Approximately 1.6 million dogs are adopted every year in the United States, the ASPCA reveals. If you’ve adopted a dog into your family, filming videos of your companion can be a fun and rewarding endeavor. Shooting footage of your dog playing outdoors is a great way to capture memorable moments, share them with friends and family, and perhaps even go viral on social media.
Use the right tech
Fortunately, most digital cameras today are able to record high-quality videos, so you can likely use what you already have. You may want to also invest in a good video tripod and a gimbal stabilizer to ensure your record steady handheld shots. Additionally, an external microphone can capture good-quality audio and minimize the inevitable ambient noise you get when filming outdoors. Make sure your mic is positioned in line with the wind, so it’s not able to cross over the front of the mic and cloud the rest of the audio. Otherwise, wind noise can often be a challenge when filming outside. It’s also useful to use a foam windscreen for the mic to further minimize unwanted wind noise.
Get down on their level
Don’t be afraid of getting down in the dirt and filming your dog on his level. Standing while filming, although convenient, often just gives the audience a view of your dog’s head. Shooting your dog from his perspective more easily draws the audience into his world — it lets people see things as your dog sees them. As a result, you create a level of intimacy you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. If you need to shoot your dog from a distance, use a telephoto lens, which will allow you to film beautiful close-up, cinematic shots. This may come in handy if your dog is easily distracted when you’re close by. With a telephoto lens, you can let your dog roam free and play naturally without influencing him with your close proximity.
Look after your dog’s wellbeing
It’s important to keep your dog happy and comfortable while filming. Make sure you choose a safe, dog-friendly location to shoot in away from hazards like busy roads and cycle paths. If you’re spending time in an unfamiliar location, give your dog time to familiarize himself with his new surroundings. Even calm dogs can feel tense in an unknown environment. If your dog isn’t used to the camera, let him get a close look and sniff before you start using it. Make sure to give your dog lots of encouragement and have plenty of rewards at the ready (such as tennis balls, squeaky toys, and treats). Making sure your dog’s relaxed and happy will result in the most natural expressions and behavior, which helps you create better videos.
Above all, remember to have fun. Your dog picks up on your emotions and will tense up if he senses you are. So, relax, enjoy it, and don’t worry about trying to stage everything. And if things don’t go quite to plan? You’ll be left with a hilarious blooper reel.
Article by: Jane Anderson, a freelance writer, editor and dog owner