Archive for April 2014

Tips for Shooting Better Video

You’ve gotten yourself a brand new high-end camera and you’re ready to get out there and start shooting! So this means that you’re going to create a masterpiece on your first go, right? I mean, it’s a top of the line piece of equipment – of course it’s going to come out amazingly!

Unfortunately, no. Many people go into video with this mindset and are disappointed to learn that great equipment does not a great videographer make. Creating a visual masterpiece takes years of patience, hard work, and practice.

You don’t have years to learn all of the tricks of the trade? Well, that’s okay! We’ve compiled some tips for shooting better video that we hope will help you out!

Always make sure to keep back up memory on hand! – Whether it’s memory cards, CDs, tapes, or whichever, make sure to keep a spare or two on you just in case you need it. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of an important moment and realizing that your camera just ran out of space to record it. If you wait until you’re out of space, you might also run into problems with buying more. These days, most stores carry SD cards and things of the sort, but if you buy them at somewhere like a hotel, gift shop, gas station, or somewhere else on the go, odds are that you’ll be paying more than you would buying them somewhere else.

Make sure your battery is fully charged beforehand, and if possible, keep a spare on hand! – The only thing worse than running out space to record is having the space but having your battery die on you! If you know you’re going to be filming something, make sure you charge up your battery in advance so that it’s ready to go. If possible, it’s also a good idea to keep a spare on you so that you can easily switch out the dead battery for a fresh one in case it dies at an inconvenient time.

Don’t overuse special effects that come with your camera! – You might think it’s really neat to play with your camera’s special effects, and it is, but when you’re recording an important moment, it’s best to just record it in it’s natural state and go back to add effects later if you wish to. If you shoot something with an added effect, generally there’s no way to remove it later on. If you shoot something in black and white and then later decide you want it in color, there’s no way to bring the color back. On the other hand, if you shoot it in its natural state and then later decide you want to make it black and white or add an effect, you can always add them in, undo the changes, whatever you want. Shooting naturally allows for total control of effects and removal of effects later on.

If editing isn’t in the cards, only record the crucial moments! – If you don’t plan on taking the footage into an editing program later to edit out all the extra moments you recorded to get to the good bits, don’t bother recording the extra, unimportant moments. Without editing, anyone watching will either have to sit through the extra bits or fastforward through them, and either of those can be annoying. If you do plan on editing, record to your heart’s content!

Avoid techniques that might make your video look amateur! – Much like Comic Sans is frowned upon in the graphic design community, there are certain techniques that are looked down upon in videography. Avoid excessive zooming in and out, and when you do use zoom, take it slow and easy! Frame your shots well and don’t use wide shots too often. Avoid heavy backlighting, as it can cause the focus of your shot to look dark and you can lose a lot of detail in your shot. Also, try to shoot from different angles and perspectives to switch things up and keep it interesting.

Always back up your files! – Speaking from experience, it’s horrible recording important memories and then losing them for some reason or another, whether it’s due to a corrupt hard drive, a broken CD, misplaced files, or accidentally recording over them. Always keep back ups of your files so that in case anything does happen to the original, you can rest assured knowing that you haven’t lost your precious memories or hard creative work. We walk you through backing up your files here on our blog, but AM Tech Video can also do it for you in store. Just give us a call or bring your files in and we’d be more than happy to help you out!

How To Keep Your VHS Tapes Lasting Longer

In this day and age, everything seems to be about Blu-Ray and DVDs and even little memory cards that you can store your videos on. But if you, like us, grew up in a time before all of these things were around, odds are that you have a decent collection of home videos on VHS tapes. You’ll also know just how fragile these tapes can be and how easily you can damage them or accidentally record over them (that is, assuming that you still even own a VCR).

Our number one suggestion to you is to get your precious memories converted to DVD before anything can happen to those tapes, and we here at AM Tech Video can do just that for you! In addition to converting your movies to DVD, we’ve compiled a list of a few simple things that you can do in order to keep your original VHS video tapes lasting longer.

