There are three stages that all photographers and film-makers go through when they receive a new piece of equipment. First, there’s the shock phase — the one where you have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s actually in your hand and not just a bookmarked tab that provoked a realistic daydream.
After the initial shock, there’s pure joy — the kind where you hold your camera out in front of you with two hands, spin around in a circle, and laugh with all of your teeth showing. Then there’s the dreaded third stage, where you snap out of it and realize you don’t even know how to turn the camera on.
Whether you got your camera under the Christmas tree or splurged a little on yourself this season, these four tips will help you overcome stage three in the best way possible.
Write a script
Although it’s essentially a good thing, a new HD camera can sometimes be overwhelming. For creative people, this feeling can hinder actual artistic creation. Instead of experimenting haphazardly, write a script and plan out each scene before filming. Do something simple, like filming a conversation between two people or a dancing scene. Writing your own script will help you feel more in control of your project, which encourages tweaking and polishing as it develops.
You’ve already adapted to the lighting needs of your old camera, but it’s time to throw all that out the window and write a new set of rules. As you might expect, high definition cameras pick up much more detail, which can be emphasized with more direct lighting. Alternatively, the HDSLR is great at picking up subtle lighting conditions, like a candle in front of a face or a shadowy room.
Professional lighting tools can help you maximize these new parameters. Softboxes can soften harsh camera lights, creating a more realistic affect for your shots. Backdrops can eliminate background lighting interferences, while LitePanels reflect light to enhance the overall effect. Using these tools and an evolved artistic eye, you can make the relevant changes to your repertoire of lighting tricks.
Test the limit
Remember all of those film projects that didn’t quite work so well on your standard DSLR? Now’s the time to revive your old ideas through a more suitable lens. One of the most significant differences between a DSLR camera and an HDSLR camera is the quality of low-lit scenes. For example, the intricate lighting details of a firework show or a carnival will show up much clearer on your new camera.
In some cases, excessive precision and clarity can take away from the artistic effect of the film. Try experimenting with frame rate, manual focus, and audio to truly hone everything your new HDSLR camera has to offer.
Just like web designers need to be aware of how a website displays across various browsers, filmmakers need to be aware of how their work displays on various television screens. Use reliable editing software like Adobe Premiere and Adobe Soundbooth, which both provide a user-friendly guide for adjusting the look and sound of your film. Pay attention to the type of file you export also, since files like .wmv have trouble opening on every computer and television. Then consider the various levels of quality and size of the typical TV screens. Find the right TV size that consumers are typically using and then adjust file that adapts to various device parameters.