Want to improve your "shooting-for-editing" skills? Try this: pick a short paragraph from a newspaper, book or magazine. Copy each word onto a different card. Mix up the cards and lay them on a table. Now, select some of the cards and rearrange them to form a completely new meaningful statement. You may find it difficult to form even one statement at first. But youll notice that the shorter the new statement, and the longer the original paragraph, the easier the task.
The same is true of our unedited footage. Raw footage can be edited in a variety of ways, each telling a different story. Generally speaking, the more raw footage you gather, and the shorter the final edit, the better the video. The exercise will help you learn to gather footage that is helpful for your editor, especially if he is you.
Jorge E. Torres
Video E-mail: Lets Get Small
I was reading McCleskeys article on video e-mail ("Video Out: Video E-mail - Not Just for Geeks Anymore" in the November 1999 issue of Videomaker), in which he wrote: "Before we begin, however, a word of caution: digital video files can be huge, which means they can bog down some of the narrower data streams along the Internet. Please be courteous and limit your video clips to a few megabytes at the most. This will allow you to send a decent-looking 10-to-30-second clip and avoid the annoyance of systems administrators and Internet service providers around the world."
Just as an FYIand a stronger word of caution, many ISPs out there are starting to really crank down the file/attachment size limitation. Several ISPs in my local area limit attachments to 1MB converted. The reasons are fairly sound:
(1) E-mail is ASCII. Not binary. An .AVI attachment is converted to ASCII text which bloats the file size anywhere from 10 to 40 percent. So a 1MB binary file, attached to an e-mail, may actually be 1.4MB in size. Then add the overhead of all the packet headers.
(2) Large e-mails really bog down the e-mail servers of smaller ISPs. If I send a 5MB binary file (6.5MB ASCII, perhaps) to 5 people, the server has to grind out a huge amount of data. And then it filters all over the Internet before re-assembling in the mailboxes of my intended recipients.
(3) Data corruption multiplies. One missing 64-byte packet can render the other million packets useless.
I talked with a few ISPs and they recommend that people e-mail the link to their personal Web sites and have viewers download the video from there for a few reasons:
(1) The actual download is faster, because you are downloading binary, not ASCII text.
(2) You dont make your friend/family suffer the agony of having to wait for that e-mail to download so the rest of their mail in line behind it can download and they can read it.
(3) And youre still taking advantage of streaming media.
Editors Note: If you dont have any idea of what Dave is saying, let us translate it. Internet Service Providers dont like video e-mail because it is too big and bogs down their computers. Much of this is because e-mail is always converted to text, even video files come through e-mail as text that converts back to video. They suggest, instead, that you post your video clips to a personal Web site and e-mail a link to the site to the people youd like to see your video.
Stuck on You
I, like many others, find a lens cap dangling from a tether to be very annoying. It is always swinging around, catching on everything in sight. Sometimes it finds its way in front of the lens, ruining a shot. To solve this problem, I attached hook-and-loop fastening strips to one side of the cap and to the hand strap on my camcorder. The lens cap now stays in place while I am shooting, and I havent lost it yet.