What you are about to read may seem unbelievable at first. But it’s as true as the sky is blue. This
story concerns a secret–a little-known fact that the government will try to cover up, now and for years to
come. Yet I, trusty whistle blower extraordinaire, am here to share the knowledge, and let you, the public,
in on this "secret."


8 Tips for Making a Stellar First Video

Free eBook


8 Tips for Making a Stellar First Video

Free eBook


Thank you! Your free eBook will be sent to you via email

The boys in Washington will undoubtedly deny this truth. They may even deny my existence. But as
you will soon learn, the information is unquestionably irrefutable, and I captured all of it on macro video. I
even managed to learn something about the craft of closeup video in the process–something I hope to
share with any videomakers out there who might happen to read this.

It all began last June, almost one year ago to the day….


Today marks a milestone for me as a videomaker. I have secured my first professional job! After all
the reading, all the seminars and all the equipment purchases, the hard work has finally paid off.

My client, Steven Ades, is a biochemist associated with the NASA research branch located at the state
college. I contracted this job after a chance meeting in a UFO awareness night course. Steven alluded to a
project he’s been working on where video evidence of his findings might come in handy. He possesses no
equipment. My experience in video, coupled with our shared interests, led to a quick mental connection. I’ll
find out more details in my first official business meeting!


Steven and I met in his college lab. He’s into some very interesting subjects, one being alien
abduction. I’m usually a very cynical person, but considering this man’s background and education, he
makes a believable case.

His theory is that aliens have abducted more than one percent of the human population. The aliens take
these people for "reconditioning" (Steven’s promised details on this later) and subsequently return them to

Steven has brought me on board his project to provide video proof of this theory. It seems that he has
located the reconditioning point on humans. It’s a very small area, just a bit larger than a pinhead. By
monitoring this "zone" for several hours, Steven hopes to capture some live alien activity on macro

Steven accidentally discovered this fact when performing an autopsy on a body the government claimed
was destroyed in a military plane crash. Steven thinks otherwise.

In the autopsy, access to a macro (or extreme closeup) lens was available. He videotaped the entire body
using this lens to gather data. In reviewing the tapes when preparing his final report, Steven noticed one of
these alien "spots." He tried to reproduce that section of tape, but his superiors immediately confiscated his
equipment. Thus his removal from the military facility and replacement to the college campus.


I am to provide a macro video account of Steven’s research. That’s to be my first job.

There’s one snag in this setup. I have absolutely no experience in macro videomaking. I can shoot
straight video. I can edit. I can light. I can work with sound. But macro video is a whole new subject for

It’s apparent I need to do some research in this area. I expressed my concern about my inexperience to
Steven, but he didn’t seem to mind. He just told me to be careful about whom I ask for help. He even
suggested I keep records of all conversations and correspondence that relate to the project. It seems like a
strange request from a client, but maybe this is the way the video business world works. Anyhow, Steven
fronted me $200 for preliminary expenses!


Mr. X and John Fritz, owner of On-The-Fritz Video are discussing macro video…

Mr. X: I’ve seen the macro switch on my camcorder, but I’ve never had the opportunity to use it. What’s it

John Fritz: Well, let’s start at the beginning. As a still photographer, I initially became interested in macro
photography. Basically, macro videomaking is the same thing, only you’re using video instead of still film.
Both methods indicate shooting in closeup. Maybe extreme closeup is a truer description of the term.

What a videographer is attempting to do with macro is isolate a subject or detail from its context by the
use of magnification. Something that you can normally recognize and tape at a distance of four feet may
appear totally foreign if you see it and tape it at a distance of two inches.

Many closeup shots reveal detail and texture that you cannot normally see. This is a super outlet for
video artists. Often, bizarre and intriguing images and shapes are the result of macro videography.
Sometimes, professional videographers use macro shots to form a visual scientific record of objects too
small for the unaided eye to see.

Mr. X: Yeah, that scientific stuff is exactly what I want to know about.

John Fritz: Well, there’s still more you need to know. Macro lenses are specially designed to deliver
optimum sharpness and contrast for subjects that are focused at close distances. With most standard lenses,
overall performance is best at specific settings depending on the lens type, number of elements, and so on.
But generally, standard lens performance drops off as the lens gets closer to the subject.

Another important topic to understand is the relationship between the size of the subject you’re taping
and the size of the image on the tape. Videomakers (and photographers) usually express this as a ratio, like
1:1 or 1:10. The first number refers to the image size while the second number is the subject size. This is
the image ratio, or reproduction ratio. If it’s expressed as a multiplier, say, 10X or 1X, it’s known as

Mr. X: So if I’m shooting something and making it look twice as big as it really is…

John Fritz: Then that would be a 2X or 2:1 shot. A life-size reproduction on tape of a subject would be 1X
or 1:1. Any time you make that subject appear larger than it actually is, you increase the first number.

Mr. X: Is there a limit on how close I can get?

John Fritz: Sure, there’s a limit. But that’s due to a lot of additional factors such as lighting, stability, the
actual subject, lenses; the list of possible things that can limit your macro capabilities goes on and on.

