His name was Mike. He was a 6-foot 1 (about 185cm), 100-kilo, former NHL (National Hockey League) enforcer. That’s the unofficial tough guy who retaliates when anyone from the other team messes with anyone on his team.

Now he was a cameraman. And I was the rookie TV reporter working with him off Canada’s West Coast.

We were doing a story on a group of scuba divers whose mission was to stop other divers taking things off sunken shipwrecks.

It was the night before the shoot. Mike was shouting at the group’s leader – I can’t remember why. I thought he was going to punch him out.

Luckily no fight happened and the next morning we shot some great sequences on a boat and underwater and got the interviews we needed.

And here’s where that trick I was talking about comes in.

Once on the boat, Mike said: “Here’s what we’re gonna do Cal. I’m gonna take a bunch of tight shots: divers pulling on gloves, pulling on boots, pulling down their hoods, weight belt buckle snapping shut, mask on, regulator into the mouth and then mediums and wides of the divers jumping into the water. You can put a series of those tight shots together to open your piece.”

That’s a great idea I thought. And it was. Worked a treat. Fantastic opening sequence.

I’ve used that trick many times since.

If you’re shooting a corporate video or a social media or Youtube video and you’re not sure how to start it think of a series of close-ups that could work.

It can even help if you’re just doing a standard office b-roll plus interviews shoot:

  • Walking sequence with tight shots to introduce an interview subject
  • Sequence of tight shots of someone working on a computer (real tight)
  • Even a series of tight shots of people around a meeting table: fingers tapping, eyes of someone listening, tight of someone talking, etc

For me, this trick has saved the day many times.

Hope you might find it useful too.

Happy Shooting!