Seems like the time has finally come where we are moving into on-line videos. This is a great opportunity for all the correspondents to move into full media presentations, instead of just newspaper articles and still pictures. Many of you have digital cameras that take both still and video pictures. My Cannon A70 is like that. With a 258 MB flash card, I can capture about 18 minutes of video with my still camera. I can also switch between still and video capture on the same card, which makes it really versatile as a camera.
The same principals of photography still apply with video, meaning that lighting is very important. This problem can be compounded with the standard digital camera used for still pictures, because it usually only has a built in flash, and flash wont help you when you’re trying to capture video.
For years I have used one of those old fashion VHS camcorders. Of course, they are out dated now with the introduction of the digital video cameras, but because I own 3 of those VHS cameras, I can’t seem to bring myself to spend the money to buy one of those new digital video cameras. Just like with my still cameras, I have extra batteries, filters, and lights for my VHS cameras.
As the department photographer, one of the things I use to do every year was to tape the recruits as they went through training in our burn building. This was done mainly so after the training we could show them right away what they did right and where they needed to improve. It also helped to document our training.
I purchased a small video light that I attached to the top of my VHS camera. As the accompanying short video will show, the first part of the video I had the light on, and it cut through the smoke and you could see pretty well. In the last 10 second of the video, you’ll see it’s darker and you can’t see that well. That’s because I turned the light off, so it wouldn’t be an advantage for the recruits to be able to see better during the training. The clip shows what happens when you don’t have adequate light for your videos.
I’ve used my digital still camera to take some short videos at night fire scenes, I thought that with the flames from the fire and the lights from the trucks, it would be a little dark, but useable. Guess again ! I was wrong. You still need allot of light to take night fire video scenes. As my video light for the VHS is self-contained, I ‘m going to be experimenting with trying to fit it to my Cannon A70 to see what the results will be. I haven’t found any video lights made for digital still cameras, yet, but hopefully, once the manufactures realize the problem, hopefully they’ll come out with something. I’ll let you know if this works.
Ben can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org