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December 18, 2005 at 11:18 AM #39014
Does anyone have any tips for shooting video at the American Museum of Natural History in NY?
Not that I want my video to look the same as everyone else’s… However, I haven’t been there in 30 years and we’re taking my son after Christmas- it will be a long time before we go back so I have one shot at getting some good video.
He’s a dinosaur finatic and we want some special shots…
Their on-line photography policy is a little vague- they allow flash but not lights- I’m guessing they mean separate stand mounted lights. No tripods. Is the place generally dark or is it well lit?
General thoughts from anyone who has visited in the last couple of years appreciated…
December 18, 2005 at 12:58 PM #169253
I just shot some video there over Thanksgiving. But I have not looked at it yet! It was a vacation, so I had just my camera (GL-1), no accessories. I’ll go take a look at it and see how it came out.
Parts of the place are well lit, and other parts are not. Some of the areas not so well lit do have lighted displays behind glass, so you can still get some shots (if you can get through the crowds).
Packed museums like that are so tough because of the hordes of people running every which way and clamoring to see everything.
I’ll post back on my shots – I have a feeling they will be average at best, but I would like to see how the lighting worked out.
December 18, 2005 at 2:13 PM #169254
Ok – I just transferred the footage to my mac. I guess it’s not all bad. As I said before, typical crowds causing problems with good shot locations etc. The natural lighting wasn’t as bad as I thought – it still looks like vacation video though – hey, I’m not a pro!
Anyway, some reflections from the display cases and backround lighting – but overall, not too bad for an amateur.
December 18, 2005 at 4:28 PM #169255
Thanks for the info Kenny.
Yeah, vacation pictures/videos is what I hope to come away with. Christmas week should be crowded. I always found it interesting when reading photo or video magazines and books how they have these wonderful vacation shots- when you go to these locations those shots are impossible without getting permission to light and shoot the place while it is closed to other tourists. There are always 400-500 of my closest friends in the shot when I get there! 😯
Display cases are always a pain- the trick is to be at an angle to the glass in relation to the lights- pretend the glass is a mirror when you visualize the shot.
Would a little 3 watt kicker light on my camera help some of the dark spots for up close? Or would that be overkill?
December 18, 2005 at 5:33 PM #169256
I believe it would help for specific shots. Some of the footage I have could stand a little boost in the front – depending on your angle. I’m just now starting to notice in my shooting where light really needs to be to bring out details, so in my case, there were a few shots of ceiling displays that lacked the head on lighting.
Man, you’re making me think too much about lighting!
A tripod would certainly have been a great asset, but difficult to manuever with the crowds. I just used the railings, display cases, and anything else I could lean on to help steady the shots.
Oh – and one more thing, I was on full auto the whole time, probably not the best thing to do either. The GL-1 is very forgiving in auto mode – IMO.
Good luck to you – and don’t accidentally leave your camera on the hotel shuttle and end up walking a mile in below freezing weather to retrieve it from the driver! (Don’t ask)
December 18, 2005 at 6:16 PM #169257
Cool- so the 3 watter I was going to buy this week sounds like it might be useful. I’d be afraid with anything bigger of infringing on other people.
I don’t believe they allow tripods at all in the museum. Some places will let you get away with monopods.
The advanced LCD displays that these cameras have are amazing- to the point where the video looks great even in low light- then you view the tape when you get home and you are sometimes disappointed. It takes an experienced eye to recognize that you have to switch to manual and open the aperture- something I’ll try to remember.
We live in central Jersey, so we’re driving in- worst case is I’ll leave something in the car (wouldn’t be the first time). It’s funny- I live two hours away from stuff like this and I go once every 30 years. I still haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty! (!)
December 18, 2005 at 7:14 PM #169258
Hey, that’s funny, I was just capturing and lining up my Statue of Liberty footage! We were there for 5 days and we did the Bronx Zoo, The Statue, The Museum, and the Macy’s Parade.
I had a great time juggling my three year old and my camera during the parade. We didn’t have a great spot, but I managed to capture some good shots somehow.
Your post has got me back to work on cleaning up the shots and saving some memories to DVD.
December 18, 2005 at 7:53 PM #169259
Hey- glad to help! And I certainly appreciate your help/comments. Sounds like a nice vacation!
I have the same problem with my digital photos, they sit in the camera or on my hard disk. But I’ll tell you, some of the new software and speed of the new drives has actually made this stuff fun again so I don’t dread getting in front of the PC to do the work.
And as the kids get older you can have a lot of fun- my son and I (he’s 7) just finished making a movie- we did everything- storyboard, scripts, cue cards, remote control props, multiple takes, all down to a DVD for the family. It was a 3 minute horror movie with a Geico commercial in the middle. What a blast!
Now if I can just pull out my 8mm camcorder and start capturing that stuff… 😉
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