By Tayiba Ahmed
Are you an aspiring TV news anchor? Are you interested in film-making? Are you interested in experiencing what goes on behind the camera in a state-of-the-art studio? Well if you are, you have the opportunity to experience the thrill of recording. How? The Department of Mass Communication (MCM) of the College of Arts and Sciences at American University of Sharjah (AUS), has a great audio-visual studio, which is available to all MCM students who are eager to learn and create video projects.
The state-of-the-art MCM TV Studio is located at the basement of the New Academic Building. The digital video studio provides students with wide-screen cameras, a wide-screen digital video mixer and a digital audio mixer. If you are a new student, a returning student who have not used the studio or have used the studio but you didn’t know your way around, here are a few tips on how to best utilize the time you get in the studio.
- Be on time
To work in the studio, students have to book (at least 24 hours before) a slot with the MCM web technician. It is important that students show up on time for their booked slots, so that they not only use their time efficiently, but also pack up on time for other students who might have booked the next slot. Preparing for the shoot takes time as well, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
- Avoid beginner’s mistake
There are some common mistakes that students inexpert in video shooting might make while recording, that you should avoid. One of these mistakes is excessive use of zooming or panning. Consider if the shot requires the techniques, and if they do not add to the scene, avoid it. Instead you could stop the recording and move the camera closer to your subject. In the case of panning, make sure to move the camera slowly; do not be in a hurry to capture the action. Instead, slow down the pace of the action so that the camera captures it naturally. The MCM studio has dolly wheels that can be used to move the camera around smoothly while shooting, that will be great for this purpose. Another mistake you can avoid is by making sure that the camera lens is in focus the entire time. It can be disheartening when the scene comes out great but you realize while editing, that it’s out of focus.
- Keep the lighting in mind
The lighting in the scene can be considered as one of the most important aspects of video-shooting. It sets the mood, highlights details, creates shadows and establishes a sense of time and place amongst other things. The MCM studio already has lighting equipment installed, that can be maneuvered around, or experimented with, based on the how the scene requires it. However, this does not mean that all the studio lights have to be used at once. If you think the scene requires just one light, use just one!
- Be aware of sound
Sound is also one of the most important aspects in a video, which is sometimes overlooked. Sound adds a great deal to the scene; whether by its presence in the scene, or by its absence. It is important while shooting, to be aware of the sounds in the background. The MCM studio is soundproof, which means that once the doors are closed, sound from outside cannot penetrate the room. Another thing to keep in mind is to check the video once it’s shot. It’s better to figure out the mistakes in the sound on the spot, in case the scene needs to be reshot, rather than come across them while you’re editing. Also make sure to record a few minutes of the atmos sound – this is the sound of the space or environment while everything is silent. This will be of great use in the editing process.
- Shoot scenes with the edit in mind
When shooting scenes, it is important to keep the editing in mind. Shoot additional footage and keep the shots recording for additional few seconds. You don’t have to use all the extra footage, but it’ll give you a lot more options when you are editing and can enhance the story-telling of the video.
- Choose background carefully
When working on a video, it is also extremely important to be aware of the background. A background can not only add to the scene, it can also distract from the subject. So make sure that the background in all your scenes are not too crowded and that nothing in any of your backgrounds distracts the viewers from the main subject.
- Create a structured folder
Finally, make sure that you back up everything you record, and that it’s saved in an organized folder; it will make the editing process and your life much easier!
So if you are a broadcast journalism student, aspiring web-based journalist, aspiring or experienced film-maker or you just have some multimedia projects, be sure to make the best use of this fantastic facility. Learn everything you can as it will help give you basic skills and knowledge of the reals world, after AUS.
Tayiba Ahmed is a student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah