for video 101 - how to

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for video 101 - how to
Posted by ARIA on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:09 AM

When I am doing a video of my trains, the letters are mostly  blurred on the videos I create.

Is there a trick to make what is written on the rolling stock very readable.

Is there any recommendation ?

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Posted by ttrigg on Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:06 PM

Food for thought.

1. Focus. Before you begin to film place a 'lettered target' in the tracks, go to maximun zoom and focus. back off the zoom and film.This assumes you are using a tripod, but will improve hand hld as well.

2. Your camera is most likely shooting at 30 frames per second (more like 29.76 fps actually), is your camera capable of filming at 60 or 90 fps? The faster the frame rate the clearer the video will be.

3. have you considered getting a stabalized camera mount?

Tom Trigg

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Posted by ARIA on Friday, February 23, 2018 2:59 PM

Thank you Tom, I am currently implementing your ideas. Will come back.

Yes

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Posted by PasToyFactory on Saturday, February 24, 2018 9:57 AM
Non blurry letters
Thanks for the question ARIA.  And thanks to Tom who is on the right track in his thoughtful response. I thought of three things that might help you pass this eye exam on your trains.
 
WITH AN ADJUSTABLE VIDEO CAMERA
First, to follow up on Tom’s thoughts, let’s assume you are shooting outdoors on a day with plenty of light. Let’s also assume that you have some adjustment capabilities on your video camera, DSLR, or smart phone camera.
Most video is shot at a minimum of 24 frames per second, increasing it to 30 is an easy adjustment. Higher frame rates are possible, but probably not necessary.
An adjustable video camera is just like a still camera, and the smaller the aperture the greater the depth of field. Use a tripod. Focus on a point on the track as the engine approaches the camera at slow speed.
 
AUTOMATIC CAMERAS AND CELL PHONE CAMERA
My GoPro camera is automatic, however. Very few adjustments are possible, and it is constantly refocusing. If an action camera is your choice of camera, shoot on a bright day, shoot in a wide angle format, and run your trains at slow speed at a ¾ view toward or away from the camera.
Your Iphone, or other smart camera can be focused by placing it on a tripod, and touching the viewing screen on the location where you want the sharpest focus.  It’s a nice feature. Try it.
 
ADD A STILL IMAGE TO A VIDEO IN POST PRODUCTION
If you are using video editing software for postproduction, try adding a still image to the video timeline.  Take a well focused picture with a still camera. (Small aperture, lots of light, tripod, medium ISO, medium speed.)  Then insert the still picture into your video when you edit the video and images on your computer.  (See “Video 101”  Sample 1, December 2016. "Video 101, Sample 10, June 2018, will discuss creating the timeline) 
 
Other people are asking your question, and I’m going to try some experiments with focus in a future Video 101 column. So thanks for the suggestion. Stay tuned.  JC
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Posted by ttrigg on Monday, February 26, 2018 12:45 PM

John

Very interesting series you have going, my compliments.

Where were you 10 years ago when I started video of trains?

I have noticed you have several methods of mounting your GoPro cameras for running on a train. It looks like you have a dedicated car to carry your erector set elevated platform, and another car where you have used a sticky mount. When I 'hitch a ride' on someone else's RR I use the plastic base the Hero 4 Session came attached to in the box. An accessories package had a 2 1/2 inch extension that has the end connectors at 90 degrees. It also had several other extensions up to 8 inches in length. No matter how tall or short I set the camera I use 4 dabs of "Elmer's Sticky Blue Clay" to hold things secure. The larger square 'pedestals' that my Hero 3's came with are mostly used to 'ground mount' a camera for low level shots. My first GoPro was on a bridge while filming the Durango & Silverton. I stood there in horror as I watched it fall into the raging river several hundred feet below. I had only had it about 10 days. Since then I have drilled holes in all the 'ground mounts' to attach a safety line. The holes are large enough that I can shove a large nail through the plastic into the dirt when I try to capture the steam blast as the engine nears the station so the camera does not get blown away. For those 'hanging over the side of a moving train' shots I use a Viveo sports cam, they were designed to attach to the side of your helmet. They are out of business now but the camera is thin enough (5/8 inch, shaped like a Sony Handy Cam but much smaller and only control is 'record/off') it does not impact rail side structures.

I'm interested in seeing your future endeavors. Thanks.

Tom Trigg

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Posted by PasToyFactory on Monday, February 26, 2018 4:53 PM
Tom, thank you for your feedback, and ideas. I'll track down your videos, and take a look. Sorry about the loss of your GoPro to the Animas River. At least you were in Durango which is such a great town.
 
CAMERA VEHICLES
I have lots of camera vehicles that I have constructed for different videos.  The sunken center four-truck LGB was one of my first, and I thought the size and weight would help create steady shots.  They did, however, lately I have opted for a two-truck flatcar to which I have added lots of weight. On some layouts I have run into height restrictions. Literally. Bridges can also limit what I can use.
 
You’ll see the GoPro Karma grip used with the GoPro 5 in a couple of movies. I think that is my best combo to date for stability.
 
I just picked up a used battery powered loco at the swap meet. I’ll try to post a picture of it in this forum or on the Garden Railways Facebook page.  The battery makes the camera unit independent of the power source used by the railroad builder.  So we will be trying to coordinate speeds for look-back, or following shots.
 
BLOOPERS
My bloopers reel, however, is probably the most informative. We crashed some expensive equipment at a friend’s house, and crunched the camera into the overhead supports at the Children’s Museum. (See Video 101, Example 5, August, 2017)
 

If you, or others, have ideas for future video columns please post here. Our movies are “models of our models.” I am seeing more and more clever Garden Railway videos on line.  Keep your cameras rolling!  John
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Posted by PasToyFactory on Monday, February 26, 2018 5:07 PM
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Posted by ARIA on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 8:31 AM
Thank you very much Video 101 / John for your responses and the advertising about my question in Garden Railways Magazine and associated video ...... !! In fact after your first response I went through my camera manual and discovered the video I made despite HD (1080) were only 30 fps and I have a 60 fps format setting possibility. Accordingly my videos are now much better. Much bigger as well ! A short story : during my last flight to USA for an holiday trip (Key West to Boston !) I ask my wife what is the most important thing in our luggages. She says : " our credit cards !" . My response was : "Not at all : the camera manual " ( 202 pages).... !! Now I have another question , I reviewed all your articles in this serie , I don't think you already covered the following point. I have an indoor railroad and I am currently looking for improving the lighting of the railroad area , with LED panels to replace the Halogen light ( 500 watts each ) I have to select the power that's not so difficult but more questionable is the light temperature. Do you have light temperatures recommendations ?

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