So you want to make moves? Here is how. What follows is a very personal hit list of the most important things that I think you need to know to have a chance of making something that might make you a God, well, sort of.
1.Don't use a HDV camera, and if you do shoot everything in DV, unless your camera cost more than £2000 and you have 8 cores in your PC or Mac. Consumer cameras will not realise the res possible with HDV and the video produced is very clunky to edit on a real world PC, and rendering? It's not make a cup of tea time, it's more like go pick the tea from India but go overland time. Real cameras use tape too (with some worthy exceptions).
2.Forget the Zoom buttons. If you are shooting hand held with a small camera shoot everything on full wide. Do this and some of what you shoot may be watch able without dosing everyone who watches on Dramamine.
3.Use a tripod, then you can zoom, oh and it looks cool and pro too.
4.Never ever ever use any tarty wipes. Editing is very very hard – get over it, there is no quick way to impress your friends, least of all bloody Venetian blind wipes.
5.Don't participate – observe.
6.Less is more. Do yourself a favour. If you film your whole holiday (or whatever) you will end up with piles of tapes and you will need a lifetime to edit them. You will end up the enemy of all your friends if you ask then to watch the raw video. A weeks holiday should produce maybe 2 hours of tape and that should be ten mins of video – unless your holiday was in Iraq and you were really brave when 20 mins might be OK.
7.Less is more, again. When you are editing use only those shots that are technically tip top unless it's of a plane crash.
8.Only talk behind the camera if you are really clever and have thought about it first – you will probably sound like a fool, a very loud fool. Remember the camera is the eyes of the audience, not the mouth.
9.Don't ever make light sabre videos or skateboard videos unless it's the real darth vader with a real light sabre on a skateboard doing really cool tricks and not falling off at the end.
10.For all videos make sure you have a Beginning, a Middle and an End.
11.Get a microphone, anything is better than a camera mic.
12.If you are filming anything where there are police around, be nice to them, they usually know when the action will start. If they are suspicious of you just tell them you are a film student.
13.Don't charge anyone for anything for at least 3 years after you start. Your work is very likely to be rubbish and you will get us all a bad name.
14.Don't do weddings – think out of the box, try funerals.
15.Learn to use your camera in full auto mode. This is easier with some cameras than others I realise. Default should be manual everything with auto when you have no choice. Auto iris can ruin a shot when someone walks across a scene, it all goes bright and dark. Auto focus will often get the wrong thing or 'hunt'. Anti shake just makes it look like you were drunk, shake becomes wobble. My 'pro' camera has no auto focus and no anti shake.
16.Practice makes perfect – eventually. Learn to take criticism.
17.Your friends probably cant act and you probably cant write. Start with those assumptions and refer to 16.
18. Dont obesess over picture quality. Most of '28 days' was shot on SD (not hdv) canon XL1s - I didnt hear anyone in the cinema mithering on about the fact it wasnt shot on a 78,000 sony cinealta cam.