Monday, September 2, 2013

Playing with video...

For a while now DSLRs have been able to shoot video in addition to still photos.  The video function has been okay; image quality is right up there, but the design of a DSLR is truly intended to shoot still images, holding your eye to the viewfinder and "snapping" the shot.  When you switch to video mode, you wind up having to use the small LCD display on the back of the camera as your "viewfinder",  which, in my case, usually means having to have it a bit away from my face.  This puts you in a naturally unsteady shooting position.  That said, a tripod is really the way to go, but not always practical depending on where you are shooting.  A monopod is the next best thing.

Audio is another issue.  While a DSLR is capable of recording good audio, the tiny microphone built into the camera has some serious short comings.  First, because it's in the camera, it's very susceptible to all kinds of noise generated by simply using the camera.  In addition, it's quality is dubious because of it's size and location.  These shortcomings have spawned a plethora of aftermarket audio devices intended to be attached, mechanically and electrically, to a DSLR.  Being the gearhead that I am and, also wanting to venture into the video end of things (I did lots of high end video years ago, with dedicated video gear, long before it became in vogue), I purchased some of these cool accessories.  Among them are a Beachtek DXA-SLR Pro audio adapter, which allows me to connect high (broadcast) quality mics, wired and wireless to my DSLRs.  This is a huge improvement over the built in mic and offers a good deal of flexibility and features like audio monitoring and mixing of two channels.

I could go on for a bit, but suffice it to say that learning the ins and outs of video with a DSLR will be a fun road, filled with errors to learn from.  Last weekend, I shot some video of the annual Gilford Old Home Day Woodsmen's competition.  This is really my first "serious" experiment with video, so don't be too harsh.  It was shot with a Nikon D3s DSLR, the Beachtek audio adapter coupled to a shoe mounted Sennheiser microphone and I used my 80-200mm f/2.8 lens.

And, I've also been playing with a GoPro Hero3HD Black Edition action video/still camera.  Really a cool device and I have a mount for it on the inside of my windshield.  Coming back from a shoot last week, I recorded a couple of interesting clips:


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