What skills do you need to be a videographer?


Becoming a videographer might be the dream of many film lovers and camera junkies, but the path towards becoming one isn’t all that simple. There probably isn’t one clear path towards becoming a great videographer either.

Sure, you may have come across several series from videographers about how they achieve their current success. However, take a closer look; you’ll notice that they’ll all be following somewhat similar steps in a different manner before they finally got that big break.

A videographer needs to study the history of filmmaking, learn from others, build up a network of contacts, and polish their skills before they get anywhere in their chosen careers. If you have a passion for becoming a videographer, that’s certainly going to help you along the way.

Without further ado, let’s now delve into what exactly a videographer is and what you can do to become one as soon as possible!

With the advancements in technology changing up the video industry and enhancing its growth, there’s a lot of potential for videographers out there.

In today’s marketplace, video is a major product that many people want. There are so many different types of video available (such as short films, weddings, live events, commercials, etc.) that videographers are in high demand. But what constitutes a good videographer? There are many qualities that go into being a good videographer, but these three are some of the most important.

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What is a Videographer? 

A Videographer is a person behind the camera, shooting all types of productions and events such as; corporate videos, B-roll footage for film and TV productions, weddings, business meetings, music videos, and even Bar Mitzvahs. Usually, the Videographer will both shoot and edit the film, taking the project through to completion themselves. Further, Videographers usually work on a freelance basis.


Let’s talk about equipment. 

High-end production equipment is no longer a necessity for Videographers because viral content doesn’t always need to be highly polished, and even entry-level kit can output professional HD quality footage. The only thing that matters is what you’re shooting and how you frame it.

Thankfully due to the ever-increasing digital environment and cheaper editing software becoming a Videographer is now more accessible to the masses. People are consuming more video than ever before, so there is a growing demand for content and an expanding industry for visual storytellers.

You needn’t have the most expensive equipment possible. A decent starter kit would comprise a decent DSLR camera, a tripod, a microphone, and a subscription to editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro.

Key skills

Given the basic equipment required, your success in the industry is down to how you use it, and the skills you have. You need to be passionate about whatever you’re shooting because word-of-mouth will develop your career and open up further opportunities. This means that you need to be a good salesperson and be ready to promote your brand at every opportunity.

You need to be great at communicating with people and making them feel at ease. You can hardly expect the best results if you are unable to make the person in front of the camera comfortable.

To excel as a Videographer, you need to be an enthusiastic learner. In this fast-paced tech landscape, you need to constantly stay up-to-date with the latest developments and be willing to learn new things to improve your offering continuously.

Create a portfolio

Initially, creating a varied portfolio of work is one of the most important things you need to do, having various production examples will benefit you in the long run! You want to translate your work to clients and show that no job is too small or tedious for you and that you bring your A-game to every project.

Social media is a great way to start by getting your videos out there and building traffic to your website or video channels. You could begin by making short documentaries, or even just shooting your friends having a good time – as long as you’re creating engaging content, then you’re good to go.

How to Become a Videographer

Everyone needs to start somewhere, and Videographers would usually take their first steps in professional production as a Camera Assistant, Runner or Production Assistant. Taking these kinds of entry-level positions will help to build your experience. It will also benefit you in the long run, by allowing you to build up a network of contacts who’ll keep you in mind when you eventually become established enough to book big gigs that require a few helping hands!

You could also look to volunteer your time at local community productions. Working at a local TV station will enable you to build basic skills and knowledge which will be essential for this role. Further, you could look to undertake an internship.

Top Skills Mentioned in Job Descriptions

Employers require a broad range of skills and qualifications in their descriptions of Videographer positions. The top three keywords make up 46.22% of the total set of top terms. Look to the Resume Checklist below to see how Videography, Instruction, and Elementary Education shares stack up against the share from resumes. Editing, Animation Design and Video Editing represent an additionally healthy share of the employer Videographer job postings with their combined total of 29.89%. At 23.91%, Photography, Graphic Design, Adobe Products, and Social Media appear far less frequently but are still a significant portion of the 10 top Videographer skills and requirements according to employers.

Top Skills Mentioned in Resumes

Jobseeker resumes showcase a broad range of skills and qualifications in their descriptions of Videographer positions. The top three keywords represent 44.15% of the total set of top resume listed keywords. Look to the Resume Checklist below to investigate how Videography, Editing, and Adobe Products match up to employer job descriptions. Adobe Photoshop, Photography, and Social Media represent a very decent share of skills found on resumes for Videographer with 28.21% of the total. At 27.64%, Photographer, Musical, Digital, and After Effects Design appear far less frequently but are still a significant portion of the 10 top Videographer skills and qualifications found on resumes.

Essential Qualities of a Good Videographer

Having Great Communication Skills

A good videographer will have great communication skills and be a leader both on and off the set. When filming a project, having a good line of communication is a must. A breakdown in this communication leads to issues behind the camera. A videographer who has great communication skills will be able to not only communicate with anyone helping them, but they will also be able to communicate clearly with their client to ensure that both parties are on the same page. If a videographer is not sure about what their client wants, they should always inquire before moving forward with the project.

Having Knowledge of All Types of Video Equipment

There are a large variety of video cameras, editing software, lighting rigs, etc. A good videographer will have basic knowledge of how all these pieces of equipment work, especially if they are going solo on a project. Having access to mid to upper range equipment is also a must. They will also have knowledge of basic lighting setups, white-balance levels, and camera movement. All these elements (and many others) put together will help create a great final cut.

Being Able to Adapt to Any Situation

Being a videographer also means that you have to adapt to what is happening around you, especially if you are filming a live event where you only get one chance to get it right. Everything doesn’t always go according to plan, and you have to able to adjust for that. Quick thinking and fast-acting are the difference between a perfect shot and a missed opportunity.

