Friday, August 13, 2010

Thinking In Video

Chances are, if you recently bought a digital still camera, it also has the ability to shoot video.
Text & Photography By Tom Bol Published in Videography
Thinking In Video

8. Shoot short clips.

A common beginner’s mistake is the “endless take.” This refers to shooting a long time on the same scene with no breaks. For some situations, like an interview, this may be appropriate. But if you’re covering an event, don’t let the camera run on and on for one shot. Move positions, shoot another clip, and move to the next location. A storyboard gives you a great shot list to follow and keeps the production moving along.

What’s the minimum length of a clip? Shoot at least 10 seconds of video for each shot. Clips shorter than 10 seconds may not allow the use of video transitions in editing. Ten seconds may seem like a long time, but make sure each shot is at least this length. Short clips also make the editing process easier. Rather than trying to find one moment in a 10-minute clip, you can preview short clips faster. Find your clip, label it, and add this to your media file for quick reference during editing.

9. What about audio?

Most producers agree that the picture is only one half of a good video. Audio is equally as important. Still cameras have audio recording, but currently it’s very limited and the sound quality isn’t terrific. To remedy this, you need to use a good-quality microphone or a portable recorder. RØDE Microphones makes the VideoMic, a hot-shoe-mounted shotgun mic that plugs right into the mini-jack on your camera. The VideoMic uses a 9V battery and records excellent sound, a huge improvement over your camera’s built-in mic.





Redrock Micro

RØDE Microphones

Samson Technology
I often use a portable recorder like the Samson Zoom H2. This device records amazing sound, is very small and portable, and is great for recording interviews or background sounds to accompany your video. These sound files are then downloaded to your computer and edited into the final video. The VideoMic records dedicated sound to your video clips, while a portable recorder like the Zoom H2 records sound files that have to be synced with your video. Either way, getting a good microphone or portable recorder will greatly improve the quality of your video.

10. Use fast flash cards.

Video files are huge, much larger than still images; 24 or 30 fps is normal, resulting in large files very fast. One performance issue in recording video is the write speed and size of your media card. If you use a slow card, your video may not record properly. If you use a small flash card, you’ll fill it up quickly and have to change out cards. I like to use cards 300x and faster and at least 8 GB. These cards cost more, but are worth it in terms of video-recording performance.


If you have a digital still camera that has video capability, but you have ignored it until now, go out and shoot some video. You may be surprised at the quality, and you may have more fun than you think directing your own movie.

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