1 2017 Jun

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

Today I’m going to focus on composition when using your digital camera for action video. Remember the old days, when you got your first movie camera? (Ok, some of you may not have experienced this.) Maybe it was a Bell and Howell or Kodak. A booklet came along with the camera that told you how to use your camera to take good films. In the booklet, I’ll bet that the first thing it said was to “move the camera slowly”. So you put film in the camera and gave it a try. You thought you were moving the camera slowly, but when you viewed your movie later on screen you were disappointed. Your subjects jumped around on the screen, revealing to you that “moving the camera slowly” meant a lot more slowly than you ever imagined.

I expect we’ve all had this experience though, and it’s just as important in the digital world as it was in the 8mm film world. When using your digital camera to shoot action video, you need to pan slowly and zoom in and out slowly to avoid a jumpy, flitty video clip that is really hard for your audience to watch. It is also a good idea to use a tripod or monopod to remove any camera jitter from your clips. Pan slowly and zoom slowly, whenever possible. Your audience will appreciate your videos even more.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

25 2017 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

It’s appealing to dream of a combined stills / HD movie camcorder (especially when it offers all the photographic possibilities of an interchangeable lens SLR). However, there are some important disadvantages to a dedicated camcorder, especially with the high end semi-professional and professional models, with which better movie quality and more advanced video and audio controls are offered.

While the quality of still pictures is much better on a video capable DSLR than on a camcorder, the video quality is not as good as the best camcorders. You will experience a faster focus with stills on the DSLR than on a camcorder, but autofocus while filming video is more limited with a DSLR.

You will normally find that your clip duration is limited on a video capable DSLR, as compared to that on a camcorder. There is no high capacity built-in storage (such as a hard disk) on a DSLR. The audio capabilities of most DSLRs are not as good as the best camcorders, but there are third party devices available for improving raw audio. We’ll look at some of these advantages and disadvantages in future segments of this topic.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

18 2017 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

When I shop for a digital camera for action video that I plan to use underwater, I always keep in mind that visibility may be limited in the location where I’m shooting. Especially on an overcast day, this could be a problem for my photography.

On a bright sunny day I usually have plenty of light to make camera adjustments for my shots, at the water depth that most digital cameras are designed to descend. With a basic knowledge of how my camera controls operate, I can easily see to change modes, adjust exposure, or set my timer to get a selfie in the light that’s available. However, when the silt is stirred up or on a cloudy day, the control settings are not always visible. So when I shop I choose a camera whose controls are configured well, so that I can make changes by feel alone.

I also look for a camera that will automatically correct for many issues encountered. Features like Live Composite Mode, Macro Modes, and various Underwater Modes help bring out the quality in my photos under these conditions.

It always helps to envision your expected shooting environment before shopping for your camera. This way you can shop for features that will improve the quality of your pictures and videos.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

11 2017 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

The biggest pitfal of using a digital camera for action video is the audio component. There are a number of things you can do to improve the audio quality of your video presentations. Using a good shotgun microphone is one of them.

Shotgun microphones are proven to be one of the most effective on-camera tools for sound capture. This is due to their ability to reject sound from the sides and rear of the microphone and prioritize the sound from the front end of the mic. It is important to note that shotguns aren’t the best choice for every situation. They are not well suited for very loud environments, such as a race track.

There are many shotgun mics on the market to choose from, but you should choose a microphone that is appropriately sized to fit your digital camera. Some shotgun microphones need to be supplied with “Plug-in Power” from your camera’s mic input in order to operate. Not all cameras provide this feature, but most do. Check your camera’s inputs before shopping for a microphone.

You will also need a way to mount the microphone to your digital camera. A good shockmount is essential to reduce unwanted vibration and handling noise. A shoe mount is an excellent choice to attach it to your camera. These accessories will usually be available from a good microphone manufacturer.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

4 2017 May

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

I find that there are so many opportunities for me to use my digital camera for action video. I always have it with me when I go out to engage in a sporting activity.

In the summertime, it’s usually exploring ocean reefs, skate boarding, or mountain biking. But when the snow is beginning to fall, it’s time to start gearing up for snowboarding.

I installed a camera mount on the front of my snowboard, so I now have the option of a ground’s eye view as I speed down the slopes. I can also mount my camera to my lid to capture  POV videos of my friends as we go down together. They get a kick out of watching their antics on the way down after we come down from the slopes for the day.

I’m really glad that I invested in my camera for action video, and find it’s easy to use and well worth the money I spent. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either, for a great camera for action video. You should give it a try! You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

27 2017 Apr

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

When I shop for a digital camera for action video that I plan to use underwater, I always keep in mind that visibility may be limited in the location where I’m shooting. Especially on an overcast day, this could be a problem for my photography.

