Monday, July 25, 2011

Fun with Sparklers!

With New Brunswick Day(or whatever Province-you-are-in day) coming up, I thought I'd share some tips on getting some interesting images with sparklers!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shooting Video with a DSLR...First Thoughts!

As the Telegraph-Journal revamps our online presence, it has been determined that we need to incorporate video into our content. For the past while, I've been shooting with a Canon 1d Mark IV (Drrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooooooooool) experimenting with video. Thought I'd share some of my thoughts, and more important, the results.

To be honest, I wasn't all that keen on video. I've been a photographer a long time, and to me, the still image is one of the most powerful ways to tell a story. There have been many occasions however when the still image can't tell the story a way a moving image can.

So my first time, I was playing around with the camera at Reversing Falls in Saint John. Experimented shooting handheld versus monopod versus questions tripod wins every time. Handheld is too shaky, monopod is a bit better, but tripod easily provides the steadiest video. The video is here:

As you can see, I was playing around with focus, apertures and depth of field. It's interesting shooting with different apertures and getting the proper exposure with the shutter speed. I definitely love having that control to get different effects. I've gotten pretty good with the shot using shallow depth of field, focusing farther in the scene, then focusing on a closer object. Well, it took a few takes to get the good final clips of course...
One thing that sucks is the lack of autofocus during shooting...if you try to autofocus, the exposure goes crazy. So you are basically forced to use autofocus.
i tried to shoot rugby, but it didn't really work as I was trying to both zoom and manually focus.

Happened upon some fellows taking advantage of the wind on the Kennebecasis River to windsurf. Playing around with different clips, including my first interview. At this point I didn't know how extract audio from clips for a voiceover in iMovie. Good example of how crappy the on-camera microphone is too.

Editing the video is a whole other ball of wax. Since I'm not sure how much editing I'll be doing at work, or what kind of software we will be using, I chose iMovie to start off. Pretty easy to figure out interface, and just started going at it. Not a bad program to use for basic stuff.

The next video was shot of members of my son's Cub troop planting trees at the qplex trails. For this one, I decided to try mixing in interviews with the clips. I also figured out how to do voiceovers, add titles, and transitions!

Overall, it took about 45 minutes to shoot the clips, then about three hours to download, edit, and export. This was mainly because I have no idea what I'm doing really.


The next video project was a story of Gallery Glance piece...a short clip about an show at a gallery. Peter Buckland has always been open to have pictures taken, so I figured he go for it.
The idea was to have images of the art, with an interview clip, and information about the artist or artwork.

I was pretty happy with how the clip turned out, it's something that could be a regular feature maybe for the arts page of the new website.

This last video has absolutely no relation to anything I'll be doing for work, but it was my birthday, we were at my brother-in-law's, so I thought I'd have some fun.

It was a really good editing exercise, and it was fun to do. I hope you enjoyed it! I'm thinking of some sequel ideas if I have some time...

I've still got lots of learning to do, but here are some tips for anyone looking at shooting video with your DSLR. Once I get more proficient in it, I will probably start doing some slr video workshops.

1) USE A TRIPOD. Only way to get steady video
2) Use an external microphone if you can. The on camera microphone picks up way too much background noise, including your movements and clicking of dials.
3) Get BIG memory cards. If you are shooting HD, it doesn't take long to fill up a card. 16GB is pretty much the minimum.
4) Avoid zooming and panning, unless you are filming a moving subject.
5) Don't use auto white balance. Choose the right balance and leave it. If you use auto white balance, the colors will change and the clips won't match.
6) Make sure you have batteries in your microphone (not from personal experience, but a lesson learned by an photo intern who shall remain unnamed....)
7) It's hard to see the LCD outside, so I would recommend getting a hoodman cinema kit or the loupe to make it easier to focus.