Now that the weather’s warming up, you might be considering shooting some of your next video outside. Indeed some of the best online videos are created right in your own backyard, on the streets of a city, in a park—anywhere the light is good and the ambience is interesting.

We’ve put together a list of useful tips for using these factors to your advantage, and getting the most for your outdoor filming efforts. Let us know how they work for you!

1. Use the sun as a backlight. By placing your subject between you and the sun, you can achieve a backlit or “halo” effect that emphasizes the outline of your subject. This works best when sun is at a 45 degree angle; if it’s too low, you risk getting lens flare, so try this after midday. (Find out more about how lighting works for video in our recent post.)

2. Use the “golden hours” of daylight. Another option, depending on the look and feel you’re going for, is to film when the sun is low in the sky (roughly an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset). Filming with the sun at your back will give your subject a rosy glow.

3. Use a wide aperture. By manually selecting a wide aperture and zooming in on your subject, you’ll be able to blur the background and sharpen the image of your subject. This is a nice way to visually create ambience without distracting from the subject.

4. Use a microphone. Perhaps this goes without saying, but outside environments tend to have ambient noise, which leads to lessened sound quality in your recording. To solve this problem, use a clip mic or a boom mic—both of which you can place close to the speaker—to make sure the focal sound is the speaker, not the background. (You can find out more about getting the best sound in your video in our recent blog post on the topic.)

5. Use filters. Most cameras these days come with a variety of filters that will eliminate the slight annoyances of outdoor filming that can be distracting, like reflections and glare. A UV filter, for example, will reduce glare, while a polarizing filter will reduce reflections from water and windows. Read your manual to find out what filters your camera has, and use them!

6. Avoid autofocus. Shooting outdoors often means that there will be several objects in your depth of field, such as buildings, trees, etc. This can confuse the autofocus, and if you’re not careful you’ll end up with footage that keeps focusing on the trees behind your subject, and blurring your subject. Always try to use the manual focus when you’re shooting outdoors to keep this from happening.

Do you have any tips to add to the list? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave them in comments below, or give us a shout via Twitter (@SproutVideo).

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 10, 2013

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