Tricks with a video camera
Subject: what to film with your video camera
The volume of the response to my last article was underwhelming :-(
I had asked:
Do you rich people with movie collections edit "stock"
Hollywood footage into your home movies? Do you ever
produce "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" or "Zellig" movies
where you play opposite some famous movies star(s)?
Only one respondant, Don Pavlish (ag167@cleveland.Freenet.edu) replied.
He sent me some great ideas for special effects and lots of info about
in-camera editing. Here are some of his hints.
1. SPLIT SCREEN:
Get a small (maybe 9" x 9") mirror (WITHOUT A FRAME/BORDER)
and hold it so it takes up about half of the picture:
Now, hold the mirror at a 45 degree angle to the camera:
| | |
|_______|-| ` <---- mirror
The screen will appear split, the half with out the mirrt(or will
be on the left, and on the right you will see whatever is directly to
the right (from camera's point of view) of the mirror. This can
be used for one of those scenes where someone is speaking on the
phone to someone else, and you see both of them via split screen... etc.
2. SUPERIMPOSE A GHOST on a SCENE:
Use the same setup as the mirror trick, expect:
a) use a block of glass instead of a mirror
b) instead of covering the screen halfway, cover the ENTIRE screen
with the angled mirror.
Aim the camera at say, a long shot of a room (dim lighting works
best). Now the camera is shooting through the angled mirror:
|camera |-| `
| | | ` <--- glass ROOM
Position a face up close to the glass so it reflects in the
glass (light the face with a flashlight). The camera will see the
room normally through the glass, and a reflection of a large face
on the glass... Your face will be superimposed over the room.
This can be used, for example, to have a huge face in a window (
(the window is where the ROOM is in the above diagram, and make sue
sure you do it at night so the window is dark, since the reflection
will show up best against a dark background.)
Ever done a "whip-pan"? This is a trick that, when used properly
in a movie, will signal a change of location.
At the end of a scene in location A, when the last shot is
finished and you are about to hit the record PAUSE/STOP button,
suddenly 'whip' the camera around to one side, fast as possible,
and while the camera is in motion, hit the PAUSE/STOP button. Then,
move to your new location, and start the camera 'whipping' to
begin. A second or two later, stop the camera on your actor.
You will have to fool around and figure out how soon your camera
waits after you hit the button to start taping, but this trick
is pretty good.
It can also be used to show a man throwing a spear, for example, then
the camera whips over to show a guy with a spear in his chest.
The whip itself should be fast enough so everything is blurred during
it. And, keep the direction of the whip steady during the cut.
If you whipped the camera right for the first half of the blur, keep
it going right in the second half with the new scene. A view
viewer will NOT be able to see where you stopped, it will look
like one continous whip.
* * *
Don, by the way, is 15 years old!
If this type of posting is in the wrong newsgroup, please direct me to
the correct group.