Archive for the 'video' Category
Weird thing happened this past week. Two different friends asked me what kind of video camera to buy. They had been looking at the new HD video cameras and debating one model against another….feature for feature, dollar for dollar, etc. So they asked me what to buy.
I told both people to just not get one, period. And they agreed!
What?! How would they video tape their kids opening presents….learning to ride a bike, their first birthday, etc?
A little history…I was given a video camera by my dad when my first child was born. He handed me down his Sony Hi8mm camera. I dutifully shot 10 or 12 tapes full of this and that. A few years later I bought a very small DV camera made by Canon. I shot more footage of my second child and dog and other stuff.
What have I learned? No one ever watches the video they shoot. Why? It is mind numbingly boring. If you think looking through someone’s slide collection from their trip to Africa 20 years ago is boring, just try lasting for 10 minutes viewing raw video off a DV tape. (they were lucky all they got was water boarding).
Why is this? Well one clue are the words “raw video”. Raw video is terrible stuff to watch. Most people shoot minutes of video of the same thing when in fact if you watch any TV show or movie you quickly see that professionals do not stick with a single angle or scene longer than a few seconds! Yup.
Another thing is the “single angle” view we get from amateur home video. It is boring. It is just not that interesting to have one view of a scene or conversation or anything. So what can you do? Buy another camera and have someone else shooting in parallel with you? I guess, but there are other problems with that too.
Even if you have two cameras and different angles, the sound quality and lighting is always terrible. Sure you could buy lights and learn how to use them. And they make microphones too. But now you are talking about a serious production and your 3 year old ain’t gonna sit still for that at their birthday party (not to mention your wife, etc).
But even if they did. And even if you got good at it, there is another huge issue lurking. EDITING! Yup, raw footage is just that…raw. And unless it is edited, well then it will still be raw and it will be incredibly boring. So why not just edit it? iMovie? Final Cut? Adobe Premier? Sure. Sure….go for it. But make sure you know what you are getting into. Editors do win awards from the Academy, right? So the job of editing must not be such an easy process. It ain’t. Not to mention the learning curve on these applications. Think you are a good editor or good enough? Well you can expect to spend several hours editing each minute of final edited video. That’s right, hours spent for each reasonable minute of edited video. (think I am exaggerating….the pros spend months editing a 90 minute movie)
And to add one more point….what are you going to do with the fabulous 5 minute HD video you just spent a day shooting and a week editing? Well, likely burn it to a DVD where you loose the quality anyway. Or share it on youtube where it drops even further. Oh, OK, someone out there will burn it to a blu-ray DVD somehow but your mom does not have a player so she can’t watch it anyway.
So you need an example…OK. I have 2 hours of video from my wedding. I have never watched the entire thing. The only thing I still look at once in a while is the last 90 seconds of the tape which has a professionally edited re-cap of the entire wedding day with music, nice transitions, and all the bells and whistles. It is actually watchable even if you could care less about my wedding (and can get past those side burns! :-)
So what should you do if you want some video of your kids? I told my two friends to just buy an iPhone 3G[s]. The video quality is just fine for shooting kids. And you can upload it to youtube, email it, and even do quick edits right on the phone. And since it is always with you, you never miss a fun moment. And the price is likely around the same price as a brand new HD video cam including the AT&T fees. Or maybe buy one without a contract and use it as just an expensive iPod Touch (too bad the iPod Touch does not have a camera yet, otherwise it would be perfect…it will in 2010 – trust me).
But if you don’t want an iPhone, get a $150 FLIP video camera. Shoots good video and has a USB plug built in. Simple import of videos. Simple upload to youtube and email.
Supplement your video with quality still photography. Get a Nikon D40 and 18-200 lens and capture some stills. They mean more to people anyway.
Anyways, maybe this will help you before you blow another grand on some gadget. And let me know if you have better ideas on the subject. Always interested.No comments