Mr. X: You know, this has all been very interesting. But I just want to go out and get started on my job
right away. Is there anything you can tell me about the actual shooting stages–something beyond this
technical talk?

John Fritz: I would have to recommend a pamphlet I picked up at a video expo I attended in New Jersey. I
still have a copy I can loan you. It deals with the more practical aspects of macro videomaking. Let me get
it out of my files. You can stop by later this afternoon and pick it up if you wish.


"…There are several topics the videomaker must address to guarantee successful macro videomaking.
These include lighting, shot stability and composition.

…A secure stand is necessary to provide adequate support for your camera when shooting objects in
extreme closeup. If you’ve ever tried to shoot a normal closeup with a handheld camera, you’ve observed
the obviously distracting effects of instability. These conditions worsen as you get closer to the subject.
And shaky-cam is not the style you’re looking to achieve in macro videomaking.

…Depending on the subject, there are several ways you can support your camera. A tripod is always a wise
choice, but only if the subject is something that you can place at a 90 degree angle to the camera while it’s
on the tripod. If the object in question must sit on the floor, or is low to the ground, a tripod may not give
you the access you need. This is also true of irregularly-shaped objects or those with large protrusions.

…Sand-filled bags, bean bags or a wad of material may give your camera the stability it needs and the
access you need. You must consider how close the camera needs to be to the subject for the shot. Then
decide what will allow you to keep a camera at that distance in a rock-steady position.

…A remote that will turn on your camcorder’s recording function also helps maintain stability. If your
camera is sitting within an inch or two of a subject, triggering the record button manually may disturb the
shot positioning. This physical contact often produces a shake in the initial seconds of the recording. And if
you’re attempting to create a macro record of nature or something living, just the fact that you are
physically present may "scare" or distract your subject and ruin the shot.

…Once you’ve stabilized your camcorder, you’ve got to consider lighting the subject. This isn’t always an
easy task. The camcorder, stabilizing device and your own body all act as light blockers. Trying to light the
subject evenly while not catching anything on fire is quite an accomplishment for a macro videomaker.

…A copy stand is a good investment if you’re planning on doing a lot of macro video with flat images. This
setup uses two photoflood lamps, placed at 45 angle on either side of the subject.

…If you’re creating your own copy stand, the distance between the light source and the subject should be
great enough to flood the surface with plenty of bright light. Make sure the light falls evenly across the
entire subject, so that the edges are not brighter than the center of the subject.

…Glass-covered or shiny subjects will often cause a glare. Changing the angle of the lamps may eliminate
this problem. If this fails, you may need to use a polarizing filter on the lens….


It’s been a couple of months since I began research in my quest for macro-video education. In that
time, I’ve read several books, spoken to knowledgeable people concerning the subject and, most
importantly, begun experimenting with my camcorder’s macro function. I’ve even included the practice in
some of my other gigs. Yes, since contact with Steven, I’ve shot two weddings and my third-grade
neighbor’s "back-to-school" chorus concert. Listed below are some observations:

  • Do not touch the camera at any time during recording.

  • Reflected and bounced lighting works well in reducing shadows.

  • A large, zip-lock baggie filled with sand makes an effective stabilizer for low-angle shots.

  • Fully explain the length of the setup process to any human subjects.

  • Many common everyday items shot in macro make beautiful backgrounds for graphics and keyed

  • Macro shots become nice inserts in "normal" productions; i.e., wedding ring shot for inclusion in wedding
    videos, neighbor’s name shot directly from chorus program to use as "credits" for tape, etc.

  • Macro shots also provide an interesting alternative to traditional screen graphics. You can capture
    handwriting, typing, printed logos, etc. to video using macro.

  • Sound recording has proven difficult; further examination is necessary….


Mr. X is discussing the technique of recording sound while shooting macro images with Allen
Schmatz, a sound engineer at Sounds Right Audio Post House…

Mr. X: Sorry to bug you. It’s just that your friend, John Fritz, told me to give you a call…

Allen Schmatz: No problem! What’s up?

Mr. X: I’ve got a big shoot coming up, and it’s strictly macro. I’ve been experimenting with this style, but
I’m not real sure what to do about sound.

Allen Schmatz: I suppose you’ve discovered how ineffective the on-camera mike becomes when you move
in close to a subject.

Mr. X: Actually, I’ve had to physically remove it from the camcorder to give myself access to the

Allen Schmatz: Those mikes sometimes stick out too far, keeping your camcorder from getting as close as
you need. Then there’s the problems it creates with lighting and shadows.

Mr. X: You don’t need to tell me twice about that hassle!

Allen Schmatz: Well, it’s a good idea to disable the on-board mike, but only if you have the resources to
dedicate a camcorder exclusively to macro video. Most camcorder mikes aren’t made to be taken off and
put back on with the greatest of ease. If you’re knowledgable about camcorder repair, you can remove the
mike from the body of the camera. If you aren’t, get an expert or a repair shop to remove the mike for you.
Also, remember that if your camcorder is still under warranty, removing the mike may void it.