First, you want to be very careful when handling the tape. Tapes may be more durable than DVDs on the outside, but there are plenty of inner workings that can get broken if you’re not careful. You never want to touch the tape inside of the door of the cassette either, as it can get smudged, crumpled, torn, etc., which could badly damage your video. When you’re done watching a VHS tape, you should rewind it before storing it to keep the tape inside tight, which prevents the video from sagging.

When you do store it, always keep it stored inside of its designated case to keep it from getting dusty, as dust can mess with your VCR when you go to play it and can also scratch the tape inside the cassette. Store VHS tapes in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight. The tape inside can shrink if it’s stored somewhere that’s too hot, which will definitely cause damage to your video. It’s also helpful to store them vertically so that the tape inside sits flat, which also prevents sagging. Lastly, something most people might not know, make sure to keep your VHS tapes away from magnets and speakers! The magnetic properties can damage or even erase VHS videos!

Be sure to follow these tips to keep your VHS home videos lasting longer. If you haven’t had them converted to DVD yet, give us a call or drop in to see us here at AM Tech Video to see what we can do for you!

Foreign Conversions

Have friends around the world? Have they tried to send you a DVD or old tape and you can’t watch it? It’s most likely in their country’s video format. We here at AM Tech Video can convert them to the US standard NTSC which will allow you to view them in your home. Different countries in the world film and view video in other formats. This can be frustrating. You might think something is wrong with the video, but don’t worry, it’s just the format. Bring in your foreign videos and we can convert them for you. We can also convert them into non-US formats if you are interested in sending a friend in another country a video!

The Difference Between DVD-R and DVD+R

Many people have questions about the differences between DVD formats and the compatibility of the discs in different players and recorders. Hopefully this can answer some of those inquiries.

The two are competing technologies that use different formats. No single company owns “DVD” and both technologies have their differences and advantages. DVD+R allows multiple layers for per disc while DVD-R only allows one layer. Multi layer DVD+R allows for more capacity than DVD-R, therefore it is more expensive. Also, DVD+R DL/+RW format offers more space for anyone who wants to record their own movies and audio and play in their own computer but not in a DVD or BD-r player.

DVD-R and -RW are officially approved by the standards group DVD Forum, which was founded by Mitsubishi, Sony, Hitachi, and Time Warner. DVD+R and +RW formats are not approved by the DVD Forum standards group, but instead the DVD+RW Alliance. The DVD+RW Alliance is supported by Sony, Yamaha, Philips, Dell, and JP. According to the DVD Alliance, using a DVD+R/+RW recorder will let you instantly eject without having to wait for finalized formatting. Also, it allows the ability to record one DVD partially on different recorders, such as a PC and then on a TV. It will let you simultaneously record on parts of a DVD that have been previously formatted, and allows for enhanced ability to edit file names on the disc. Lastly, it claims 100% compatibility with all other DVD players. We at http://www.cameratodvd.com/ are not finding that to be true. Older DVD players may have a problem playing them. We also find there are some players that like only the DVD+R.

When you transfer video or make video for others to view, here is the bottom line. You can use either DVD+R or DVD-R and make sure it has been finalized.

Do-It-Yourself Camera or SD Video Card to DVD

Many still cameras now offer a video mode. Getting your videos to a DVD can, however, be a bit of a challenge. I would first check with your camera’s manufacturer to see about any free software that would offer a solution. Barring that option, here is how to transfer video files to DVD. Your camera may have a USB port and a cable to directly transfer the video files to your computer. If not, your computer may have a card reader built in that you can use to transfer the files from a memory card.

If your computer does not have one, you will need to purchase one. The card reader must match the type of card that you have. All card readers are not the same! If you have an SDHC card from your camera and your card reader only reads SD cards, you will need to upgrade to a card reader that reads SDHC cards.

