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debtoews

Video taping your light show

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I have a Sony HDR-CX290 and I have been playing with the setting and still not happy.  Anyone got any advice?  I turned down the exposure some...the blue lights are bright and a litlle blurry ..red hardly shows up at all- thanks

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Auto focus off is a key. When we shot ours we didn't turn it off and the camera struggled quite a bit. I am hoping to have a chance to reshoot the show before lights off on January 2nd.

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I rented a higher end Sony camera this year to do mine. First thing I did was turn off the auto focus. Put it on a tripod and stood out there in the cold but I got what I wanted and they turned out nice.

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+1 on tripod, no shaking equals clarity.

The higher the megapixel camera you can use the better.

Also, edit the sound with the mp3 file.

Road noise and background wind is so very distracting.

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Agreed on the sound. What I do is use a program to overlay or play both audio tracks. The one embedded from the video camera itself and the original MP3 file. Once I have both audio tracks and of course video, all in sync, I remove the embedded audio track, leaving just the MP3, then export the video compilation.

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Ive got the audio part down with no problemo- its the video- trying to get the lights to look decent- I turned off the auto focus but still not that happy...trial and error I guess!

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Last year, I used a Canon T4i and found it's ability to lock the exposure during a bright test sequence as well as manual focus helped a bunch. This year I added a Panasonic HC-x920 camcorder with excellent low-light ability. However, I haven't found a way to lock expsoure, and still resorted to the Canon T4i for closeups of super bright text on our Horizontal pixel grid. I also added a Phantom Vision+ drone for aerial angle.

 

Here's our first video I've finished, and has all three. The Canon is the last shot of the grid..

 

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Buy a cheap pair of sunglasses (Dollar Store) pop out the lens and tape it over your Camcorder lens...

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I do a LOT of sports photogrpahy, but the night-time video work is still a learning process for me, What Ive learned:

1. Videotaping (funny we still use that term!), when its pitch-black dark is not my favorite... the lights lose much of their reference to the house. I prefer dusk.

2. Multiple angles makes for a more interesting video. Got another camera that takes video (or an iphone?) - put it on a tripod and record with it too!

3. Forget trying to get the audio live. You're competing with traffic, bad mics, wind, etc. Just use the MP3 from your show and dub it in.

 

Here's a few of my attempts using this strategy.... btw- I leaned from many mistakes and will be re-doing it all next week again! :-)

 

 

 

 

http://youtu.be/OL-ZxekV0bs

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Sorry, somehow I cant seem to format the other video link to show up as a thumbnail.

 

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I shoot my video using a Nikon D800 DSLR in manual mode, and my lens is a 28-70mm 2.8. I think the aperture was wide open most of the time. I could see the ISO value constantly changing to adapt to the light levels. This year I gelled done my character spot lights to bring the levels down to balance them with the LED light strings. This way I didn't have to reprogram anything, it was a simple gel taped over my spots. The camera was always on a tripod and in manual focus mode. Focus is a bit tricky with a hi-def camera, so I use the feature most cameras have that allows you to digital zoom in on the image, check focus, and then zoom back out. It's usually a magnifying lens icon with a + and - on it. It's really tough to get the colors of the lights to be accurate if there's a lot of dark areas surrounding them in a wide shot. One of the reasons I started using wall washes years ago, was to even out the lighting, and decrease the contrast. A lot people suggest shooting before the sun goes down, but I shoot multiple passes that take me all night, so the lighting needs to remain consistent for hours.

 

For the audio, I just shoot with the built in camera mic, recording the yard sound. I edit the video in Final Cut Pro, and sync it to the original track.

 

Here's this year's video.

 

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I'm not a fan at all of doing video during daylight hours.  I never run the display when it's light out because mine just seems to look so much better after dark.  Infinitely better, actually.  So I just figure the video will look more like the display if it's taken at night also.

 

But it's definitely tougher to get it looking good at night, and there's usually trade-offs when you're using anything less than a three-CCD professional camera.  IMO, unless you're already an expert, practice, practice, practice is the best route.

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RandallR -- impressive show.  As a Navy veteran I thank you.  It's beautiful!

Thanks!

Tom

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I live on a corner lot. I have yet to find a way to get the entire show in one frame. Everybody that tried to record it told me the same thing....."your show was great, but it just didn't record well".

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I live on a corner lot. I have yet to find a way to get the entire show in one frame. Everybody that tried to record it told me the same thing....."your show was great, but it just didn't record well".

 

Yup- same problem I had.

 

Then I made it twice as complicated to frame by incorporating the house across the street (another corner lot!).

 

The ONLY choice was to utilize multiple angles.... see above.

 

I tried using the drone ONLY and keep it moving around the lot, but that felt like TOO much movement and I wanted SOME static shots as well.

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I have a photographic memory so I just tell people what happened in 1/10th second increments. Takes some time unfortunately...

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Canon PowerShot S110

Focus locked to infinity

Tripod is a must

I videotape from multiple angles (2014 first time)

Overlay music on top of video

Use Adobe Premiere Elements for editing (goes on sale every Black Friday)

I save my files as AVCHD MP4 -  H264 1920x1080p 30

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