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Jan 07, 2003, 09:36 AM
Involuntary Beta Tester
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Tips for Taking Videos?

I tried to take a video of a Venus with my Sharp Viewcam, Hi8 and it didn't come out very well. The plane is out of focus and I can't hold the camera steady. Also in the bright daylight the LCD is not very visible.

I tried manual focus and I had better luck and maybe with practice I'll get better.

I have a tripod and will try that next time.

Is it easier to shoot these planes with a Digital camcorder that you can see through with an eyepiece?

Is image stabalization features effective for taking video of flying planes?

With my current camera I have no way to import the video to my PC plus my PC is almost out of disk space.

Do those PCI firewire cards work well? What is good video editing software that doesn't cost an arm or a leg but is user friendly. I'd have to get an analog/digital bridge to convert my analog video to digital. What is a good setup.

Rather than upgrade my PC (1gig, 512m, Win98 SE, Voodoo5, 13g hd) maybe I should get an Apple iBook and give my PC to my daughter (she hogs it all the time now anyway). I have a wireless setup on my current PC and I could get a digital camera such as a Canon ZR40.

Looks like I'll have to upgrade to XP soon since Microsoft will stop supporting Win98. I'll have to upgrade my sound and video since this hardware is not supported by XP in my research. Time I do that and purchase everything else I could almost have a new computer.

So while I think about stuff like that I can practice with my Sharp now and watch it on my TV.

I'd sure like to post videos of my E3D flying.


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Jan 07, 2003, 09:48 AM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
- manual focus at infinity is the only way to stop the blurring.
- tripod does not work well at all. Learn to hold the camera steady, two hands. A pivoting eyepiece/viewfinder is a must, so when the model is overhead, you're not having to look up.
- no difference in ease of viewing between digital and analog cameras, it's all to do with the quality of the eyepiece viewfinder. Side-panel LCD's are useless for this (although nice for reviewing footage just after you shoot it). The only way to get better is practice, practice, practice!
- Image stablization works well if focus is good.
- PCI firewire is the best way to get digital video into your PC. 160GB HD's can be bought now - my largest to date has been a 120GB for $100 after rebates. I have 240GB in my current PC - I do a lot of personal video work. 1hr of DV format uses up 12GB. Although 'preview' modes with some software work, they are not convenient if your editing across many tapes.
- I don't have a Mac, but it would make your life much easier than a PC - if you can afford it!

Search "Off Topic Discussion" forum for video camera threads.
Jan 07, 2003, 09:55 AM
Pylon freak
Paulus's Avatar
I had best luck without looking through the viewfinder. All the videos on my site are done by just aiming the camera at the airplanes.


Jan 07, 2003, 10:51 AM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
Good point - an external sight, like a couple of pieces of music wire bent so that when you look thru them, it aligns with the viewfinder, would be best. Of course, if you want to zoom in on the model, you'll have to check the viewfinder now and then..
Jan 07, 2003, 11:06 AM
leccyflyer's Avatar
That's good advice from Andy. The ease of use of those Firewire cards is great, and they are very reasonably priced as well. I've been impressed with the bundled software that was supplied with my cheapo card, but you will need a big HDD. I was alarmed how big DV files get to be and wondered where all my disc space had dissappeared to.

One other thing that isn't always considered is the pilot you are videoing. It's a joy to video some pilots because their flying is so super smooooooooth and absolutely predictable. You can tell from the sit of the aeroplane what he is going to do next, it's possible to close crop the shot and pan through the manouvers. If you don't know the pilot and don't know what he's going to do (or worse still- he doesn't know what he's going to do) then things can get a bit more interesting.

Practise is the best solution though. Sports finders have their uses for getting the model in the frame and a smoothly panned model that stays in the frame with a moderate zoom is much better than a jerky close up with the model appearing and dissappearing even if the aeroplane looks a lot smaller.
Jan 07, 2003, 07:33 PM
Registered User
vintage1's Avatar
I don't know if they are still available, but I have an old 'rifle mount' for my 35mm camera, that I have used to good efect on birds and full scale planes in flight and car racing etc. Never tried it on a toy plane yet tho.

What it is, is a pistol grip on the far end of a beam, and a shoulder pad at the 'stock' end with a slidable tripod mounting on the beam. The trigger at the FAR end has a cable to fit the standard cable release.

In practice you can get a lot more steady with this arrangement than a monopod or tripod, when panning wildly in 2 dimensions.

