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Top Ten Video Mistakes: 7. Zooming

7. Over Zooming

This is another sure sign that an amateur is behind the camera:  Zooming in and out, in and out for no particular reason.  A zoom can be a good thing, but you have to understand its limitations and have a legitimate reason to use it.

If you’re far away from your subject, zooming in reveals more detail.  However, when you zoom in, you dramatically increase the effects of any camera shake.  Just try walking with a camera zoomed in verses zoomed out.  When you zoom in, you also decrease your depth of field and therefore need to be careful to make sure your subject is in focus.  If you are using a zoom, it’s a good idea to zoom in first, set your focus, and then pull back before recording the zoom.  That way, when the zoom-in is complete, you know the subject will still be in focus.  Hold the camera as steady as possible, and don’t stay zoomed in long enough to show your shake – or better yet, use a tripod.  After you’ve zoomed into a shot, try stopping the camera and composing a different shot, rather than zooming out again.

The same goes for panning and other camera moves.  Let the action you’re following inspire the camera moves rather than drawing attention away from your subject by adding unnecessary zooms and pans.

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