Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mixing DV Tape Brands

In DV's early days, Sony and Panasonic tapes used different lubricants, and if you used one brand and then switched to the other, incompatibilities between the lubricants (which get deposited on heads and tape guides) could cause your camera's tape deck to jam up or the heads to clog, sometimes permanently. Supposedly the lubricants were made compatible starting in 1997, but, I would still be hesitant in using different brands, as stories about these problems still arise. Pick one brand of tape, and “stick” with it. You simply won't see the problem. If you do have to use a different brand tape for some reason, use a head cleaning tape before and after the change.

Monday, May 18, 2009

SmugMug Review

If you're trying to find a streaming service for your video content, don't waste your time with SmugMug. Primarily a photo sharing web solution, they've added video to their repertoire. The demo video on their site is beautiful. It streams high quality video in a slick looking Flash Player, but what they don't tell you is that users uploading video from a Mac get a far less slick looking Quicktime Player that is progressive download. Too bad I wasted my time with the trial, uploading content and then being disappointed by the results. Their user interface is also very confusing. If you're trying to use one of their many uploaders (which don't include detailed descriptions - just small useless ones) for video, the buttons are still labeled "photo". Very odd. Nothing on the SmugMug website is really geared toward someone who is primarily a video professional. It seems their video service is a quick add-on that wasn't thought out. I don't know why EventDV gave them such a good review. I will continue my search for a quality video streaming service.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Add Interest to your Videos

For a more dynamic video, try getting out of the habit of putting the camera at eye level. Today's lightweight video cameras can be easily placed up high (like on a ladder), way down low and a variety of other places that much larger cameras of yesteryear just wouldn't fit.

Also, there's no rule that says your horizon has to be level. Try tilting your camera, and moving angles quickly. Or try a slow tilt from one side to the other. These simple things can add drama, and a sense of forboding in tense scenes and can add interest in shots with lots of action.

By considering an innovative and unusual camera angle to shoot your scene, you'll engage and entertain your audience while telling your story.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Video Camera Battery Life Tips

Video camera battery life tip: Check the battery’s mAh (milliamp hour) rating. It's usually printed on a label on the battery itself, the battery company's website, or in the product manual. The higher the rating, the more charge the battery can hold. A rating of 7 mAH will give you about 7 hours of camera use.

To extend the life of your battery while shooting, use the viewfinder instead of the LCD screen, or, if you prefer not to use the viewfinder, remember to close the LCD screen when not in use. If you’ll be shooting for a long time, consider buying an extended-life battery. These larger,batteries cost more but can double a video camera’s battery life. Also, consider buying extra batteries to have as back-ups.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Film-style editing

When I edit a video, I limit the use of cross-dissolves and other transitional effects. Instead, I use hard cuts. Since I mostly edit what I shoot, I can plan better for this type of editing, but sometimes you may not be able to use just hard cuts, when the footage you need just isn't available. Most of what I edit ends up on the internet, so using hard cuts is the best way to go in this situation. Dissolves tend to really break-up when compressed for the web. To get a fluid transition when making a cut, I find the start, or part of an action to lead me to the next clip, rather than just cutting together two clips that have no action. It can be someone walking, opening a door, picking up an object, or any other action. It gives the video a natural sort of transition. Watch movies with action sequences to see what I mean. Of course, to get different moods, this is not always the best technique.

Friday, May 1, 2009

DELL UltraSharp LCD Monitor Review

If you're looking for a great LCD monitor on a budget, then check out Dell's line of UltraSharp LCD's. These monitors are as good as the Apple Cinema Displays in my opinion, and they're half the price. I also prefer Dell's black front beveled edge to Apple's aluminum casing. Much easier on the eyes.