Bern gave me a little camcorder for Christmas. The Canon Elura 100 is supposed to give decent quality for the price and be easy to learn to use. Both were deciding factors in the choice of camera.
I opened Digital Video for Dummies and immediately discovered their version of iMovie did not match the one on my computer. This brought me to a complete stop.
I switched to Final Cut Pro since learning iMovie was not going to have the ease I had hoped to find. Obviously Final Cut Pro skips ease entirely and goes directly to heavy duty features, and lots of them. But I had intended to go there anyway, why not just jump in totally over my head?
Imagine bubbles rising as I gasp for air…
Just using the camera itself has also presented its own issues. Being quite naive about camcorders, I thought a nice way to present one of Bern’s paintings would be to show it full frame, zoom slowly in and follow the composition in a spiral around the painting, and end up in the eye of the Indian, where I would zoom to fill the frame with the eye.
Yeah, right. The idea was great and my execution was utterly dismal. I quickly learned why fluid heads for tripods are useful for video. Herky jerky movements are just hideous. I also did not want the camera going in and out of focus as it hunted for proper focus as I zoomed or moved it.
The results looked like every bad home video I have ever seen. How disappointing!
I now have a different tripod that has a decent fluid head. The results are improving, but I am beginning to suspect I chose an approach to show the Indian painting that might be difficult for my equipment even if I was more skilled in using it.
However, my husband was ready to start work on an instructional video showing how to tie some of his unique and personal streamers that consistently catch large trout. Hmmm, how about some more big learning curve here?
My first discovery was that he had no idea what showed in the viewfinder and often was trying to demo something outside the field of vision. My efforts to pursue his movements were ridiculously off target because I do not tie flies and had no idea where he was going or what he was trying to do. This was amusing if not instructive.
The fly tying scissors make a loud noise when laid on the table, at least the way this camcorder records sound. The fly tying scissors landed on the table often. The textured wall behind the fly tying table was often in focus while the fly itself was not, the wonders of autofocus tormenting us.
I completely related to the frustration I often see in toddlers. They want to do everything they see big people doing around them, but the results just are not there for them. That was precisely my situation with the camcorder. I wanted smooth professional results and was just a newbie using it. Sigh.
We watched the results and discussed ways to coordinate our efforts more successfully. Our second version worked a lot better. We still see some areas that can certainly be improved but we actually have usable material.
I also managed to upload the video into Final Cut Pro with less difficulty. The project is really beginning to show promise.
On that note, we are going to try our third version of fly tying this morning and see what we can do. Perhaps I can follow the rhythm of tying the fly smoothly with the camera. Perhaps he will keep his hands from obscuring the view when he puts head cement on the fly. Perhaps we will get all the way through this one with flying colors!
Read the next article in this series at Hollywood Still Is Not Threatened.
Copyright © Lexi Sundell 2007. All Rights Reserved.