How to Anticipate Your Shots

Lesson Details

Subject: Shooting

Title: How to Anticipate Your Shots


Learning How to Get Ahead of The Action

Shooting video with a small hand-held camera or a smartphone is a world away from those giant cameras you sometimes see being used by broadcasters where they have to carry the camera on their shoulder or on a tripod.

One of the greatest advantages of small cameras and mobile devices for filming is you can be fast, agile and fluid. Because you don't have to worry about how to move your gear around while you're filming, you can follow the action, or more importantly, you can actually get ahead of it.

If you’ve ever played tennis or squash or some other racquet sport then you'll see how shooting with small cameras is very similar. In this video shooting tutorial, Michael Rosenblum is going to show you how the trick is to think about where the next shot is going to be before it happens. Just as you anticipate where the ball is going to be when you play sports. Once you develop that sense of anticipation in your filming you can get to the right position first. But instead of hitting a ball, you’re capturing the action.

When you learn to film in this way you will soon see that you don't need to direct your subject to only do things when you're ready to film them. Unless you're working with actors, it's very difficult to make your footage look natural if you have to direct everything. Learning the technique of anticipation in your filming will enable you to become a very proficient videographer in a short period of time. As you develop a sense of where you need to be to get the next shot you'll feel as though the action is starting to slow down a bit and you'll no longer have the feeling that everything is happening too quickly.


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Let’s talk a little bit more about the racquet sport thing because you know what? Shooting with a little camera like this is a lot like playing a racquet sport. It’s about anticipating where the shot is going to be. You know if you played tennis or something like that, the best players are not the ones who chase the ball. The best players are the ones who get set up where the ball is going to be. It’s about anticipating the shot before it happens and obviously with a video camera, if you can anticipate and get ahead of the action each time, your shots are going to be much better and your work is going to be much better. It’s going to be much easier for you. I used to play squash when I was in school.

I don’t know if you’ve played squash but it’s a very fast, it’s a very tough game. And you play with a little black ball like this, and a little racquet like this. You’ve probably seen them play it in movies. They go bang, bang, bang and the ball goes really fast. So the first time I got on the squash court, and I like it because it’s world’s only air-conditioned ball game. So I’m all for that. So you get in these air-conditioned courts and you get in there and you hit the ball like this and the person you’re playing with goes bang and the ball goes back and you go “Whoa, whoa”. You think to yourself how am I ever going to learn how to play this game, it goes so fast?

And for the first couple of weeks while you’re playing, it does go very fast. And maybe you get one or two or three volleys in but then you miss the ball all the time. But you know what? After about six weeks of playing or six months of playing, suddenly you’re anticipating where the ball is going to be. You’re placing the ball. You’re there ahead of it. You’re in control. And it seems to you that the game has slowed down. You know what? The game hasn’t really slowed down. All that’s happened is you’ve gotten adjusted to the speed at which things happen.

This is this thing about not directing. A little suffering in the beginning, but you’ll but you’ll adjust to the things, how quickly things happen. And things will seem to happen much more slowly. So as your coach I’m telling you right now, I would rather have you get three good volleys in that are clean than go chasing around the court waving the racquet wildly hoping to hit the ball. And that’s what happens when you go out with the camera shoot every stupid thing that happens. But the more disciplined you can get with your shooting like in a racquet sport, the more you can learn to make a perfect swing every time. In the long run the better your game will be. And the same thing holds true with this.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015 to 2020