In my GoPro Enthusiasts Facebook Group, we had a quick discussion on how we appreciate the “Casey Neistat style” of shooting and editing videos. Usually, my weekly videos are more of the “how-to” variety, but this week I changed things up a bit by doing more of a “vlog” style video… with a how-to twist.
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Casey Neistat Style
Although you may not be a “vlogger”, there are many style elements of Casey’s shooting and editing that you can apply to your own GoPro or family video projects. Let’s check them out!
Imperfections are Perfect
It’s really easy to believe that the videos you create have to be perfect. It’s just not true. What you capture on video is a moment. The only perfect way to experience that moment is in the moment itself. So the capture of that moment on video… it’s like a bonus. So, whatever you get, you get. If it’s a little out of focus, okay. It’s fine if the camera is crooked or shaky. If it doesn’t get nominated for an Academy Award, super. The point is that you captured it, and can use that footage to re-tell the experience and share it with others.
Casey Neistat’s daily vlogs have a high production value in many ways, but if you pay attention, you will find plenty of “imperfections”–because he uses what he has to re-tell an experience or a story and share a moment.
Use What You’ve Got
While Casey seems to use what he has with regard to footage, he also uses whatever camera he has to capture his shots. He uses a DSLR, a point and shoot, his phone, GoPros, and drones. In a recent vlog, he shot on his phone because he was inside a courthouse.
You’ve heard the saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you”, right? It’s kinda like that. Use what you’ve got–it’s better than nothing.
In my example vlog, I used my DLSR, my GoPros, and my phone to capture everything. I could have used just ONE of those devices, and still been able to turn out something worth watching.
Set Your Camera So You Can Enter the Frame
This is a classic Casey Neistat style. It’s one of the things that makes him stand apart from other daily vloggers. He’ll set up a “scene”, then walk away, just so that he can walk back into the frame again. He goes out of this way to add a new dimension to his vlogs this way.
You can do this too, without much extra work. You’re going to edit your video anyway, right? Just set your camera up to shoot something, walk away, and then walk back into your shot… or some variation of that. Easy peasy.
Surroundings and Landscapes are Important
One of the things I’m really inspired by with the Casey Neistat style is that it captures his surroundings. Landscapes, cityscapes, whatever is around him. Surroundings are as much the “star” of his vlogs as he is.
This has always been one of my pieces of advice: capture where you are. It gives the viewer some context of what’s going on in your video. It’s easy to just shoot what you think of as subjects: yourself, your family, your pet, etc. But think of the surroundings as a worthy subject as well.
Make fast-paced cuts
If you watch Casey’s vlogs, you may notice they seem to move really fast. Casey covers a lot of ground in a 5-minute video. He does this by keeping the pace moving, using jump cuts, and being brutal with the footage–only keeping what is absolutely necessary to tell the story.
Find Unexpected Angles
I’ve always loved how easy it is to capture things with your GoPro that you would never dream to capture with a phone or DSLR camera. Use that to your advantage. Think about what’s underneath a surface, or above, or to the side. Capture from an angle that you yourself wouldn’t normally be seeing. It makes for some really interesting footage.
For the love of vlogging and all things video… shoot a timelapse! The sky, the water, the people, whatever. Timelapses are a captivating way to show your surroundings and they make a great intro, outro, or segway.
Some people get overwhelmed with time-lapse and trying to figure out how to do it. I like to capture them because you can “set it and forget it”. While you’re eating dinner or roasting marshmallows or just taking a break, you can set your camera up somewhere and let her go. If you capture a spectacular sunset, great. If not, that’s fine too. Remember: imperfections are perfect. 😉
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