Everyday Adventures, Photo Tips & Tricks

My 30 Day Video Challenge

One of the things I’ve committed to myself to do this year, in addition to all the pictures (phew!), is to shoot more video and, here’s the important part, DO SOMETHING WITH IT.  I’ve actually been collecting little snippets of video for some time but they’ve just been sitting around taking up space on my computer and never seeing the light of day.

I know I take a lot of photos, and surely that should be enough to document our lives, right?  But, technology has made it so easy to capture video these days, it just really seems like I’ll regret it if I don’t. Because a still photo won’t capture the funny little way he runs, or dances, or plays Spiderman.  And with close family living thousands of miles away who can’t see him grow up on a daily basis, I feel like it’s the least I can do to put these little memories together for them.  One day it will be nice to have these little home movies to look back on.

So for the month of February, I challenged myself to shoot some video each day, then compiled the clips in chronological order with just 3 seconds from each day.  Thanks go to Xanthe Berkeley for teaching me how to do this.

I’m certainly no Steven Spielberg.  Heck, I’m not even the intern that fetches his coffee.  But here you go, some random happenings from the past month.

Random Happenings from Katherine Lightner on Vimeo.

A Few Lessons Learned

1.  Read My Camera Manual.  I shot all this video with the Nikon D800 that came for Christmas.  When I got the camera, I did go to through the manual.  However, I was pretty focused on shooting stills so completely glossed over the section on shooting video.  So this whole process was trial and error, figuring things out as I went along.  I’m certain my learning curve for the next video will be much less steep if I go back and read up on how to use the camera.

2.  Pick the Music Early.  Purely by chance, I chose the music I wanted to use pretty early in the process and I found this helped immensely.  It helped me understand what type of footage would work better in terms of pace and movement.  And, having a song continuously playing in my head helped me visualize the video.

3.  Manual Focus is Your Friend.  Shooting stills, I rely almost exclusively on auto-focus.  But I found early on that this didn’t work reliably for me when shooting video.  (Refer to lesson 1, go back and read the manual.) So I switched to using manual focus and found that this improved the quality quite a bit.  It also allowed me to create some of the shots that fade in and out of focus.

4.  Pay Attention to Lighting.  This should be a no brainer as I always do this when shooting stills.  But I found with trying to shoot video everyday, many days inside, I was shooting in a combination of natural and incandescent and not making adjustments to my white balance to account for this, probably because I didn’t know how to.  So again, refer to lesson one, and maybe just try shooting everything in natural light.

5.  Just Shoot.  In my head, I’d put up this huge roadblock that putting something like this together was WAY to difficult and time-consuming.  And I won’t lie, it is more time-consuming that editing stills.  But, it was nowhere near as difficult as I’d imagined it and in the end, I think it was really worth the effort.

Finally, note to self, I know you work from home and don’t see the same people every day, but you do have more than one pair of trousers in your closet.  Why not try wearing a few different ones every now and then?

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9 Comments

  • Reply Mom March 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Wonderful as usual! Your determination to get it right is inspiring! I should follow your #1 instruction.

  • Reply Laura Williams March 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Oooo I neeeed to do this!! Wish I had a super douper video camera like yours. Do you think I could do something similar with my iPhone camera?! If I I need you to come over and do a tutorial on how to do it. Or is it quite easy to learn? x

    • Reply Katherine Lightner March 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Yes, you can definitely do something similar with video off the iPhone. Let’s catch up!

  • Reply Radish March 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Katherine, glad to see your video over at Mortal Muses. Nice post. I am from the Xanthe group. Good work.

    • Reply Katherine Lightner March 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks! I really had such a good time making this in the end. totally motivated to do another project now!

  • Reply Amanda the Panda March 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Love this, you’re such a talent. X

    • Reply Katherine Lightner March 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks love!

  • Reply michelle gd March 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    katherine, this is fantastic!!!!!

    • Reply Katherine Lightner March 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks Michelle! This was such a fun thing to do. I’m working on another project with some archive footage I’ve got and then will try to do another new one this spring. I just love how it adds another dimension to all of our memories.

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