Monday, July 9, 2007

Video: Polar Bear Popsicle

Polar Bear Popsicle

This is a quick and painless video of Alaska, a polar bear at Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, taken with my newly-issued Sony DCR-SR300 camcorder, for a hot weather clip. The cameras will stay in our hand until another upgrade. This camera has those "jaggies," which is interlaced video. With the Macintosh, MPEGStreamclip wipes the jaggies out and makes it more manageable. I like to keep the camera set on manual mode with the light settings, and you can see that I haven't quite gotten the hang of it; some of the scenes are properly exposed while others are dark. It was my first workout with the camera.

I'm going to turn on the zebra bars (if it has that). "Zebra bars" are white and black diagonal stripes that show where the highlights are blown out in the shot. With the Panasonic HVX200, I can quickly gauge the proper exposure, but with any new gear, there's a period of time when the user has to learn the camera's method of recording, in order to get the proper exposure. Some might wonder why I don't use the auto setting; that's because I like having control over the exposure.

With bright subjects, the camera can open and close its aperture, causing the video to alternate between light and dark. I want the camera to remain constant. It's a decent camera in shady conditions, but in bright sunlight, it seems as though the Sony over-exposes. I like knocking the exposure down, just enough so that the footage looks pleasing and vibrant. While the SR300 has settings to adjust for color and saturation, I'd rather keep those normal.

As for the production, the video's need to be converted by MPEGStreamclip added some time. But from the conversion of all the files, to editing and packaging, it took about an hour.

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