New forums to help you make the best of your HD camcorder or video DSLR
Video cameras are complex technology, which sometimes make us ask ourselves so many questions:
- What is the best camcorder for our needs?
- How to adjust optimal settings for best video quality?
- How to capture video from the camcorder and transfer it to a computer for editing? Which video editing software is easiest or most powerful?
- How to burn DVDs or blu-ray discs?
To help you find answers to these questions and more, Friends of HD Video introduces a new online community, ready to welcome you.
Read on to discover what makes us so special… or Sign Up Now!
Discussion forums to help you shoot better video
What makes Friends of HD Video forums a valuable resource for you?
- We are well renowned and recognized. Our team, and many of our members, have also operated the Sony HDV Info.com forum, which was at that time the first community to discuss High Definition videomaking when Sony launched the HDV format.
- We are friendly. For us there are no silly questions, because there is so much to learn! Whether you are an experienced videographer, a seasoned hobbyist, or a newbie, come and ask us. Share your experience. We only request that you please read your camcorder or DSLR manual before asking questions!
- We are knowledgeable and experts. The cumulated expertise of our members is already well beyond dozens of years of experience in High Definition video!
- Although this board is English-speaking only, we listen to video enthusiasts from all over the world. Whichever country you live in, our online community welcomes you!
So please join us in the new Friends of HD Video forums!
Message boards for all HD camcorders
We support discussions on all High Definition video cameras and video DSLRs. This includes:
- Sony AVCHD, XDCAM EX, HDV camcorders,
- Canon AVCHD and HDV models,
- Panasonic, JVC,
- Video DSLRs.
Here are for instance some of the HD camcorder tips and tricks that you may want to discuss with our forum members…
About camcorder manuals
The operating guide that comes with your video camera is very useful. It will tell you how to use your camcorder, how to set focus, how to set shutter speed, how to set exposure… but your camcorder guide will not tell you why or when. And yet, this is crucial!
Why or when do you want to adjust specific settings to improve your footage and get good quality video? Why is it different depending on various situations, such as outdoors vs. indoors, daylight vs. sunset vs. night?
Come to the forums to discuss all this!
How to adjust exposure
To choose exposure settings, you need to :
- Adjust iris aperture: reducing aperture (closed iris) increases depth of field (DOF), whereas an open iris gives you shallow DOF (which is sometimes very much appreciated for artistic reasons). However shallow DOF also makes it more difficult for you to adjust focus, so you also need to take into account focus issues.
- Adjust shutter speed: ordinarily you will set shutter speed to a fixed value – 1/60 if you shoot 60i, 1/50 for 50i, 1/30 for 30p, 1/25 for 25p… Sometimes however you may want to increase shutter speed if you are shooting fast action, or under bright daylight. This is also why ND filters (Neutral Density filters) are often necessary: to give you more options with shutter settings.
- Adjust gain: in low light situations, you need to control gain. When shooting in the dark, the camcorder’s auto exposure will often set auto gain too high, which results in image grain and noise in your video. Here is a low-light tip: to shoot at night, switch to manual gain to reduce grain and avoid washed-out video.
Some camcorders provide very useful tools to help you ensure best exposure settings: zebras, and the brightness histogram.
Want to exchange more shooting tips and tricks? Sign Up Now to the forums!
How to set white balance
White Balance settings (WB) are key to achieve best colors in your video:
- You can leave it to Auto White Balance (AWB) if you don’t have time to change color settings. But results are often sub-optimal.
- You can use the White Balance Presets that come with your camcorder: the OUTDOOR preset is usually very useful for shooting outdoors. In addition, White Balance Shift lets you adjust White Balance to your preference.
- You will set Manual White Balance for specific lighting situations.
Situations with mixed light sources will create additional difficulties for you. For example, with INDOOR White Balance, sunlight looks blue. So you need to be careful in mixing different light temperatures, or else make sure that you will be able to fix it in post-production by performing color correction with your video editing software.
How to edit HD video and burn blu-ray discs / DVDs
In the early days of HD video, there were few software available to capture and transfer video from the video camera to your computer. HDVSplit was perhaps the most famous utility to capture HDV.
Now there are many HD video editing software for you to choose from:
- Free software: Apple iMovie, Windows Movie Maker,
- Entry-level / easy-to-use software: Ulead VideoStudio, Pinnacle Studio, CyberLink PowerDirector / PowerProducer, Adobe Premiere Elements,
- Mid-range software: Sony Vegas, Apple Final Cut Express, EDIUS and EDIUS Neo,
- High-end software: Adobe Premiere with Cineform, Apple Final Cut Pro / Final Cut Studio, Avid Media Composer.
There are also specific DVD authoring software, or blu-ray authoring software:
- Ulead MovieFactory,
- Adobe Encore,
- Roxio Toast…
Which video editor is best for you? What are the available options for blu-ray video encoding?
An external microphone can help you improve audio quality. Shotgun microphones are best for interviews, whereas stereo microphones can better represent ambient sound. But stereo microphones are often avoided since they also capture more unwanted surround noise…