I know a lot of macro shots don’t really require sound. So getting rid of that excess baggage is smart.
But when you do have to record sound with a macro shot, you’ve got a couple of options. It all depends on
the subject and the source of the sound.

Mr. X: I’m not sure where the sound will be coming from. It may come from the subject. There’s also the
possibility it’ll come from an off-camera narrator.

Allen Schmatz: With the on-board mike disabled, you’ll want to hook up an accessory mike. Again, it
depends on the subject.

If you’re recording sound from an on-camera subject, you might try a shotgun mike. Place the mike off-
camera, aiming it towards the subject. Experiment with placement and audio recording levels until the
sound is right.

The key is to monitor sound with a good set of headphones. Don’t trust the audio meters or your
hunches. With the camera so close to the subject, a variety of unwanted sounds may find their way onto
your soundtrack. The only way to verify what you’re recording is to do some tests. At such a close range,
you may also pick up some camcorder noise.

Mr. X: But my camcorder is silent.

Allen Schmatz: Most are pretty quiet. I thought mine was silent, too, until I recorded some macro images
with a shotgun mike that I pointed a little too directly at the camcorder! While the sound was usable, you
could actually hear the camcorder working. To a sound guy like me, that’s totally unacceptable.

Mr. X: You said there are other options.

Allen Schmatz: You can use a lavalier mike when you’re shooting macro, but that depends on where you
aim the camera.

Mr. X: Meaning?

Allen Schmatz: Well, say you’re taping a natural phenomenon–ants, making a home. If the audio is a
voice-over description of the ants’ activity, you can place a lavalier on the narrator quite a distance from the
camera. You’ll get good, clean sound. In a medical environment–a surgery in-progress, for example–you
can mike the attending physician as he carries out his work.

Mr. X: Is there a way to use both mikes at once?

Allen Schmatz: Sure! And for some macro opportunities, that’s the best way to get the sound you need.
Maybe the subject you’re recording is emanating a sound that you want to record, yet at the same time, you
need an off-screen voice over. You should mike the subject with a shotgun and use the lavalier on the
narrator. Plug both into an audio mixer so you can record both tracks separately or mix them….


I finally feel ready to work with Steven on his project. My background research has given me the
technical knowledge I need for any direction this video may take. Tomorrow, we shoot our first


The footage I got today was somewhat disappointing. And not just from a scientific standpoint.

Steven’s experiment showed little. Sure, the person exhibited some signs of strange activity in his
temporal area, but I believe I could produce the same results with some heavy chewing!

Video-wise, I thought the work was terrible. The subject’s face was extremely washed-out on one side,
and he constantly complained of the heat from the lamps. I should have listened more closely to Allen, as I
could definitely hear the camcorder noise on the audio track. And to top it off, the battery died in the
middle of the first recording session. That’s a hint nobody mentioned. With a macro shoot, there’s the
probability of continuous recording, especially if you’re waiting for a scientific phenomenon to occur.
Don’t count on a battery. Always go A/C.

We have another shoot next week. Hopefully, I’ll learn from my mistakes.


Success! Today’s experiment was fantastic. Our subject sat patiently while I thoroughly described the
video end of the experiment.

I locked the camera in position on a tripod approximately three inches from the subject’s forehead. I
used two photoflood lamps, positioned on either side of the subject.

This time, I bounced the light off a couple of photo umbrellas I borrowed from John Fritz. That
decreased the heat from the units and evened out the light spread.

I conducted two sound tests with the subject before actual taping began, making sure I aimed the
shotgun correctly. I miked Steven with a wireless lavalier, giving him the freedom he needed to work his

The best part was our discovery and recording of the alien presence as it emerged from the subject’s
temple. It was a greenish thing, multi-armed and about 1-1/2 inches long. It appeared only for three
seconds, but I got it on tape! This creature made an unintelligible sound. Steven was quite happy with the
results, but guarded at the same time.


Steven Ades and Mr. X are discussing the experiment…

Mr. X: You want me to what?!

Steven Ades: Take all of the tapes, all of your notes, any info pertaining to this project and disappear.

Mr. X: But, we were making such progress…

Steven Ades: We’ve already talked too long…




It’s been several months since I’ve had any real personal contact with the outside world. Stills from my
macro video have popped up in every scandal sheet and reputable newspaper and magazine around the
world. This was one of Steven’s last instructions, to let the world know about our discovery.

The shots have undergone incredible scrutiny. It appears my macro videomaking was quite
accomplished. Even the sound was understandable.

I guess aliens are going to invade Earth sometime in the near future.

The one aspect of this whole event that’s toughest to handle is my new claim to fame. All of my life I’ve
wanted to make a name for myself as a professional videomaker. But now that my work is so acclaimed,
I’m unable to publicly take the credit. I’ve even read that some people formed a macro videomaking society
in honor of my work.

Never mind the imminent invasion of Earth…I must contact this society and share my knowledge

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.