On a bright sunny day I usually have plenty of light to make camera adjustments for my shots, at the water depth that most digital cameras are designed to descend. With a basic knowledge of how my camera controls operate, I can easily see to change modes, adjust exposure, or set my timer to get a selfie in the light that’s available. However, when the silt is stirred up or on a cloudy day, the control settings are not always visible. So when I shop I choose a camera whose controls are configured well, so that I can make changes by feel alone.

I also look for a camera that will automatically correct for many issues encountered. Features like Live Composite Mode, Macro Modes, and various Underwater Modes help bring out the quality in my photos under these conditions.

It always helps to envision your expected shooting environment before shopping for your camera. This way you can shop for features that will improve the quality of your pictures and videos.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

30 2017 Mar

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

My friend recently asked for my help with selecting a great digital camera for action video. When I asked him the first basic question, what type of action sport he wanted to capture, he told me that he was interested in several including snow boarding, mountain bike races, and underwater photography. He also mentioned that he already has an Olympus point and shoot digital that has served him well for many years, so he wondered if they might manufacture a good digital camera for action video, as well. This made his decision a lot easier.

I introduced him to the Olympus TG-4 Waterproof Digital Camera. The TG-4 is equipped with multiple options for capturing fantastic snowboard runs and mountain bike races, including 1080p HD video, High-Speed Movie (for slow- motion playback), interval shooting, and Time Lapse Movie, which automatically combines individual images, taken at preset intervals, into a short film. Shooting underwater is a breeze with TG-4’s customized Underwater Modes, easily activated via the Mode Dial. In addition to Snapshot, Wide, and Macro modes, TG-4 boasts an Underwater HDR mode, which automatically combines multiple images to create vivid underwater scenes with enhanced light and shadow. It even has a powerful Macro mode that allows clear shots shoot as close as 1cm.

My friend ultimately decided to go with his experience and my suggestion, and bought this camera. He was really glad he did, and is always happy to display for me the wonderful results.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

23 2017 Mar

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

My digital camera for action video is equipped to give me hours of underwater and snorkeling pleasure with its 2.7-inch LCD and its rechargeable lithium battery. It’s water proof up to 33 feet, which allows me to spend all this time discovering a new reef or rediscovering an old one.

Since the camera includes easy to use controls, it is ideal for use underwater. Frequently the action heats up suddenly in this environment, leaving little setup time for those fantastic shots and video clips. That’s why features like automatic face detection and antishake image stabilization are so important for this type of photography.

I find that a wrist strap or a lanyard to wear around neck neck are also helpful, as I need to keep my hands free for swimming. I prefer a wrist strap, as a longer tether, like a lanyard, could become entangled on underwater objects. So a lighter camera on a wrist strap performs best for me.

I always take along extra memory cards and an extra lithium battery pack, to ensure that I don’t have to recharge between dives. This way I can always have a battery pack charging.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

16 2017 Mar

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

A fast shutter speed and/or sport burst are must haves when choosing a digital camera for action video. The action passes you by quickly and, of course, you want to capture every second of it, whether above the water or below.

Most manufacturers of digital cameras designed for action video, both above and below the water, will have a camera for you that supports at least one of these features. Faster frame rates will also support higher quality videos.

Typically, these will be waterproof to at least 50 feet, shock proof, and most likely, will sport a wide-angle lens. Some will also offer  integrated Wi-Fi and enhanced GPS functionality for fast sharing and geotagging.

I find that some other features that are useful are an In-Camera Sweep Panorama, Easy Smart Phone Connection, and Self Portrait Mode. These options are available on many models.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

23 2017 Feb

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

Coleman C5WP 12.0M Xtreme UWWhen shooting underwater I find that my digital camera for action videos needs to have automatic functions to help me get the quick response from my camera that I need. Visible distance underwater is significantly shortened by turbulance in the water, sometimes requiring very fast response time to get my shot.

I find that features like Automatic Face Detection, image stabilization, and auto focus are extremely helpful in these short visual range situations, allowing me to get some shots that I would have otherwise missed. And with an 8X digital zoom, I can zoom in and out quickly to frame my picture just right.

The 2.7 inch sharp and clear LCD is easily viewable underwater and my camera’s controls are simple and well configured for my use. My camera also has a built-in underwater scene mode to help me.

I found out that I didn’t have to tap my budget for much to enjoy these features. And since I spend most of my time shooting around the reef, the 33 feet maximum depth of my camera works just fine for me. For me, this was a great choice for my digital camera for action videos. And I find its features allow it to work just as well for me above the water line as below it.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!