Slide Screen Reflections
Heres a tip if you need to get more light in your videos. I have found that you can use a portable movie projector-style movie screen to bounce and reflect soft, defused light. It is free-standing, adjustable and it works extremely well.
Anne D Angelo
When I put my camcorder on a tripod (to shoot a school play for instance), I prefer to use the remote control to zoom in and out rather than pressing the zoom control on the camcorder. By doing this I avoid camera shake and unwanted motion and noise while I am videotaping.
Unfortunately, using the remote from behind the camcorder does not work reliably, and its awkward to try to aim from the front while simultaneously looking in the viewfinder.
To solve this problem, I installed a bicycle rear-view mirror on the front leg of the tripod. The IR beam from the remote control bounces off the mirror to the pick up on the camcorder. The mirror has a long stem and a swivel mount that allows for easy adjustment. At the base there is a bracket with a nut and bolt. Use the bolt to mount it to your tripod, or attach the mirror to the base of your camcorder with a strip of gaffers tape.
I attached the bracket to one of the legs of the tripod and aimed the mirror at about 45 degrees, facing up toward the camcorder. I placed it as close to the camcorder as possible without being in the field of vision. I made sure the leg with the mirror on it was in line with the front of the camcorder. Then I aimed the remote at the mirror and I got reliable remote control via the mirror.
This inexpensive bicycle accessory allows me to use my remote easily and reliably so I dont shake the camcorder when I zoom in and out and turn it on and off.
Patrick M. DuBois
Archiving Computer Parameters
With the explosion of desktop video, more and more people are moving away from non-computer based linear editing and are using computers to edit their video. PCs hold crucial setup information in battery backed-up memory called CMOS. The problem is that if or when the battery dies, all of the CMOS information is lost. AC power failures and surges can also cause CMOS information to be lost.
Camcorder owners have a wonderful and easy alternative to the tedious job of writing down all the setup parameters. Just record the CMOS screens with your camcorder. If the characters are too small and hard to read when played back on a TV set, record the computer monitor in sections. Set the refresh rate of your computers monitor to 60Hz to minimize screen flicker.
To access CMOS entries, watch for a message to appear on the screen like "press delete key to enter setup" in the first few seconds after you power up your PC.
PCs running Windows also have parameters stored on the hard drive, which are used by the Windows Device Manager. It is almost unthinkable to record the many screens by hand. But using the camcorder method, its childs play.
Gather Great Sound
Many of the new compact digital camcorders have microphones that point to the sky and produce mediocre (albeit digitally recorded) sound.
To compensate for the design flaw I devised a 1/16-inch thick cardboard reflector to snap on to the top of the camcorder to capture better sound. I placed it behind the left and right microphones and tilted it about 45 degrees toward the front. This sound reflector is only about 5/8-inch high and I can remove it to store easily in my video bag. The sound quality improved many folds.
You can make a few and try different sizes. To test them out through headphones I have found that the best thing to do is choose an outdoor, uniform sound source like a water fountain as a test sound source. Monitor it from about 20 feet away. You will be happy with the results. I am.