Jan Hudson’s Photography Tip #12–Video

Image635006958722127274Jan is back this week with some new tips on how to use the “other side” of your camera – the video side.  Even if you’re using a stand-alone video camera, the tips are still valid.

Hi everyone, Now that the weather is breaking, I hope that you are using some of the ideas that we've been talking about in this blog throughout the last few weeks. The weather in Michigan is finally beginning to show some hope that Spring is nearing. But, just about the time we get our hopes up, we get snow and record lows. And that's what I like about the South...their weather makes much more sense and isn't wicked evil. lol. (Okay, I admit, I have cabin fever!)

We are going to take a major curve in our photography road...and talk about using the video capabilities of your camera. The neat thing about the new DSLR's is that they also have a built in video camera . But, even if you don't have a camera like that, but do have a video camera, let's talk about the best ways to create great movies of our bands.

1. Get a tripod. Oh, lordy, there is nothing worse than watching a bouncy, jerky, swervy video. It makes the viewer a bit sea-sick just watching it. A tripod will give you a solid base and keep you from jerking the camera as you are taking the videos. If you need to change positions, you can easily fade out, move your camera to a different angle or spot, turn the camera back on and fade in and keep filming.

2. Learn how to pan. Panning means turning the camera from left to right and back. When the camera is on the tripod, you simply loosen the pan head control knob and use the tripod handle to Image635006974195552303gently....slowly....evenly....swerve the camera side to side.

3. Learn how to use the T and W buttons on your camera. "T" stands for telephoto (this button brings things closer to you) and the "W" stands for wide angle (pulls away and lets you see more of the scene). You need to practice using these buttons and get familiar with them. You want to be able to zoom in and out flawlessly, slowly, and smoothly. If you are trying to impress promoters, you don't want a video that is jerky, so practice zooming in and out until you have it perfected. When you really get comfortable with the zoom feature, you can try panning and zooming at the same time for a unique effect. If you are using a DSLR camera, you will simply zoom in and out by using your lens as you would if you were shooting still shots.

4. HUSH!!! Unless you are a professional narrator and can add to the video quality by your comments, please hush! It's hard to do and you are so close to the microphone that even your breathing is picked up on the video, so concentrate on being silent while the camera is filming.

5. Backlight...stage lighting is notorious for making your video-making life miserable. If you find that your video looks like a bunch of silhouettes singing bluegrass, try using the backlight button, that should help. Basically, the back light button opens the lens a bit wider and by changing the exposure, makes your silhouettes become people again. If you find that your people are washed out and too white, zoom in closer and that should do the trick. The light meter in your camera is easily tricked by uneven lighting...so take things into your own hands and make the necessary adjustments. We want a professional result.

6. Always, always .....did I mention....always??? Always have an extra SD or memory card (at least 8gig) and a couple of extra batteries that are charged and ready to work tucked into your camera bag. These cameras literally eat up batteries and spit and them out...so be prepared so you don't lose anything. Watch your battery icon and when it starts to get low, change the battery before it runs out. It's best to change the battery or cards between songs or even better between sets and you won't miss a thing. Just about the time you miss a song because your battery has died, it will have been one the best performances that band has ever done. ugh.

7. If you don't have access to a tripod, you can use your body as a tripod. You can lean up against a building, keeping your legs at a wide stance. Relax, keep your movements slow and determined and hush! Do not stiffen your legs because any motion or vibration will travel through your legs much easier when they are stiff than if you are in a relaxed pose. Give it a try and you'll see what I'm talking about. Worst case scenario would be to put the camera on a table for support and give that a try. If you want an "in your face" reality type video, of course you need only to disregard everything you just learned. These videos are generally hand held and fast moving...they're great for ghost hunting movies, but maybe not so great for a promo video of your band (?) I leave it to your discretion...

8. Use the cords supplied by your camera to download the video into your computer. There are several programs that you can download or purchase or are all ready in your computer that will allow you to do special effects and make corrections to your video before presenting it to the band.

Good luck with your video and have fun! Enjoy your week and I'll see you here next time.


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