when filming outdoors. It is a photography rule that you can’t shoot in direct sunlight especially during mid-day; this is because the light at this time of the day is quite harsh, makes your subject squint and creates a strong contrast in your images. Also, when shooting in direct sunlight, you have little or no control over lighting conditions as you are left without the shade that is provided in the earlier and later times of the day. This can make you lose perspective and the details that bring out the uniqueness of your subject. However, this problem shouldn’t deter you from filming outdoors; rather you should step into the shade.
When shooting in the shade, the light is used to illuminate the features of your subject and this will make a complete difference in the quality of your filming. Also, shooting in the shade dispels harsh shadows caused by direct sunlight and with proper positioning in respect to the direction of sunlight, you can take amazing shots.
For those who wish to add a little excitement to their outdoor filming by using drones to capture footage, this tip is also essential because many camera drones do not have the ability to deal with a high level of contrast. So, it is vital to position the drone’s camera away from facing direct sunlight to avoid producing images that are washed out in sunlight or lined with dark shadows.
Use the Sun as a Backlight
The light from the sun can also be used as a backlight to enhance your character. By positioning your subject between the camera and the sun, you get a back-lift that highlights the outline of your subject; this can potentially create a halo effect on your subject. However, to effectively use this technique, wait for the sun to lower towards the horizon giving you the much sought after edge light and with this, you get off amazing shots of your subject.
Also, with the sun giving you a natural backlight, it will separate your subject from the background giving them adequate lighting across their features and this is where the GoPro Smart Remote comes in. This intelligent device allows you to be part of the outdoor filming experience as it offers full remote control of all your camera’s functions and settings.
Consider Using a Flash
Using artificial light in an environment where there is an abundance of natural light might make you wonder whether this tip is necessary. Of course, it is. Even though there is enough light around you, it comes only from one direction and is probably likely that it may not touch your intended subject. Using a flash while shooting outdoors is an effective way of removing shadows that may creep into your shot. You also have more control over lighting options as there are settings especially on external flashlights that allow you to change the brightness. What this process does to your shot is to fill the angles dominated by dark shadows with additional lighting.
Using a flash also enhances your shots by making your subjects appear sharper and the more light you have, the more creative you can get with your shot. You can also consider attaching your external flash to the GoPro Tripod Mounts which provide a solid platform for your additional source of lighting.
When shooting outdoors, your shots will, more often than not, include several objects such as trees, wildlife, and landscapes. Using the autofocus feature on your camera (or travel camera) can concentrate your shots on objects such as trees behind your intended subject thereby blurring it. Another reason to turn off autofocus is that this feature makes it difficult to shoot in just any light condition. Light conditions have to be near perfect for it to work with much success and this is not a guarantee each time you step outdoors to shoot.
Avoiding autofocus on your camera also allows you to shoot in silence which can be crucial if you intend on shooting wildlife; so as to prevent distract scaring them away. Always try to use the manual focus to avoid all these problems.
When shooting outdoors, there is almost always some sort of horizon present; this can surely make or mar your shot. There are two essential things to consider when lining up your shot with a horizon. Firstly, you have to consider if the horizon is straight enough; one that is out of shape will also distort the image you are trying to create. When filming outdoors, always ensure to capture the horizon in a straight line as this draws focus to your shot.
A second thing to consider is where you are placing the horizon in your shot. For example, if you have an ocean as your horizon, avoid including the full length of the ocean in the picture as this may distract viewers from your intended shot. This can be mitigated by placing the horizon very low while filming. This will eventually have a positive effect by emphasizing elements above the horizon.
Adjust White Balance Manually
When filming outdoors, the color of the sky is bound to change frequently. As you continue shooting, you will likely spot some undertones of unnatural yellow colors in your images. Though your camera may be efficient in guessing the correct white balance for your intended shot, it won’t get it right all the time.
Sometimes, you may need to adjust the white balance yourself and this is crucial because it allows you to be accurate with the colors present in your shot. So, instead of choosing between white balance options like Daylight or Fluorescent, you are better off setting the white balance manually.