Friday, December 22, 2006

Handling the Camcorder

Hand-held camerawork lends footage newfound mobility, interesting angles, and documentary style vitality to your video—all of which make handheld shots a favorite for extreme sports, live news coverage, and music videos.

Since holding a camera (even a lightweight model) can quickly bog down a camera operator, many of them use support devices and grip equipment. Although there are hundreds of choices on the market, almost any rig will ease the strain of carrying the camera on long takes. In the end, however, the best camera operators learn to stand still and reserve their jerky shooting techniques for the right moments.

There’s no need to shy away from hand-held shots: most of today’s consumer-level digital camcorders have excellent built-in stabilization technology to reduce unwanted jitters. Nor should you worry too much about using products like Steadicam and gyro-based supports to smooth out motion. Your lightweight DV camcorder can easily reproduce the handheld takes produced by this type of expensive “professional” equipment.avorite for extreme sports esting angles, and documentary style vitality to your video

Tripods, Jibs, and Dollies

Serious narrative filmmakers will find a sturdy tripod an essential part of their camera package. You should also research and invest in a fluid camera head for superior pan and tilt shots.

A number of home-based businesses sell collapsible jib and dolly rigs that give the look of a professional crane in motion. These tools can help you establish excellent tracking shots and complex movement that flows freely throughout the set but is more consistent than a Steadicam or handheld shot. DV footage benefits extensively from these tools because their rigid construction prevents your camcorder’s digital stabilization features from automatically interpolating frames to correct for sudden movement.

Digital Filmmaking

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