Prague in winter

We don’t talk enough about the video capabilities of some of your cameras.

Almost all point-and-shoots can shoot standard video and some can do high-definition as well. This is a great little feature and perfect for throwing some clips up on your Facebook page. But if you want to be serious about your video shooting, I highly recommend getting a video camera that allows for manual focusing of the lens. Why? The auto point-and-shoot cameras will focus on whatever is in front of them. You can’t control them. They don’t allow for the artistic look you can get when you manual move the focus through the scene that you’re shooting.

So do you need to go out and buy a $50,000 movie camera like one that Stephen Spielberg would use? No. Many of the better camcorders will allow for manual focus as will all of the DSLR cameras that have a video option.  And on the DSLRs you can use “fast lenses” to get that shallow depth of field.

So how good can it get? Well here’s a fantastic clip by Philip Bloom who shot this high-def video of Prague using a new (pre-production) Canon 1DMKIV (There are less expensive cameras that will do this sort of shooting like my D-90. Ok it’s not 1080p but 720p is still considered high definition and at around $1,000 it’s a steal.). Now before we go to the clip watch for how Bloom uses his camera. First: There is almost no camera movement. In other words, he had the camera on a tripod almost all of the time and he’s shooting one setup at a time. Second: He’s got his lighting figured out for each individual scene. Third: The video is a series of set scenes and the magic is done in post production.

In other words, what separates this wonderful filming is the artist is not waving the camera around and isn’t letting the lighting affect the camera’s exposure and finally it’s shot in black and white (likely shot in colour and desaturated in post production). Once Bloom has all of his clips ready, he assembles his video in the computer and adds music. You can do this too. Okay, maybe not as well right off the bat but trust me, with a little effort, you can get pretty close.

Here’s the link: Enjoy Prague in Winter.

Merry Christmas.

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