Future Tense: Shooting Video



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When putting together a home movie be sure to add a corny transition every time you change to a different clip. Bonus points if you use star wipes and page peels.

Alternatively, if you don't want your video to look like it was made by a fourth grader with Windows Movie Maker stay away from most transitions and filters. There's nothing wrong with hard cuts and if they're timed with music it can look and feel really good.


Bullwinkle J Moose




Thanks for the tips!

A note of correction though, I happen to own a Sony SLT A55, and it does overheat after around 4 minutes... if you have SteadyShot enabled!

Turn off SteadyShot, and you're free to shoot longer than anyone reasonably should unless for documentary or surveillance work. :P

Dan O.



Some thoughts:

- Photodex has some great software for animating still images with music, transitions, motion, etc. You can even add video within the slideshows. I use producer, their top program, but proshow gold is an excellent program at a great price.
- You mentioned Avid in the first paragraph, then you mention Pinnacle later on for video editors (NLEs). I might also mention that Avid has a new prosumer level Avid Studio for $120-160 range. Sure Avid MC, Premiere Pro, Edius 6 are great high end tools, but Avid Studio gives you some great bang for buck if you are looking to move up from a purely consumer NLE. So far I've been pleased with it.

You also mentioned just a couple min from your Sony A-55 before it overheats on video. I wanted to mention using dslr (or mirrorless hybrids) as video cameras (I work for a camera manufacturer). Some are better video performers than others, and some have processing engines tuned for video, live view display and so forth. IMHO, ILCs (Interchangeable Lens Cameras) are really coming into their own as video devices:

- You of course have the advantage of highly flexible and creative still image photography.
- ILCs use interchangeable lenses, giving you an extreme amount of freedom to express creativity through wide angle shots of sweeping landscapes, telephoto shots with their scene compression characteristics, fisheye, macro, etc.
- Speaking of lenses, you also have great depth of field flexibility. Less expensive consumer camcorders are great at keeping everything in sharp focus, but an ILC lets you play with DOF to a large degree, shifting focus between a foreground and background element for great creativity.
- Focus Peaking helps a ton, especially for manual focusing. I love manual focusing for video, because I can shift my focus point so fluidly. I can constantly tweak for best focus, and I don't have to hear the loud servo motor trying to focus automatically. Peaking outlines your in-focus areas with a sharp relief. However, I believe only Sony and Pentax do peaking right now in their ILC cameras.

Also, if you're building video projects in a NLE, remember you're assembling clips. Keep things fluid. Use "cuts" between elements in a scene, and maybe a dissolve to punctuate more of a scene change. Keep clips short. Don't make your viewer sit through 5 minutes of a continually running clip. Change it up with different viewpoints, distances, subject refocusing, etc. If you have a wife, husband, kid with you also recording the same action, that's perfect, because you can use both video sources to tell the same story.

Ok, I'm officially into rambling territory now. Hope these ideas help... Fun article. =)



This was a good refresher article. I've been doing this film thing for a decade now, and sometimes take it for super-granted.



Very thought-provoking article. Thanks!





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Thanks for the tips.



I would add a few mostly philosophical thoughts.

Don't wait! I wanted to get my parents in an interview setting, just talking about their lives, etc. They were all for it, but I wanted to prepare and do it right. Then they got sick and passed beyond. Too late. If you have something you want to shoot, do it as soon as possible or you risk either losing the shot, or perhaps the luster for getting it. Then later when you really want it again, it won't be there.

That said, don't let your shooting video let you miss "the moment". At some point you need to put the camera down and experience the event first hand, as it's happening.

Next, pay attention to lighting. Sometimes you have to work with what's available, but video that's too dark is just as bad as video that's overly shaky. You may think you'll watch it anyway, but for the most part you'll end up skipping over the parts you can't really see.

Finally, look at the ENTIRE frame. That beautiful sunset you're capturing will look a lot better if you move 4 feet to your left, thus excluding that garbage can that someone tipped over in the foreground.

Good article



"Or invest in a mini-steadicam."

Do this if you want to invest a half-hour every day learning to use and master this device.
If you don't have an extra half-hour each day to spare, then don't buy one of these things. Your video will look far worse than if you just stay still or use a tripod.
These things take LOTS of practice. If you don't do this for a living, buying one is a very bad idea. It's throwing money away.



