That title seems strange, doesn’t it? In order to practice and improve your skills, it seems obvious that you would need a camera. So, how can you improve your videography without a camera? Well, improvement doesn’t always require engaging in the act. Sometimes, improvement means changing how you see and think, and that doesn’t necessarily mean holding the camera in your hands.
The fastest way to improve can sometimes happen in a chair, at your desk, or even from the comfort of your bed. When you want to improve your video and can’t think of a good place to start, you don’t always have to get up and go out to shoot. You can start with no effort, and no camera.
Improvement is sometimes born of consuming. We don’t always need to get up a shoot. Sometimes it’s enough to watch. Watching the work of great people, or of people we admire, can help us improve our own work. When we see great work, we’re more likely to make great work, because we’ve exposed ourselves to quality material for inspiration.
Watching great TV, movies, or even social media clips can help you improve your own videography by providing new ideas and quality content. Over time, quality concepts will become automatic because it will be all you know. Curating your exposure exclusively to work that inspires you will make a marked change in the work you produce. Consider the hashtags you follow on Instagram, the videos you watch most on YouTube and the movies & TV shows you choose to watch. If you’re not inspired by everything (or most things) you’re watching, you need to make a change now! It may not seem so important, but if you pay attention, what you’ve exposed yourself to most will come to mind first when you finally pick up your camera and go shoot.
Consumption alone, however, isn't enough to make significant improvements. Real change requires analysis and reflection. Consuming great work is a great start, but you risk copying instead of taking inspiration and creating original work that's true to you. In your analysis and reflection, you learn what actually inspires you, how you want to express yourself, and what your true voice is. Reflecting on the content you're consuming and you own work is crucial to stepping onto the path of making your best work. When you finally learn how to express yourself, great work will flow.