If your camcorder has manual white balance, here’s a great way to create weird color effects in the camera, without external filters or filters in post-production. Instead of white balancing on a white card, try these ideas:
White balance on the blue sky and everything turns to a nostalgic golden sepia.
White balance under fluorescent light and then shoot outdoors. Everything looks pink.
White balance on a lit candle. Everything else becomes a dark cobalt blue, which is great for moonlighting effects.
White balance off a red card and everything turns green, which is great for a "night scope" effect.
The variations are endless!
Pompano Beach, FL
No Static at All
Anyone who videotapes weddings and events on a regular basis has probably had wireless interference at some point. I’ve found a way to get perfect audio every time (and without wires)! Instead of using a pocket transmitter for that lavalier mike, plug it into a MiniDisc recorder. It’s about the same size, and provides you with a digital recording without interference. Make sure you have lots of empty space on that disc (MDs usually hold 74 minutes), and make sure you have fresh batteries, since MD recorders burn them up quickly. Also test your mike in advance, since some lavaliers require phantom power, and may not work with your disc recorder.
You’ll get a great recording that will easily sync to video, and you’ll still have a natural sound back-up from your camera.
Make Your Audio Sing
I am a wedding videographer, but I also videotape a lot of plays and musicals for a local theater group. I used to record the audio with my on-camera mike but had difficulty getting my camcorder close enough to get acceptable sound without getting in the way of the audience. I decided to use a pair of wireless lavaliere mikes. After trying several methods, the one that worked best for my situation was to hang the mikes and transmitters at the front and toward the sides of the stage. If I divide the stage into fourths, I hang the mikes at the one-quarter and three-quarters locations. I read somewhere that in a stage performance situation, well-spaced omni-directional microphones (like the lavaliers) would result in good stereo sound.
It has worked rather well. Over the last year I have toyed with many ways of hanging them and have settled on using 20-pound-test fishing line.
Titling With an Image Preview
The April 2001 issue of Videomaker had a great review of DVS Direct’s RT2000 video editing computer, written by Bruce Coykendall. However, the author complained about the inability of the Inscriber TE titling software to view video under the title while you are working on it. I have a fairly simple and effective way to get around this problem. You can go to the position on the timeline where you want the title and export that frame (by clicking File, Export, Frame). After naming the frame, you can then set that as the background of your title. This allows you to judge the size and placement of all the letters and characters. Before saving the title to Premiere, you can remove the background, and when you place the title on the timeline at the proper place, the title will be transparent and positioned correctly.
Perfect Pan Positioning
It is not always easy to stop a panning motion right on the target object. In order to make this easier, I attach a string to one of the legs of the tripod with the other end attached to its control handle. While aiming the camcorder at the target, I make sure the string has no slack in it. I then move the camcorder back to where I want to begin the pan.
While holding the tripod with one hand to make sure it will not move, I start the panning motion with a gentle push sideways, and stop as soon as I feel a resistance (caused by the string being stretched to its maximum length). This guarantees I stop right on the target.
Vancouver, BC, Canada