Videomaker by Chuck Peters

The zoom control is probably one of the first buttons you pushed when you picked up your brand new camcorder. After all, it’s mounted in a prominent spot on the camera, right there where your finger rests. It wants to be pushed. So, we hit record and we start zooming. We zoom in to get closer to the action where we can see distant details. We zoom out to show more of the scene, then we zoom in again to show something else. And we do all of this zooming without ever stopping to consider that the habit might be making our videos worse, not better.

I for one, believe that if you want to produce videos that look more like the high end productions you see on TV, it’s time to stop zooming. Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons you should stop zooming and never start again.

1. Zooms are yesterday’s news.

One of the most compelling reasons to stop zooming is that serious television producers stopped doing it years ago. Here’s an exercise to try. Next time you turn on your TV, watch closely and count the number of zooms you see. Unless you are watching reruns from the 60s, 70s or 80s, (or poorly produced local programs), you could watch for a week without seeing one. Why? One reason is that many of today’s television shows are shot like films, using cameras with fixed focal length prime lenses that do not zoom. The result is a cinematic aesthetic that sets the stuff we see in movies and on upscale television series apart from most video productions. In the 70s there were zooms all over television, but they went out of vogue with sideburns and bell bottoms. If the best producers in the business aren’t zooming, you shouldn’t either. read more...

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