Video Tips, Tricks & Travesties

9 07 2009
NLE Media Cameraman, Greg Gordon NLE Media Cameraman, Greg Gordon – Canon XL2 with wireless receiver and camera-mounted harddrive. 

Ok, so I’m the guy that falls into the lake duck hunting with Donny Adair and his son, Donnell. I think that’s on Episode 9 of the AAHA Outdoor Show which is still in editing till the end of March, 2009. Main issue isn’t whether I fell in, but did I save the camera? You betcha! With Donny & Donnell nearby to pump my lungs dry, I wasn’t worried about drowning. But the camera is a different story. Good thing I can lift my arms above my head.

This post will be about video shooting in the field. We’ll share tips & tricks with you and we want you to share with us. So grab your gear, charge your batteries, clean your lens, roll tape and call out, “Action! Baby!”

In the field I like to use either a Canon XL1S or the XL2. We add a wireless unit to the camera & run the video DTE (direct to edit) to a FireStore on-camera drive connected via firewire. The drive is powered by an external 12 volt battery setup from Bescor. We don’t use tape because of the battery demands of the camera taping mechanism & the lossiness and time spent converting tape to DV. With the 12 volt & camera batteries we use, we can shoot pretty much all day. Download the video to our laptop, run and gun some more.

Donny and his sons are now using a Sony HD1000U for capture and are bringing in a small specialty camera for special shots. Donnell & Kenny are a lot of fun in the field (so’s Donny) and having 2 or 3 cameras can be a real benefit. Our motto is to have fun, and believe me, that’s what we do.

We’ll use tripods on interviews, but most of the time we’re shoulder mounted.

Tell us about your gear. Share your insights and tricks with others.

Lighting is everything in good video.  When in the field be sure you utilize filters and settings to capture the best picture.  It is not always possible in a run & gun situation, but try to keep the sun behind you.  Use a polarized filter to remove glare.  We shot the following video in the late afternoon with the sun behind the camera & my left shoulder.

We did a rack focus to let the background green of the trees be soft focused & Donny in sharp focus.  If your camera will let you do it, give it a try.