Shooting Video


Video production is a time-consuming process that should be carefully planned and executed for the best results.  Like all other branded promotional materials, videos produced by The University of New Mexico should be of the highest quality to properly represent facilities, events and people.  

When preparing to start a video project, make sure to communicate thoroughly with the client or organizer of the video so that proper notes can be acquired regarding specific attributes for the final draft.  Use a creative brief and refer clients to this video style guide, if necessary. 


Professional video equipment should be used whenever possible.  Video shot with a smartphone is generally not acceptable, unless there is a reason particular to that specific video.  In most cases, videos should be shot in 1920x1080 high definition video or better.


If the video has a spoken word or targeted audio element, a professional microphone (separate from the onboard camera mic) must be used in order to maximize the sound quality.  If you are conducting an interview, it is best to use a quiet location where extraneous noise will be at a minimum.  It is important to monitor audio with headphones so that crackling and interference can be detected during sound recording.


Supplemental footage created to cover parts of the main video track is called b-roll.  The purpose of this extra footage is to aid storytelling or to partially cover sound bites that might be too long.  Good b-roll will make your video more compelling and visually interesting.  Whether you’re using original video or photo elements, make sure that the quality is consistent and on-brand. 

Video should, almost always, be shot using a camera that is firmly secured on a tripod.  Shaky shots look unprofessional and can distract from the overall message of a piece.  If a handheld shot is completely necessary for movement, use a stabilizer to give it a more fluid look.

A lot of video and DSL cameras come equipped with a zoom lens.  It’s not advised to attempt a zoom while the camera is recording, especially if it only zooms manually.  You will likely end up with a distracting and shaky, off-brand shot.    

When shooting video, you must keep in mind that you (or someone else) is going to have to edit it later.  It’s always useful to hold shots for no less than 6 or 7 seconds in order to have enough of a single clip to edit from.  It’s also a good idea to shoot more video than you actually think that you will need to complete the video.  Doing this will leave you with a wealth of shots to choose from.

Your shots are going to visually tell the story of what your subject is describing.  One way to make your b-roll more interesting is to get shots from various distances and angles.  A combination of the following three types of shots create diversity in the frame and will keep the viewer more engaged. 

  • Wide shots are used to establish a scene and are shot further away from the subject to document them in their surroundings.   
  • Medium shots are more specific, but still give the environment and subject equal screen presence.
  • Tight shots (also called close up shots) are utilized to emphasize details of the subject and are shot at a really close distance.


It’s important to shoot video with the same type of branding techniques that one would use for still photography.  Shoot with a shallow depth of field, using vibrant colors and sharp contrast.  In most instances your subjects should not be camera aware.  This means that you should catch candid shots of your subjects while they are engaged in activity and not gesturing directly to the camera.  Subjects being interviewed should look just to the side of the camera and not directly into the lens. 

For detailed photo guidelines visit