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How to Video or Photograph your display

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by lithgowlights, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    I have seen many people wonder how to capture their display on video or in still images, so I thought I'd offer a few suggestions on getting the best out of what you have.

    Firstly lets try and get a few photographs.

    Step 1 really should be go buy a decent camera, as your $99 pocket size point and shoot will struggle. Now not everyone can afford a decent camera and lens combination, but all is not hopeless. Put a few feelers out to local camera stores, clubs, or people you know - "Come take some images here, and I might let you into areas of the display that are normally off limits, but can I please get some of the images for my website and facebook etc, but I'll credit you as the photographer" will usually work wonders.... There really is nothing quite the light gathering ability of a 24-70mm f2.8 lens on a decent Nikon or Canon, but that lens is probably more than some people have ever spent on their display in total! (Yes you are talking $1500-2500 just for a piece of glass, plastic and metal, and that's without a camera attached!)

    Now assuming you cant find some sap, er nice person, to take your pics then drag out the $99 P&S and give it a go, but turn off your flash! If you have some sort of Aperture Priority mode then try it with a fairly wide (low number) aperture, but full manual is better if it supports it. Some simply don't give you that much control, so an inside no-flash, party, or even cloudy mode can often give acceptable pictures - try them all and see whats best. We have got great images from out iPhones and friends Andriod phones as long as the display is not really flickering, and the flash is turned off.

    One thing that's hard is we often have really flashy or bouncy displays with things going on all over the place, so consider a small 30-90 second "Photo" song that has 3-5 second sections that don't move. I have done something like this here for the last couple of years, and while I say it's for the visitors, it's really for me [​IMG]

    Video is very similar. Your little P&S camera, Phone, hand held video camera or even Gopro will do an OK job, and may well be better than nothing, but consider getting the photographer to put the camera on a tripod and videoing the display as well (Even offer a bottle of wine or carton of beer of they do a good job). I video all my display with the DSLR now as I tried it last year and was shocked at the quality it produced compared to my $1400 low-light, 1 lux full HD video camera that was supposed to be the best thing out at the time (in my price range)....

    Editing the video down can be a pest without tools (I may consider doing a few later in the month if people want to provide video and the audio files via dropbox). Sometimes if you can con the local TV station to do a story they may actually email you a link to grab the news item so you can use it as a bit of advertising on your website/facebook too. Just remember that Vimeo are less likely to totally block or partly block your video (as Youtube often do) since it contains copyrighted music.

    Yes YL, I'll consider photographing your display on about the 29th or 30th [​IMG]
     
  2. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    sweet mate there will be some tubes in it for you lol
     
  3. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    I have a neighbour who has a beautiful Canon camera with that $2000 lens.

    She came over for 2.5hrs the other night to shoot my lights which was awesome. She gave me all the SD cards (filled up 3 of them).

    At the same time I was shooting with my iphone5.

    The iphone 5 was better. Hers was clearer but that washed out the colors. I brightened the colors up with editing software but then it just looked "blocky".

    Just thought I would throw out there that sometimes an uberflash camera with uberflash lens doesnt cut it.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    In that case she should really play with the settings in camera. Most people don't realise you can shoot video the same way you take an image in a DSLR - you do it in manual and adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and if you do it in manual for the brightest bit of the display then the rest looks way clearer than simply throwing it in video mode and pressing the record button

    But I do agree that an iPhone or Android phone can produce some amazing footage, but the iPhone 5 has a 4.5*3.4mm sensor, and a full frame camera has 36*24mm sensor with larger cell and larger overall light gathering capacity. What it means is that the iPhone and similar cameras struggle in very low light and often simply multiply the signal to give a noisy but bright image, whereas the DSLR and a good lens can keep the ISO down for the same image, but if you dont have one, use the smaller camera as it's way better than nothing!
     
  5. ShellNZ

    ShellNZ Senior Elf

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    Shes a wizz with photography and videoing. Yapped about aperture, f-stop, iso etc etc for 2.5hrs lol
     
  6. OP
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    lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    Lol, yep I know that type, but the results are what counts. We have a few like that in the camera club that can tell you the glass type, filter specs, flash power in lumens blah blah, but when you look at their photo's you think, yep, next.... Having the gear does not make you a photographer, and even knowing how to use it, but what does is getting the best results out of what you have to use as gear and what you are photographing

    I still laugh with all the people that come to photograph the display here and they turn their flash on (it's dark after all) and wonder why the image looks like crap.... One was a respected local full time photographer, but he only ever shoots day scenes, never night
     

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