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The basics

Camera and Editing

This will give you an introduction to the camera, tripod and technical terminology for using professional camera equipment


Camera terms






White balance

Focus, depth of field


Almost all types of video work require a tripod at some stage and you need to know how to use one. What you need to know:

  • How to adjust the tripod height
  • How to level the tripod head
  • How to attach and secure the camera How to use the locking handles

The Tripod Head

The Camera

What you need to know:

  • How to power up the camera
  • How to use the zoom function
  • How to use manual focus
  • How to carry out a white balance


Lenses have different focal lengths. The greater the millimetre of the lens, the more zoomed in objects/people will be.In the example here, the camera is at the same distance at all times, but the barn gets much bigger in the frame as the focal length is increased.For shots where detail is imporant, you'd chose a smaller focal length, and for shots where background and scale is important (such as establishing shots), you'd chose a higher focal length.A prime lens has a fixed focal length and is lighter and smaller, and a zoom lens can have multiple focal lengths but is normally bulkier. You'd need to have multiple prime lenses unless you plannted to move the camera about more.

Focal length

Types of camera

Different types of professional camera equipment in current use:

  • ENG (electronic news gathering) camcorders
  • DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras
  • EFP (electronic field production) cameras
  • Action cameras (such as GoPro)
  • Drone camera rigs

Camera functions

White balance

  • White Balance basically means colour balance.
  • It gives the camera a reference to ‘true white’. It tells the camera what the colour white looks like.
  • As white light is the sum of all other colours, the camera will then display all other colours correctly.
  • Incorrect white balance gives shots a yellow or blue tint.

When do you need to do it?

As a rule, you should perform a white balance:

  • At the beginning of every shoot
  • Every time you change location
  • Any time there is a change in lighting conditions
Remember, if you are filming outside you will be experiencing subtle changes in daylight colour temperature as the day progresses.

White balance

Setting white balance

  • Locate the white balance button
  • Zoom into a pure white source (matte rather than gloss)
  • Ensure that at least 80% of the viewfinder is white
  • Focus and set the exposure
  • Press the white balance switch once
  • A flashing icon should appear for a few seconds
  • Your white balance is set


The iris is an adjustable opening (aperture) which controls the amount of light coming through the lens and hitting the sensor (exposure). The video camera iris works in basically the same way as a stills camera iris - as you open the iris, more light comes in and the picture appears brighter.

Iris and exposure

focus terms

Manual focus is a critical skill at all levels of video production. You don't want your footage to come out blurry, so it's important to know how to properly focus the camera.


How to focus properly

  • If your camera has Auto Focus, switch it off.
  • Locate the manual focus ring on the lens.
  • Zoom in as tight as possible to the subject you wish to focus on.
  • Adjust the focus ring until the picture is sharp.
  • Zoom out until you reach the required framing. Your picture should remain sharp.


types of zoom


Zoom is a function which moves your point of view closer to, or further away from your subject. The further you zoom in, the more difficult it is to keep your shot steady, so use a tripod when possible. Less is more with zoom. If you wish to show a wide shot followed by a more detailed shot, consider stopping recording before zooming in. The result is usually cleaner and more efficient.


Wide angle vs telephoto

It's important to note the different in being close up to your subject and zoomed out (wide angle lens setting)vsbeing far away from your subject and zoomed in (telephoto lens setting)




Depth of field

The depth of field (DoF) is the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects that are in acceptably sharp focus in an image captured with a camera. In footage with a narrow DoF, only a small slice of the image is in focus. Conversely, with a large DoF, much more of the scene is sharp.For example, if you are filming an interview, if the person is sharp but the background is blurry, this has a narrow depth of field.

Thank you!

  1. Treatment Due 16th December
  2. Shooting Script Due 20th January
  3. Shot List Due 27th January
  4. Schedule (group submission) Due 27th January
  5. Call Sheet (group submission) Due 27th January
  6. Evaluation Due 24th February

Assignments & deadlines

There are 7 assignments in this unit:


Write an exciting, funny, informative or serious promotional documentary video for City of Glasgow College's YouTube channel. Your idea should focus on student life, college facilities or the courses on offer.


The normal lens is a standard lens for everyday use. It provides a moderate working distance from the subject. Best Uses Situations when it is essential to reproduce a scene exactly as it appears with the naked eye Especially useful for investigative photography Advantages Speed of lens allows for faster shutter speeds Allows the ability to shoot in low light conditions Generally lightweight and compact Disadvantages Can be moderately expensive

The telephoto lens affects perspective by making subjects that are far away appear closer. This compression is known as a telephoto effect.Best UsesSituations where you cannot or do not want to get close to the subjectFor portraits as they provide a greater working distance from the subjectWhen the background should be blurredAdvantagesAllows for a shallow depth of fieldDisadvantagesHeavier, bulkier and usually more expensiveMust be focused more accuratelyMagnifies camera shakeRequires a shutter speed at least equivalent to their focal length to handhold effectively

The wide angle (short) lens does not magnify the subject; instead, it shows the opposite. Images will appear smaller than what is seen with the naked eye. Best UsesSituations where you are physically prevented from getting far enough away from the subject to fill the frame, such as in small rooms and tight spacesFor fast-moving situations when you do not have time to refocus for every shotWhen it is desirable to have the whole scene in focusSituations that warrant a greater depth of fieldAdvantagesAllows for larger depth of fieldUseful in small spacesHandheld with slower shutter speeds equivalent to their focal lengthDisadvantagesGenerally bulkier and heavier