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In Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR, photographer and videographer Rob Sheppard provides the essential foundation that photographers need to make the leap from still pictures to moving ones. From technical considerations, such as audio and frame rates, to aesthetic issues, such as composition and story development, this course presents concepts and techniques photographers need to get the best results from their gear and learn the art of video-based storytelling. Exercise files are included with the course.
One thing about a practice session for swing dancers is that this is the time they iron out all of the problems. They correct mistakes and get ready for the performance. Now, when they go to a performance, they don't have much of an opportunity to correct mistakes. Of course, as you are learning how to shoot video with your DSLR, you're going to make mistakes and you're going to correct them. But most of the time you will correct them by re-shooting. In general, you're not going to be correcting your shots by going back to the computer in a way that you might work with still photography.
Video has very limited flexibility in being able to handle changes in the shot in the computer. That doesn't mean you have to be perfect. It does mean you have to check your shots and reshoot problems. Work to get that shot right, so that you have the best shots you can when you are ready to edit your video. In practical terms, what does that mean? I'm going to shoot some video to show you. Okay guys, I'm going to have you start dancing, you can practice away, and I am going to start shooting. So go ahead.
Now, as I am doing this, what's happening here is not a problem. They are in the center and I have a good clean video. But, if I start fall him over here, oh! I have a problem. I've got this sign showing up that's not doing very much for me at all. Go back in through here, they're doing okay, looking good, they're looking fine. Now if I go well, oh! Wait a minute, I get this big black line on this side. That's an issue, it's going to look weird, and I can't crop it. Sure, maybe I could have cropped it vertical out of here in a still photo. Can't do it with video.
So I've got to be paying attention to those edges. So now I come back in and they're looking great. But if I decide, well, I want a little different framing, oh! Wait a minute, I've got to watch that edge again. So you've got to be careful as you are shooting. Okay, you can finish that up. Thank you! So watch what you're doing as you're shooting and make sure that you are paying attention. Now one thing that's very easy to do with still photography that's related to this is fixing a crooked photo, because if you're fixing a crooked photo, that is essentially cropping and then straightening things out. In a still photo that doesn't hurt the image quality much and it doesn't take much time.
However, that same change in video would result in serious cropping, a loss in quality, and a lot of time spent rendering the crop when you are editing. Remember, video uses thirty 1-2 megapixel images per second. When you fix crooked video or do any other cropping, that means you are making your computer fix thirty 1-2 megapixel images per second. That takes a lot of time to do a render. And remember that the image quality of video isn't anywhere near what you get from a still photo.
So at this very low resolution, relatively, you do that cropping or fixing of a crooked frame and you're going to lose image quality. So another thing is to always remember to carefully level your camera when you are getting ready to shoot and as you're shooting. With practice you'll do this very quickly and it will become just a part of the craft of shooting video. On this particular tripod there is a knob down here that I can loosen that allows me to quickly level the camera, and there is a little level, the bubble level here.
A lot of tripods do have bubble levels. Tighten it down. Make sure it's level, because then you don't run into those other problems. Now, these elements of shooting video do not have to be anything difficult. It is just a matter of paying attention to certain details, such as no cropping and keeping your camera level. Do this a few times and it will become an automatic part of your craft.
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