Title Wrap

My favorite way to make inexpensive titles is to use gift-wrap paper. This paper is already decorated with designs and titles such as Happy Birthday, Anniversary, Wedding, etc. The packs with folded sheets work all right if the title is between the folds. Better still is gift-wrap on rolls. Since only a small area is needed, the rest of the roll can be used for wrapping. My method is to tape the paper onto something stiff, such as poster board (which can be reused) and then set it on a music stand. Music stands are indispensable for titling or simply holding photographs and other graphic materials still. Because music stands are adjustable, they are perfect for aligning titles with the camcorder.

Richard R. Obie
Lewiston, ME


8 Tips for Making a Stellar First Video

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Double Deal

I shoot wedding videos as a part-time job. A friend of mine in the marketing business helped boost my income with an off-the-cuff observation. When I told him that I typically provide one finished video as part of the package, and then charge for extra copies, he said I could make more money if I always give the customer two copies to begin with. He explained that there are usually two sets of parents plus the bride and groom, or the basic possibility of at least three couples who may want copies of the wedding tape. By providing them with just one tape, they may choose to share it (or make their own poor quality copies), instead of spending more money for extra copies. But, if the initial package includes two tapes, he pointed out that someone is then forced to decide who will get the "extra" tape. Rather than make that tough choice, and risk offending someone by leaving them out, he predicted that most customers would instead order more tapes just to make sure all relatives were getting equal treatment (which is a good idea when starting a new marriage). He was right. My orders for extra tapes have increased ever since I began following the "two-tape" plan. The requests for additional tapes have more than paid for the cost of providing the second tape.

Bill Perry

Oklahoma City, OK

Negative Shooting

Many camcorders have a "negative art" special effect. The best practical use of this feature is to convert photographic negatives to positive images, either to capture on tape or simply for viewing on TV. Here’s how to do it. Using macro focus, frame the negative in the viewfinder. Use white translucent material behind the negative and illuminate from behind. Turn on the negative art mode. For B/W negatives color correction probably won’t be necessary. However, if you’re shooting color negatives with daylight you will see a bluish color cast over the whole picture. Use a daylight color filter on the camcorder lens (#80B) and you will see the picture in vivid colors. Record video for 10-15 seconds and repeat for more negatives. Using tungsten or fluorescent light will require different color correction filters. You can also use inexpensive colored gel sheets. To do this, put them behind the white translucent material.

Vijay J. Sheth

Mesa, AZ

Light the Charge

As a video hobbyist, I’m often asked to videotape family functions at the last minute. Normally I keep my camcorder battery charged and ready to go. However, my two four-hour back-up battery packs are not always fully charged (I use one for my lights and the other as my backup camcorder battery). Recently I was videotaping a graduation party at an American Legion hall and upon my arrival I located an AC power outlet to charge my battery packs. When I plugged them in, the charge light went on and I felt confident that I was all set. Unfortunately, when I went to use the battery packs I found the charge light was out. To my dismay I discovered that a switch across the room controlled the outlet, and someone had turned it off. Now, whenever I need to use an outlet I plug a night-light in with the battery that I’m charging. That way I can periodically glance over and make sure that the light is still on.

Thomas M. Del Mastro, Sr.

Coventry, RI

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