Singin' in the Rain
I found a solution for filming outside during light rain without getting the camera wet.
While I was visiting the United States a couple years ago, we were looking through a store near Rochester where I found an umbrella with a flexy lower stem that clamps on to those folding outdoor chairs.
The clamp is just the right size to attach to the upper leg of my Slik 505QF tripod and the flexible lower stem keeps the umbrella out of the way of the camera while still protecting the camera from the rain or summer heat. I never go anywhere without my trusty camera umbrella now.
Record Directly to DVD
In January of this year, a colleague asked me to record a dinner theatre play featuring his daughter in her acting debut. I agreed, but as much as I enjoy recording, I dislike using my Sony HDR-FX1 to play the tapes to copy to the DVD format that my colleague requested. Therefore, I thought I would try to avoid the transfer step by going directly from the camcorder to DVD.
At the play, I turned the HDR-FX1 on and connected it via FireWire to a Lite-On LVW-5005 DVD recorder with formatted DVD inside. I set the recording time for 2 hours then paused the recorder until the house lights were dimmed and then I pushed record on the Lite-On and voila, it worked like a charm. To ensure I was getting a constant signal to the Lite-On DVD recorder, for a monitor, I connected an old Sony TRV-99 Hi8 camcorder (with its 4 inch LCD screen) to video out of the Lite-On DVD recorder.
The original recording is on DVD! If you try this remove the videotape from the camcorder, as most camcorders are programmed to shut down after 4 to 5 minutes of inactivity with a tape inside. But if you remove the tape, or open the door, some camcorders won't shut down, but test it first!
As my favourite recording subjects are trains, I can't wait to try this set-up trackside. To this end, I picked up a 12-volt to 110-volt inverter to operate the DVD recorder in my car.
Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
Download for iPod
In your April Issue, article #12171 says you should use QuickTime Pro to convert video to iPod format. The best way (and a FREE way) is to simply use the newest iTunes using the Advanced Menu and Choosing Convert Selection for iPod. Thank You.
I was reading your December 2005 Tech Support column and noticed that you failed to correct for DV's aspect ratio when extracting a still - with your instructions, objects in the still will look slightly "fat" due to the incorrect aspect ratio. To correct this, simply crop the frame to 704x480 and then resize to 640x480, before you do anything else to the still. This will convert the 720x480 frame to square pixels which can then be processed however you like.
Chroma Keying used to be so difficult because without a good sized screen, I was unable to properly frame my subjects. I've since learned how to shoot the shot with extra room on the side (could be the wall, trees, whatever). Then, I can mask it out using some of the tools in my editing software. It's nice that I can not have to worry about the background around the edges of the screen anymore.
Just about every light stand I've owned eventually stops working as well as the day they were purchased. Most of the time they start sticking when extending and collapsing to the point where I'm pulling and pushing pretty hard. I've tried using light oils like WD-40, but that usually attracts dirt and gets that funny smell on my hands and everything it touches. I finally found that silicone spray, used sparingly, does the trick. The stands extend and collapse just like new and the goo-factor is nearly zero.
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