The next time you shoot video, remember F.W.E.F.A.

Published on July 8, 2010

Do you have a checklist that you use when you’re shooting video? If so, is it mental or written?

I have a basic mental checklist for when I’m about to shoot, and I use these letters to help me remember it: F.W.E.F.A. (I pronounce this ‘fweefuh”.)

What does it mean, and how does it help?

The first “F” is for “Framing”. This is the composition of the image. Before I do anything else, I pick the camera angle, adjust the tripod, and adjust the focal length. These things create the frame. This helps me slow down and make sure that I’m starting with a well-composed shot.

The “W” is for “White Balance”. This helps ensure I end up with good color in my imagery. I use a gray card for this, but you could also use a white card.

The “E” is for “Exposure”. Exposure refers to the shutter speed, gain, aperture, and lighting. I prefer to get a correct exposure in the field so I don’t have to adjust much in post.

The second “F” is for “Focus”. I set the focus after the exposure because changing the aperture can change the depth of field, throwing your image out of focus. This is why focus is one of the last things I check.

The “A” is for “Audio”. Usually I’m the only one checking audio, so I listen with headphones and watch the VU meter to make sure the audio levels are good and there’s no clipping.

Are there more things I could check? Sure. But these fundamentals help me get a good image with good audio. A good clean image is a great place to start.

  • Framing
  • White Balance
  • Exposure
  • Focus
  • Audio

Remember F.W.E.F.A. the next time you’re shooting, and maybe it will reduce the chance you end up with video that has no audio.

What else do you do? What would you add to the checklist? Let me know in the comments…


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