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Photography

Shooting Great Video with the E-P1

EP1.jpgIn the few months I’ve been working with the E-P1, I’ve fallen in love with the camera. So much so, that for an upcoming trip to Europe, I’m planning on using the E-P1 as my primary camera and only bringing a larger SLR as a backup.

If you haven’t checked out one of these versatile, compact still/video tools yet, do so. For those of you who already have one in-hand, I’ve  compiled a few tips to help you get the most from your E-P1 and make the workflow as smooth as possible.

Buy larger memory cards:
Many photographers are surprised at how quickly their memory cards fill up when they begin shooting video. The AVI video files created by the E-P1 consume roughly 240MB per minute of video. I’ve had very good results from the Lexar Professional SDHC memory cards. For best performance, make sure your cards are Class-6 rated.

Get Steady:

We’re so accustomed to seeing smooth pans, zooms and sweeping camera angles in Hollywood movies, it is easy to forget that those shots are created using sophisticated steadycams and cranes that cost far more than the E-P1. When you pan with the E-P1, make sure you pan slowly and take care to steady your camera (or mount it on a tripod). I’ve had good success by balling my left hand into a loose fist to create a flat platform and resting the body of the E-P1 on top. Bringing your elbows in toward your body helps stabilize the camera while still allowing you to look through the viewfinder.

Compose tightly:
As photographers, you’re trained to compose tightly in the camera. This is even more important when shooting video since your video is often exactly the same size as your intended output, leaving no room to crop out distracting elements. One technique is to compose your video like a still photo and have your subject move in and out of the composition you’ve created. Not only will this help steady the camera, it will help you become accustomed to thinking in terms of composition for motion, time and transitions, in addition to stills.

Leave Tails
When shooting a video clip, leave yourself a brief tail at the beginning and end of the clip to make editing easier. For example, if you’re shooting a person walking across the frame from right to left, start shooting before they enter the frame and don’t end the clip until after they’ve left the frame. This will be much easier to edit together with other clips than a hard end on the start and finish.

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