Tips On How You Can Take Your Video Production Skills To The Next Level

Prepare and Plan Beforehand

A plan is necessary. Do not start filming if you do not have a plan. Write your script. Writing a video script is hard. You can hire a professional to write it.

Do not waste your time on something you are not qualified for, especially if you want to create successful videos. Hire professionals to help you with your plan.

It’s always a good idea to prepare appropriately before conducting a shoot. If you choose to do otherwise, your output will appear sloppy and very unprofessional. That’s not what you want if you intend to establish yourself as a professional videographer.

However, if you ready yourself in advance, your attention will be focused on directing your subjects. You’ll find that planning your angles and shots before you begin is going to save you a lot of time, so make sure that you prepare well in advance.

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Audience Centric Approach

Be mindful of your target audience. Understanding who is going to watch your video will help you gain a better understanding of how you are going to go about your production.

You will have a clear picture of what visual style you’re going to use and how long the final output is going to be.

You could be shooting a documentary, short film, or a music video. Whatever it is, your audience needs to resonate with your video. This works best if the content in your video is easy to relate to.

You also need to be well aware of the platform on which your video is going to be hosted. Knowing if the video is going to be online or for personal home use will help you optimize your video accordingly.

Pay a lot of attention to your set and background. Having a distractive set where props are out of order or the cast is not dressed according to the theme of your story makes your production look amateur.

Keep in mind that your audience will be analyzing every little detail in your video. Do not attempt to deceive them by ‘set dressing’ your actual set to simulate a different look.

Don’t be afraid of being broad with your shoot locations. You do not want your video to seem dull.

Why Being Original Matters

Originality is also very important. Production work that is unique to you makes you look very professional and will help you stand out in the industry. Conduct proper research in your preferred field of specialization and found out what style of content is popular.

Be sure to confirm that no other brand has covered the same area that you are targeting. Copying someone else’s creativity and ideas will only make you seem unoriginal and very amateur.

Always Sound Check

The quality of sound is very important. You need to give it high emphasis if you want your work to be professional. Use microphones when recording. Some cameras come with in-built microphones but don’t try and trust the quality of their ability over external microphones.

Poor sound quality will make your work look unprofessional. Keep in mind that having to redo the shoot because of the poor sound recording will also be an inconvenience or possibly, impossible to happen.

Do not use your camera’s mic. Use microphones such as lavalier or lapel. They are hands-free, and they are perfect for sit-down interviews.

Shooting your video with your smartphone? You can improve sound quality by buying a microphone that fits into the headphone input of your phone.

Set Up Your Lighting

Lighting is important when filming. Do not let your footage to be overexposed or underexposed. Make sure the lighting is perfect. Eliminate unwanted shadows.

Three-point lighting is the best. Why? It illuminates video subjects from different angles. Additionally, you can shoot with natural light.

How you set up your lighting will also have an impact on the final look of your work. If you fail to set up your lighting appropriately, you’ll find your raw footage either over or under-exposed. Put a lot of thought into the final effect you are going for.

Do you want your subjects to have shadows or do you want them fully lit? Be extra careful with how you use your shadows as they might either come out as a very look or very distracting.

Filming under the natural light of the sun is a good idea. It’s an even better idea to shoot during the evening or morning when the light is flattering. Midday light is stronger and can cast undesirable shadows on your shoot subjects.

On the chance that your shoot is to be conducted indoors, you need to exercise precision with the lighting you are going to require. You need to be sure of the source and angle that the light will come from.

Watch Your Footage Almost Immediately

Practice watching your footage while on location almost immediately after recording it. This makes it easy for you to reshoot a scene or segment if you should.

All photographers and videographers know there is nothing as hurtful as watching raw files while editing only to find out that something did not go as planned while recording. It could either be the lighting, the sound, or the focus of the subject.

Capture Your B-Roll

Make sure you capture your b-roll. Having another camera will enable you to get several other shots of your subject from different angles. The b-roll footage will come in handy as cutaways when you need to cover up your cuts.

You’ll find that they’re also helpful in complementing your narrative style as an industry professional. The best thing about b-roll videos is you can always take the time to go back to the set and shoot the footage if you need it.

Avoid Shaky and Unbalanced Footage

Try your best to avoid shaky and unbalanced footage. Any inconsistencies with respect to your subject in-focus and your camera will make your video look very basic.

It is extremely difficult to hold your camera with your hands to get a balanced shot, so try to avoid this if you can.

Use a tripod to steady your camera and try best not to move it unless you can’t help it. For those shots captured while the subject is in motion, make sure you use either a gimbal or a camera stabilizer.

If the footage still comes out as shaky and there’s nothing you can do about it, video stabilization software might help.

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The Background

Pick the right background. You can use real or fake backgrounds. Real backgrounds include outdoor location, living room, an office, etc. And fake backgrounds include papers, curtains, green screens, etc.

Make sure your background is not distracting or messy. Green screens are perfect if you want to replace the background with anything you want.

Whether you decide to get a degree in videography or prefer to go the autodidactic route and become a self-taught videographer, working with film and video is an exciting career which offers lots of different opportunities.

You can work alone as a freelancer, as part of a larger crew or even pursue a career in Hollywood.

You can shoot weddings, become a documentary filmmaker, make a living from shooting corporate videos, do vlogging-style travel videos for YouTube or work on big TV-productions or a series, e.g. Netflix or HBO.

It is best if you start early, but there’s no reason why you can’t learn the required skills a little further down the line.

No matter the path you decide to pursue, you’ll have to put in the hours to know your gear, know how to edit, know how to utilize social media, build up a network of industry professionals, get clients, know about lighting, and know about a lot of other aspects of filmmaking.

In short, you have to work hard to make your videography career take off, but once it does, you won’t regret it.

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