The day you get married, the moment your child is born, and graduations are three type of events that stand out.
Since this is the time of year when students go through the proud rite of passage called graduation, I thought that I’d share some tips for shooting one.
There can be many challenges: At bigger graduations it can be a challenge to find your loved one in the crowd of students, you may not be sitting at an ideal location to get a good shot, and if you’re not plugged into the audio board, it may be challenging to capture the audio from speeches.
If it’s a smaller graduation, things should be a bit simpler, but if you don’t prepare and have the right equipment, your shoot can easily turn sour.
Here are some things to consider and prepare for if you plan to shoot a graduation.
Tripod – If you’re shooting from a distance a tripod will save your video from the shakes.
Extra batteries or AC adaptor – Graduations are long, so bring an extra battery or two, and even better bring a power supply and extension cord.
Sound – Unless you come really early, have a wireless system, and have access to the sound board, you probably won’t be getting a clean audio feed. Unless your kid is giving the Valedictorian speech, getting great sound isn’t as important, but try to set up near a PA speaker to get the best sound possible.
Don’t set up in the aisle where you are sitting or somewhere where people will be walking. Try to set up along the back or side of the room. If the graduation is in a large auditorium try to set up in a place where you can have a bird’s eye view.
You will be tempted to record EVERYTHING. Don’t. Remember, that if your goal is to create a family video you probably should focus on shots of your loved one. Get some preps of them getting ready, interview them before the ceremony, get some shots of them with their friends before it starts. Once you get set at your shooting location focus on them during the procession. You may want to shoot some of the graduation remarks, but it depends on what you’re going to do with the video during the edit. The money shot will be when their name is announced and they walk across the stage. Keep your shot as steady as possible and don’t zoom in and out. A medium shot will be perfect. You may want to shoot the recession, but it’s probably not needed. After the event, you may want to do another quick interview with them to get their thoughts on the moment.
Don’t forget to get a few good photos. They can be a life saver if you get into a pinch.
So what should the final video look like?
My friend and former news colleague Trey Thomas produced a video of his son’s pre-school graduation. Sure Myles has a way to go before the big dance, but Trey did a great job shooting and editing the ceremony. He used a tripod, recorded a couple of interviews, and captured clean audio using an external recorder.
Take a look!!!