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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What’s In A Name?

Keeping Track • Essential Gear For Motion Capture

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The challenges that confront new video enthusiasts are achieving stable capture, smooth transitions, maintaining focus and editing the final product. It doesn't have to be expensive. Here's a list of basics:

LCD Loupe. The most essential tool is a loupe that attaches to your LCD so you can see what you're capturing. Most DSLRs don't have autofocus capability for video so the loupe is even more important for maintaining focus. If you have the new Canon EOS 70D, you'll have AF in video, but you still need to have a loupe to view and frame. LCD loupes are made by Hoodman, Varavon, GGS and Zacuto, among others, at a price from around $75 to several hundred dollars. I've used the Hoodman loupes for years. I especially like the HoodCrane and the Custom Finder; both allow the loupe to be easily moved aside when the photographer wants to use the viewfinder for stills.

Fluid Head. Even the best ballheads won't pan smoothly enough for video capture. Approximately $150 will buy you a reasonable beginner's head. Look at Manfrotto, Gitzo, Velbon, Really Right Stuff, Slik or Benro, to name a few.

Memory Cards. Upgrade to fast 16 GB or larger cards from known players; HD video capture takes up a lot of space.

Editing Software. It's important to clean up and finish your video with editing. This is, in many ways, as creative an enterprise as capture. Here's where the story comes together, and I actually find the process to be quite satisfying. Windows and Mac users can use Adobe Premiere Elements or the full professional suite, Premiere Pro; Mac users can also start with Apple iMovie or the professional-quality Final Cut Pro X. A faster computer will make video editing much more enjoyable because it's power-intensive with the large files.

Cat. Your video must feature a cat if you want it to go viral on YouTube. I'm sure you can find one somewhere. I prefer leopards.

Practice. If you belong to a camera club, encourage the group to adopt a video competition. Limit the videos to two minutes or everyone will dump the idea after the first showing, even if all the cats are really cute!

Follow George Lepp's exploits, see his latest photographs and be part of the discussion on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/georgelepp.

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