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Videos Need Framing, Too

Although the techniques behind a well-framed video shot are similar to those of a well-framed still shot, acquiring those skills often comes with a set of complications. The joy of the iPhone video camera is that you probably always carry it, and you can pull it out in a hurry to capture something that's simply too funny, weird, cool, momentous, sentimental (or whatever) to pass up. In that moment, when you're fumbling to get your phone out of your purse or pocket, all you can think about is opening the camera app and getting the shot before your daughter stops singing, your coworker actually falls off the barstool, or whatever. You turn on the camera as fast as you can, point it in the generally correct direction, and exhale in relief, knowing that you got the shot.

While the iPhone makes it pretty easy to get shots you might otherwise have missed, sometimes your relief in having a camera running at all may stop you from thinking about how best to set up the shot. That's unfortunate, because taking a few moments to consider the framing of the shot can change the video of your daughter's spontaneous song. Instead of just preserving a memory for you, this video can become something that you show off, knowing that it's pleasant for other people to view—even people who aren't her parents.

Getting your framing right can be difficult when you're hurried, but with a little practice framing actually becomes entirely natural—it may even be hard not to frame your shots. (One of my colleagues says that if his shot is framed badly, his teeth hurt until he corrects the framing.) I urge you to practice your framing when you can take the time to set up your shots. Eventually, all of your videos—whether hurried or planned—will have a cleaner, more appealing, and more intentional look.

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