A Long, Long Way to Go

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Gary Eickmeier, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. I was just at a local church play rehearsal because my daughter is in the
    play. I have helped them in past years with the video of the play, for
    historical purposes. They finally got their own digital video camcorder, a
    small Canon of some sort. Looked like a reasonable amateur camera. But they
    had a long way to go in learning how to use it. Omigod.

    They had it on a flimsy little amateur tripod, sitting on a plastic table
    top with the spiked ends rather than the rubber tips, and it slid and
    bounced all over the place. No fluid head or attempt at smooth video action.

    Camera set on Auto, sound fed in from the sound board of the microphone
    system. That's fine, I suppose, if everyone gets picked up, but not all of
    them were miked. I would rather put a small recorder on the sound board feed
    and use it as an extra track, and then also put an extra sound recorder at
    the lip of the stage to pick up everything acoustically.

    They would not have known about manual exposure so that the actors didn't
    look like burned out crispy critters against a black background, and so that
    they wouldn't have a white-out every time the lights went dark and then back
    up again. They also would not know about manual focus, so that everything
    doesn't go out of focus and then come back in again slowly at every

    They were stopping the camera every blackout, trying to edit in-camera so
    that they didn't have to edit in post - I am guessing. Maybe they would edit
    in post on some kind of computer. I don't want to think about what kind of
    edit program.

    Finally, the regular guy was teaching a non video guy how to operate the
    camera, and was planning on letting him do it for all three shows. He wanted
    to know do we stay on the whole stage or do close-ups of the actors.

    I can't even begin to teach them any more than all this - wouldn't have
    time, wouldn't be able to make it stick. Just absolutely incredible the
    proliferation of all these digital toys into the hands of regular people who
    wouldn't have a clue what to do with them. People making videos on their
    phones held vertically, then posting them on Facebook sideways. If you are a
    professional photographer, trying to shoot an event with all of these people
    getting in your way with their Nikons, Canons, and cell phones firing away.

    I just shot my daughter's first prom, with three moms with their Superzoom
    cameras shouting orders for poses and grabbing the kids' attention and
    direction to look. Most were not using fill flash and were shooting against
    the backlight. We have all seen them shooting football games and huge arena
    events with their flash firing away from impossible distances. I tried to
    tell one of them to fish through the menu settings to find how to turn the
    flash off, to no avail.

    All you can do is let it ride.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 21, 2014
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  2. Gary Eickmeier

    Grinder Guest

    I'm just asking for a rough estimate here:

    What percentage of this history was composed with one hand?
    Grinder, Apr 21, 2014
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  3. Gary Eickmeier

    Brian Guest

    When it comes to electronic devices most non technical people just want to
    know where the off/on switch is located. Also some people don't want to
    learn about a technical device. My mother was like that as I had trouble
    teaching her use the menu on a DVD player. We tend to forget that many
    people don't understand the technical terms that is commonly known by a
    technical person.

    One thing I have noticed is that there is an effort to make products easier
    to use and if someone wants to change something in the menu thats a major
    change then a warning will alert the person that making the change could
    case problems. We have a habit of blaming the equipment and no the user
    when something goes wrong and manuals are those booklets that get tossed
    aside and never read. I feel that manuals should be read from cover to
    cover as thats the only way you'll get full value for your money.

    I also have seen things such as someone in a museum standing in front of
    glass and using their flash. I had a woman ask me if she should use the
    flash on her camera when she wanted to take a photo of some boats in the
    distance on a fine sunny day. All you can do is to offer some helpful
    advice in hope that they want to,learn something.

    I feel that developers have done very well in creating a camera that in
    most cases will take a good photo when all the unexperienced non technical
    person has to do is press the shutter button.
    Brian, Apr 21, 2014
  4. I wanted to teach a class to the amateurs who buy all of these digital
    products from Best Buy, then go home and haven't a clue where to begin. It
    could be quite useful and illuminating for both them and me. How to get the
    best from your new camera or camcorder. What you can do with the device.
    What kind of products you can make with your pictures or video. How to
    archive all of your pictures into digital files.

    Never got that idea off the ground, but some day....

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 21, 2014
  5. Gary Eickmeier

    Brian Guest

    YouTube seems to be the main source when people want to learn something
    with all the many "how to do this" type videos. You could create your own
    YouTube video but seeing who your teaching is more enjoyable. The only
    enjoyment from making a educational YouTube video is the feedback you get.
    Brian, Apr 22, 2014
  6. Good idea! I will think long and hard on that!

    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 22, 2014
  7. As the Theosophist saying goes "when the student is ready the teacher
    will appear"

    I suspect most of the same people who want to buy an "automatic
    everything" camera are the same ones who never bother to read the
    manual, and are unwilling to invest time or money for a class. Those who
    actually *want* to learn will find no shortage of instruction already
    available, so I wonder whether it is really worth the time to put
    together something like that?
    Gary Templeman, Apr 28, 2014
  8. We get a lot of these people in to our office wanting to convert to DVD or
    put some audio onto a disc. Some of them have their video on their camera
    and don't know how to take it off and make a DVD out of it.

    The thought is that these folks all want to take pictures and share them, so
    they just buy something that the salesman suggests, then they go home and
    fill up the memory with family stuff, then buy another camera when they run
    out of space. In the film days, it was simple. You took the film to the drug
    store and they made pictures out of it. Then the people saved the pictures,
    threw the negatives away, and pressed on.

    I think I would teach composition first. All amateurs will nail the
    subject's head or heads into the center of the frame, with half of the image
    above their heads.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 29, 2014
  9. Gary Eickmeier

    Brian Guest

    The only problem with what you say is that if everyone felt that it was a
    waste to create a instruction video then there would be nothing to learn
    from. In the past you needed to buy an expensive book to learn how to
    understand a device, computer program etc but I now find that there are
    some great videos on YouTube and I am grateful for the people that took the
    time to create instructional videos. There is still a gap as not all videos
    are found for what you want to learn about and some videos are difficult to
    understand or are not visually clear to watch.
    So if anyone wants to create an instruction video then they will be helping
    Brian, Apr 29, 2014
  10. My guys finally asked me for some help, which I gladly gave them. I told
    them about manual focus and exposure, and that they need to learn the camera
    so that they can do that easily. I don't know if they did that, but they
    gave me one memory chip of the Saturday night show to make into a disc. The
    sound was OK except for a strong 60 Hz hum, which I notched out, and the
    whole track was clipping badly from too high a recording volume. I processed
    it for clipping and it sounded much better. Now I am struggling with my
    ancient computer to get a good render out to disc.

    Has anyone done some video on a Win 8.1 system yet?

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Apr 30, 2014
  11. Gary Eickmeier

    Brian Guest

    Most of the programs you have used in the past should work on Windows 8
    What is the problem in using Windows 8.1?
    Brian, Apr 30, 2014
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