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Lights! Camera! Action!

Did you ever want to be a moviemaker? Be the next Alfred Hitchcock, or Steven Spielberg? You can explore your storyteller muse because you have a powerful movie camera already. Your camera and your cell phone have some very able movie making capabilities built into them. They are designed to look good on HD TV’s and high resolution monitors.

When talking about modern digital cameras ‘movie mode’ refers to a camera mode specifically designed for capturing moving pictures. Movie mode can be found on most digital cameras, from basic point and shoot cameras all the way up to professional DSLR’s and is usually accessed by pressing a dedicated button.

When recording in movie mode a camera will capture both video and sound to a digital video file stored on the cameras onboard memory.

It’s hard to find a camera these days that doesn’t have a movie mode. Generally, you’ll find the movie mode on the mode dial alongside PSAM (Program, Shutter, Aperture and Manual. Alternatively, your camera may have a dedicated switch that shifts the camera from shooting stills to video; each manufacturer and camera model differs. Once you make the switch, the video mode adapts the screen and options accordingly.

Big differences between video and stills capture

In the background, there are plenty of fundamental differences going on when it comes to the way video and stills are captured.

  • Autofocus is a significant issue for videography – only the most recent cameras enable continuous AF when shooting movies.

  • When you shoot stills the entire sensor is used to capture the image, but when it comes to video the footage is oversampled or pixel binning occurs to reduce the resolution to 4K, Full HD or otherwise.

  • Crafting a video can be a complex task with multiple phases, each containing their own challenges. If you’re not prepared, the editing process can be frustrating, but there are a few things that you can do to make the process easier and more enjoyable.

Plan ahead, and shoot according to plan

  • Depending on what you’re shooting, this may not be possible. For example, if you’re collecting home movies of events, you’re going to be somewhat limited. But if you can, think about creating at least a general outline of what you want to shoot. What different footage will you need? Try to avoid having to go back and reshoot part of it later because you forgot to do it the first time. Try to keep things efficient, so it doesn’t throw off your process later.

Decide on a file management strategy

  • You’ll likely have a lot of different files to include in your final composition including video clips, graphics and edited effects (like title screens, overlays, etc), audio files and potentially more. Keep everything organized so you can quickly and easily find it when it’s time to use it.

Go easy on the effects

  • Adding effects are like seasoning food, a lot goes a long way and too much overpowers what you make. More effects means more computing power is required, which can slow everything down.

Carefully consider your music choices

  • Music can elevate your video, but don’t let it be distracting. And if you’re sharing your videos publicly (YouTube, for example) think about the copyright implications of your music. Royalty free is the safest route to go.


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