University College

Video Tips for Film Festival For First-Year Students(F4)

5 Common mistakes made when shooting film and how to fix it (More examples coming soon)

  • Holding Your Phone Vertically

    • Avoid Vertical Video Syndrome, always record your scene with your phone horizontally to avoid bars on the side of the screen. Shooting vertically will not make the video look great for the big screen. Shoot on the phone's side because the screen is wide.
    • Bad Example:
  • Lack of Audio (most point and shoot cameras or phones don't pick up sound well)

    • If using a phone, figure out where the microphone is physically on your phone and use this to your advantage. MOST CELL PHONES DO NOT PICK UP AUDIO WELL AT ALL. Use close-ups for dialogue and try not to have wide shots with lots of dialogue unless you can use a microphone.  Consider using voice-overs, music, or narrative to setup a scene. Rooms have an echo and can cause sound to not be as loud as you wish.
    • Bad Example:
  • Shaky images

    • Use a tripod, bean-bag or sit the camera down. We all wish we could be JJ Abrams, but images are clearer by sitting the camera down or acting as a human tripod. To be a human tripod, hold your camera with two hands, balance your elbows on your stomach and maintain the same pose over time. If you need to move, shift from left to right with your whole body.
    • Bad Example:
  • No story or lack of clarity

    • Before picking up a camera, think of the story you want to portray and even write down specifics. Storyboarding is a great activity as well to expand your vision of the story. This competition is not a music video contest.

    • Bad Example:
  • Procrastinating

    • Shooting a video takes time and patience. Set aside the proper time and it will show through your editing and your shot selection. Set aside time to work on your project.

    • Bad Example:

Video Editing Options

To edit films, students have a variety of options available for free including:

1. Videos can be edited on any Apple computer in the back of the library using Final Cut Software or iMovie software.

2. Students can use Windows Movie Maker, which is a free download for PCs. The link is available here.

3. WeVideo is a free online video editor, so you can edit video anywhere you have internet connection. A free account is available on the website and students can connect with Google Drive for storage if needed.

Copyright Questions

When editing your film, please consider that these videos will possibly be shown to the world through the UNCW website. Anyone could be watching them, therefore we want you to consider these three options when choosing music.

1. There are lots of Creative Commons websites that allow you to use their music so long as you cite their name and the title of the song. For example, Incompetech is a great site to use. Your friends may be great musicians who would allow you to use their music free of charge. There are lots of independent bands available in the area and this is your chance to find an original track for your video.

2. Garageband offers free loops and songs you can use without having to cite it. Garageband is available for free on the Apple computers in the Library.

3. Launchpad App for iOS offers royalty-free music. See this article for more information:

4. If you must use a copyrighted song, please use a short segment. Please align the subject of the video with the music selected to maintain that the song can be distinguished as "fair use" under copyright law. If you have questions or concerns about the music, contact Zack Underwood at The best answer is to go with a Creative Commons or original song as opposed to the commercial songs if possible.