First of all, I'm sorry if this is waaaaaay too long-winded. I ask my viewers, and even other photography friends for constructive criticism and feedback, but all I ever get is "great job!" or "too long" while another person says "too short." So, I wanted to come here and talk to folks who really know what they're doing with video, and can (hopefully) add some advice. Please remember, I'm on a budget of $20. If I can't find it in my apartment, or build it for less than that, it's simply not an option at this time. :-( Thank you for even taking the time to look at this. Any advice is appreciated.
Greetings! I was practically forced into going to video over a year ago due to my primary DSLR lens breaking down (aperture broke apart) at an event, forcing me to shoot with my backup, a Canon VIXIA HG20. Since then, I have not turned back! However, on a substitute teachers pay, it has been impossible to purchase any upgrades in the last year, so I have made lemonade out of lemons...
I'm shooting with a homemade PVC shoulder-mounted camera rig (yeah, it's ghetto, but it cost me $15 for parts and improved the steadiness 10-fold!). I can't use a tripod for two reasons, 1, I have a cheap non-fluid head that can't smoothly tilt up and down. Second, the location I shoot from makes it nearly impossible to use a tripod, as I never know if the aircraft will be flying in front of me, behind me, or directly over my head. Due to their maneuvering, I don't know which way they're going until its too late. :-p (When shooting P--51 Mustangs, A6M3 Zeros, and B-25 Mitchells, I guess there are certainly worse problems to have!)
My rig has certainly improved the quality of my videos. As anyone who has used an HG20 for any sort of panning knows, the IS really isn't *that* much of a help. I have recently added approximately 4.5 lbs of weight int he back to counterbalance the unit, which also greatly improved panning quality. (adjustable ankle weights!)
With the season coming (mostly) to an end by October, I'll be back at the desk really focusing on creating better videos. I have posted a couple here for some constructive criticism. I've asked my fans what they like about my videos, and all agree on having NO music or narration to disrupt the audio. Most actually enjoy the lengthiness of them (showing the planes taxiing, and maneuvering out in the distance), but yet my analytics data shows I'm losing half my audience within the first minute.
Here's an example of one of my very first (and most popular) videos:
And here's an example of my latest work (though, before the addition of balance weights) This video is a perfect example of not knowing where the planes are going, causing me to readjust my foot placement quite frequently.
This video I'm sharing was made as a "thank you" to the folks who allowed me to enjoy some remarkable experiences last summer, showing that I can do a little more than just glue clips together. :-)
In an attempt to help retain viewer interest, I've started putting an "info bar" along the bottom of the screen, with some facts about each of the aircraft shown in those particular videos. Half my audience doesn't like them, the other LOVES them. Data so far has not shown any significant effect. However, the addition of a stinger clip at the end, has at least improve viewing to the end, which is something I will definitely keep as seen in this example: