This shot is an example of usable rule-of-thirds framing. The subject is perfectly centered and their face is in the top-middle third, while their feet are in the bottom-middle third. This same framing should be applied to every camera, in any given situation, at all times.
This shot is an example of unusable rule-of-thirds framing. The subject is off to the left, their face falling out of the center of the shot, and in the middle frame as opposed to being in the top frame. This framing is unusable and the camera operator should constantly be adding movement to their camera to keep centered rule-of-thirds and a usable shot.
Knowing the same lingo will help us be consistent no matter who is serving on a given Sunday.
For clarity, we will refer to specific cameras by their assigned number.
1: Stationary back corner camera
2: Track cameras
3: Side track camera
4: Floor camera (handheld wireless)
5: Stage camera (wired handheld on stage)
6: ProPresenter computer
Some terms you might hear the switcher use to guide your shots.
Pan. Panning means physically turning the camera either horizontally or vertically. When Pastor Steve walks from side to side, you pan horizontally to follow him. Do not pan vertically unless making adjustments when you are not live.
Zoom. Zooming means using the camera’s actual zoom function to go closer or further in a shot. This should only be used for adjustments when you are not live, not for motion when live.
Wide. A wide shot is a shot that is zoomed-out. If you’re asked for a wider shot, wait until you are no longer live, then zoom out to the desired width.
Tight. A tight shot is a shot that is zoomed-in. If you’re asked for a tighter shot, wait until you are no longer live, then zoom in to the desired width.
Before your camera goes live, the switcher gives two cues.
First cue. The switcher will say your camera number to indicate the upcoming switch. Use this time to make any necessary adjustments to your shot.
Second cue. The switcher will say your camera number to indicate that the switch has been made and your camera is live.
Example cue: “Two . . . and two.”
SETTING A GOOD SHOT CONSTANTLY
Lastly, here are some practical guidelines for setting a shot that looks great.
Fill the shot. Try to avoid dead space. A little padding is good, but too much
empty space makes a shot distracting. Use good framing techniques to fill as
much of the shot with content as possible.
Use the rule of thirds. Think about the frame as if it were divided into thirds. In
general, we want the subject centered horizontally in the middle third with his/her
face centered vertically in the top third. This should stay consistent whether the
shot is wide or tight. Track camera will have some variation here as they move.
Keep in mind that we use the lower third of the screen for lyrics and sermon
points. Anything in the bottom third of your shot might be hidden, so frame
important content in top and middle.
Following a subject. As the speaker moves across the stage, you pan the
camera to follow him. But if you follow too soon, the shot can look jerky—too
much back-and-forth movement makes it distracting. If you follow too late, it’s
also distracting—people might worry whether the camera will follow him at all.
Here’s a good rule of thumb. Treat the vertical third lines as “bumpers.” If the
speaker’s head hit one of these bumpers, start panning to follow. This gives
you a good margin of natural movement before you feel the need to start moving