Ive found an easy way to transfer slides to videotape. I use a full-size camcorder powered by its flat-backed A/C adapter (attached to the rear of the camera). This allows the camera to stand upright on the table, pointed at a white ceiling. I then put the camera in macro mode, lay a slide on the lens hood, position it and focus. Shine a light on the ceiling above, and voila! The result is far better looking clarity and color than from a projector and screen. For slide jobs that dont require cropping, this method is a great time and hassle saver.
Shedding Some Light
A word of caution for anyone who is thinking about using a dimmer to control the output of a photoflood lamp. Photofloods are run at a voltage higher than a normal lamp to increase the color temperature to match film response. Unfortunately, it also shortens the life of the bulbs due to higher filament temperatures. Readers should be aware that using a dimmer to control the output will also change the color temperature and defeat the primary purpose of the photoflood lamps.
An old trick to reduce the high cost of photofloods is to use "railroad lamps" designed to run on 60 volts DC. These bulbs have conventional bases and may be used on 120 volts to give essentially the same effect as photofloods at considerably less cost.
Wedding Video Tips
Im an amateur videographer, and Ive gotten a lot of useful info from Videomaker over the years. Therefore, I would like to share a few of my wedding video tips. I work closely with the still photographer. He usually re-stages key points of the ceremony, like the ring exchange, for closeup shots after the ceremony. I use this opportunity to take closeup and cutaway video.
I usually have two manned cameras in the auditorium and one unmanned camera somewhere on the pulpit, taking a wide shot. We use headset radios to communicate and take audio from camera mikes as well as a lavaliere mike on the groom. The unmanned camera records great ambient sound and music. In editing, I simply use aural cues to synchronize the inserts on a Panasonic stereo VHS editing system, and it all blends very well.
I recently bought a camcorder for a project I was doing for film school. I remember the days when camcorders came with more than a box and a few wires; they came with a hard case. Along with my camcorder purchase, I reluctantly bought a soft bag for $35, but hey, you need something to put your camera in. A few days later I went to a home improvement store. I found an aluminum hard case (which has customizable foam inside to fit your specific needs) for just $25. It also has inserts to section off parts for wires, charger, batteries and so on. The case looks sharp and professional. It certainly protects my new camcorder from dust and moisture and it looks like it cost way more than $25. It pays to have hard cases for your equipment and for the price, you simply cant beat this solution.
Do-it-yourself Production Manual
The wealth of knowledge and information that Videomaker gives its readers each month may rival film schools. So how does one retain all that great information? Simple, do what I did. Get yourself a three-ring binder, some three-hole-punched card stock, a razor knife and some rubber cement. Next, create headings for each section (i.e. Video, Sound, Lighting). Now cut out the how-to articles. Gather all the important pictures, diagrams and relevant text and rubber cement them to the card stock. Youll have the best darn production manual money cant buy! And when you need to know how to light that backdrop, where to place a mike or what filter to use, you wont have to go digging.