I dunno what you can use to remortely trigger a videocam, but if its just a switch, then to knock up something like this for a vidcam should be a lot easier than assembling the odd kit etc.
Jan 13, 2003, 01:52 PM
Mayor of Simpleton
Tommy632's Avatar
I've just atarted doing videos myself. I use a cannon elura 40 DV. Image stablizer on and I hold the cam close to my body looking through the view finder. I was just able to get a firewire card and cable for $50 U.S. after rebates. I use Pinnicle Studio 7, it's not the newest version but it was bundled with the cam for $30. I compressed this video a bit much but check it out. Let me know what you think.
Jan 15, 2003, 09:59 AM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
A comment.
I don't like not hearing the model and surroundings. Music is OK, but not at the expense of hearing the model. I have a gun/zoom mic on my TRV-20 - works great for giving preference to the object I am shooting, rather than the folks around me (I have yet to post video shot with this mic, however).
Jan 15, 2003, 01:59 PM
Mayor of Simpleton
Tommy632's Avatar
Originally posted by Andy W
A comment.
I don't like not hearing the model and surroundings. Music is OK, but not at the expense of hearing the model.
I would agree with that. I think that I've let the music overcome the video a bit. Looking forward to seeing one of your vids with that mic.
Jan 15, 2003, 02:23 PM
rloose's Avatar

Pinnacle Studio 7

Hi Tommy632-

I've heard a lot of bad things about Pinnacle and read a lot of on-line reviews that were negative as well. Your video looks pretty darn good for an $80 investment. Could you describe what kind of PC you are using: processor clock speed, ram, video ram, OS etc. I'm looking to buy some sort of analog to digital/video editing setup. Hoping to keep it under $200 if possible....and can't afford a new MAC. I do have an older Power 7200/90 but it is getting pretty long of tooth and destined to replace my 286 and LCII as door stops or donations to the Smithsonian Institute.

Rich Loose
Jan 15, 2003, 02:53 PM
Mayor of Simpleton
Tommy632's Avatar
Hi Rich, thanks for checking out the video. I have more here. If your interested in seeing them, there are 3 others. Anyhow, I kind of think of myself as a simpleton, I don't care for what I consider complicated programs. I found Studio 7 easy from the first try, it was really self-explainitory. For my needs, this software is fine. Besides the planes, I use it for family videos and that's about it. I tried to use Ulead Video Studio 5.0, which also came with my cam. Had trouble capturing video right from the go. So that program was deep sixed right away. So, that's my take on the software. Two thumbs up.
As for my PC, I'm using a Dell P-4 1.7 ghz with 256 rd ram and a G-Force 3 video card with I think 64mb of memory on it. Win XP Home too. Oh and just for information, not sure if you know this. I can choose a better quality for the video in Studio 7 but I try for the most exceptable quality with the smallest size that I can make the file. You know for download time and bandwidth considerations. Hope this helped.

Jan 15, 2003, 03:52 PM
I'm Ginger & called Adam
Ginger Adam's Avatar
I use BOTH eyes when trying to film things that move around alot, one looking through the viewfinder and the other actually at the subject. With practice, you get very good at tracking objects.

I have two Sony DV-camcorders (I do paid video editing work) and they both have manual focus, most camcorders will have a dreadful time trying to keep locked on a model aeroplane !

FWIW - I use MediaStudio Pro6 on a PC, but it's not exactly a beginners application. I use the excellent TMPGEnc encoder to convert to MPG formats for VCD and DVD creation.

The best sites I've found for NLE and encoding stuff are: - excellent forum - useful for encoding video

Jan 15, 2003, 04:25 PM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
I've used the Studio DV product. I will say they wanted me to pay to upgrade to the next version to support my upgraded OS (XP). That turned me off them as a company big-time. The Studio DV products, however, are simple to use and work effectively. Preview-mode editing makes working with large amounts of source material simple, but final mixing is very tedious. I prefer gobs of disk space and working with the raw DV output (my new PC has 240GB disk space). I use Premiere when I can, but the Studio products are good value.
One I used a long time ago was MGI Videowave. Simple and easy to use, but was riddled with problems. Newer versions may be better, however..
Jan 15, 2003, 05:33 PM
Mayor of Simpleton
Tommy632's Avatar
Originally posted by Andy W
my new PC has 240GB disk space)
Very nice, I would like to add another drive here.
Jan 15, 2003, 06:00 PM
Registered User
Dorme's Avatar
Just a comment here about filming.....don't zoom in and out while running the camera. It will be hard to keep track of the plane and make your audience seasick.

Another point.....plan the flight pattern with the pilot so you can be prepared for certain shots like close ups and long shots for take offs and landings. The pilot may have to take off and land several times for you to get all the shots. Film is cheap...lost shots are expensive.

Finally, keep it short, as within 30 seconds. You can cover everything it will do within that time by editing. It is better to have your audience wanting more than to have them looking for the exit halfway into the film.

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