Shooting Video

A few years ago I combined a short hike through my local mountains with an amateur video project. If you’re thinking of having a go you might find this post of interest. If you’ve any helpful tips, I’ll probably need them!

Besides the usual camera and trekking gear I carried a Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and a mini-tripod. This small camera (first sold as far back as 2008) records full HD quality video and has an impressive 20x optical zoom lens.

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS, long in the tooth with a small noisy sensor, but as far as video goes it delivered very good results. It features a powerful optically stablised lens, (maximum 560mm equivalent).

I already knew that shooting video in the mountains was more demanding than the typical photographic challenges and techniques I’m so used to—but it was worth it. It takes plenty of patience, especially when you’re being eaten alive by midges.

Key to a less amateurish result is using a tripod as often as possible. It’s a hassle but you’ll get a better viewing experience when your clips are all stitched together. We can also get strikingly smooth video if the camera is fitted to a gimbal. Gimbals are often used with smartphones and so-called action cameras, but they aren’t cheap.

An action camera attached to a gimbal.

An action camera attached to a motorised stabilising gimbal.

I came back with dozens of clips—most of them useless—and whittled them down to several key segments. I dragged and dropped them into the software and used a variety of tools to edit and enhance each .mov file in turn. Sometimes I applied a single process across the entire timeline, such as colour saturation.

I used Serif’s MoviePlus video editing software (above). The latest version is X6. In fact, it’s the the last version because its parent company has no plans to update it. It’s not top of the range in any sense but does the job very well and the learning curve isn’t too daunting.

I hope you enjoy it.

And while on the subject of shooting video, here’s another. I shot this for a relative in Scotland for whom County Down will always be home.

Finally, here’s my first shaky attempt at using an action camera while tramping through the mountains. Yes, the more “action” there is the more I realise I definitely need a gimbal.

If my efforts are just too amateurish for you, (which is very likely, fair enough), do a search for the remarkable 50-minute 60fps video, TimeScapes: The Movie, Shot on Red Epic and Canon DLSR cameras at 4096 x 2304 pixels (4K), this was the debut film from cinematographer Tom Lowe. If possible watch it on a quality monitor or a smart TV.

It features a variety of challenging time-lapse techniques that capture striking events we could never see in real time.

For more information see HERE.

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