Something tells me he didn't mean a professional steadicam rig. Especially since one of those can easily set you back a grand. There are a lot of cheaper "steadicam" products out there that aren't really steadicams, but they have that name attached because it helps steady the camera. You're absolutely right if he did mean a pro steadi/glidecam rig. However there are a number of rigs people can build out of PVC usually for $10-$20 that can be used as a sort of "steadicam."


Bullwinkle J Moose




I think I read ALL of this stuff in a book somewhere (or two hundred)... If you were writing a book, you should have mentioned the rule of thirds.

What would have been a better article is how to get all those old photos and videos from the albums and shoe boxes into a digital format, correctly labeled- Speaking of which, isn't that what your article's HEADLINE talked about what your were going to do?


Bullwinkle J Moose

Why shoot stills AND video?

Just shoot VIDEO

Then download the newest and free VLC media codecs and a free screen capture utility like printscreen

Now play the video in full screen mode and grab the best frames with printscreen

When grabbing still shots with a video camera, you will always miss the best shot (Guaranteed)

When grabbing the best frames with printscreen, will will ALWAYS get the best shot (Guaranteed)

VLC player can play the video as slow as you want to be sure you are getting the right shot and you can always rotate the video during playback in VLC for those videos shot in portrait mode

Klite and other media players might be acceptable for grabbing frames if you want to mess with the overlay settings and watch a few tutorials on youtube but VLC will let you grab frames right out of the box


Don't tell the Hollywood Studio's about this trick and don't ever use it for Youtube video's as you will be labelled a terrorist and shunned from all humanity!

This trick is for HOME VIDEO's ONLY!

End Disclaimer:



Stills will allow you to:
- get much higher resolution images (I'm thinking of our DSLR which does both videos and photos. Videos are 1080p=2megapixels while images are 15megapixels)
- Get the focus just right. I've made some shots I really love by focusing on my child's face with a blurry background.



Bullwinkle J Moose

Yes, but since I shoot video in 1080p anyway, the frames I grab look pretty good on a 1080p monitor

If I want higher rez stills, I bring a camera with me to a video shoot

The idea is to get video with the video camera and still with a separate cam

The point I was trying to make was that it is VERY DIFFICULT to get the perfect shot with a still cam but you never miss the best shots with a video cam

The point I made above about rotating portrait shot videos during playback is probably a bad idea as you will also capture the dead space on each side of the frame

A better way to grab rotated video frames is to first grab the frames and then batch rotate the jpegs using a free utility such as "JPEG Lossless Rotator"

Select all the frames you want to rotate in explorer thumbnail view, then right click and select "Rotate Clockwise" or "Counter Clockwise" with the Rotators shell extension

Now git out there and don't miss that perfect shot!

Oh, I nearly forgot...

Grab frames as Bitmaps with printscreen for the quickest save time
There seems to be no delay when saving to Bitmaps
Jpegs are much slower when saving

By saving to Bitmaps, you can just hold down the printscreen button to rip out a section of video as still images instead of using a standalone video program

Pushing the printscreen button once grabs a single frame
Holding it down grabs all frames on any decent computer

I then batch convert the frames I want in ACDSee or any other image manipulator to JPEG before batch rotating with "JPEG Lossless Rotator"



No - do NOT get stills from video. For 2 reasons:
1). You won't do this in real life. In theory, it sounds fine. In reality, you won't bother and you won't have any stills.
2). The stills won't be as good in practice. They won't be. Video uses different codecs and wrappers to do what they do.

In summary, this is a terrible, terrible suggestion.


Bullwinkle J Moose

Yes - Get stills from video. For 2 reasons:
1). It allows you to grab the perfect image that Atomike missed!
You know, the one that had emotional content and sentimental value

2). DSLR's can do both, but not at the same time "generally speaking"
Buy yourself a 1080p videocamera to capture everything while using your DSLR for the high rez shots, then pray that you get the right shot with your DSLR

After all, if you can afford a $5000 DSLR, then you can afford a $100 ZX3 videocam as well

Atomike has shown Zero reasons to not get High rez photo's as well as 1080p video

Don't be an Atomike

You deserve better!

We can get the EXACT shot we want and Atomike can get a technically perfect shot that nobody wants!

Everbody's happy!

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