Transfer your video files to a folder on whichever drive of your computer that you would like to save them on. I find this a more reliable way to work with the files opposed to working off of the card or digital camera. Your computer will also have to be fast enough and have enough memory to play your video. How fast does your computer have to be to play video? As a rule, about 2.2 GHz, and it should have about 2 GB of RAM. This can vary as to how choked up your computer is. The more speed and memory, the better! A second Hard Drive would be beneficial to store and play your videos. This may solve some of the top and go type of video playback.

Once you have the files in your computer, open up your favorite DVD Authoring Program, import your video files from the folder you copied them to and follow program instructions. If your DVD Authoring Program doesn’t recognize the video files, you will need to get a video file converter program or find a different DVD Authoring Program that does read that type of file. Look for a high rated program that lists your file type, whether it’s .mp4, .mov, .avi, or whichever. Have fun! 🙂

Keep in mind, the easiest solution would be to bring your SD memory card or camera in to us here at AM Tech Video and let us do the DVD transfer for you! Mention that you saw it here and get a $5.00 discount! Check out http://www.cameratransfer.com/ for more information.

Trouble Transferring Video from Camera to DVD?

All kinds of digital cameras provide the ability to take short video clips now! You’re no longer limited to just taking still images anymore. While that’s a great feature, it’s not always easy to transfer your videos to DVD from your camera.

There are plenty of kiosks at drug stores and such that will allow you to transfer your photo files to physical prints, but they will not transfer your videos to DVD. This is because there just isn’t a way to do every type of file from every type of camera. If you try to do it yourself, you may also find it to be time consuming and quite a technological challenge.

If you’re looking to have a DVD made with your camera that will play in your DVD player, come to ATV Productions! We can copy your videos from your memory card into our computer and call you when your DVD movies are ready for pick up! In most cases, you don’t even have to leave your camera behind! You’ll have a playable DVD with your videos for your family to enjoy. We can even make you a low cost back-up copy for safe keeping.

Give us a call or visit http://www.atvproductions.com/ for more information on these services!

Preserving Your 8mm Film

If you’re wondering how to keep your old 8mm film safe and protected, the best thing we can recommend is to get them transferred to DVD. You can preserve the life of the film as long as possible by storing it in a cool, low moisture area away from sunlight. Even with the best possible care, the film will deteriorate over time, and the only sure way to keep your precious memories truly safe is to get them over to a more permanent format, such as DVD.

We do film transfers here at ATV Productions in-house to ensure the safety of your priceless videos. Give us a call today or visit us at http://www.atvproductions.com/ for more info!

How to Label Your DVDs and CDs

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see many stickers used to label discs anymore? Well, it’s because using that kind of label can throw off the balance of the DVD or CD when it’s in a player. This can cause your disc to either not play right or not play at all.

The best way to label a disc is either with a permanent marker or with a DVD/CD printer. If you have a printer, just keep in mind that you have to get printable discs. Otherwise, what you printed will smear right off.

If you have DVDs or CDs that you need duplicated, bring them in to AM Tech Video, Inc. Our local video production company has competitive prices and can take care of all the copying, printing and packaging you need!

Reach Out to Customers with Video on Your Website!

There are plenty of statistics, articles, blogs, etc. that will tell you the same thing:  Online video attracts more customers to your business website! On top of that, Google looks for video content on sites and actually ranks pages higher for it. If that doesn’t attract more customers, then I don’t know what will.

If you own a small business and you’re considering video for your site, please contact AM Tech Video, Inc. for your production needs. We can make it a lot easier and more affordable than you think. We provide cost efficient, quality video production for your local business right here in Cleveland, Ohio! What’s even better is that if you have an online listing with a yellow pages site, they’ll post whatever videos you have regardless of who made them. These services usually offer video production services, which can be rather pricey and they outsource to a local studio to do it anyway.

We have the facilities, equipment and talent here to make your video exactly what you want. Thinking about using a green screen? ATV has that too, as well as a huge studio, props, lighting, teleprompters and everything else you could need. Need help writing a script? We’d be more than happy to help! We’re local, trustworthy and have been in business since 1985. Check out our website at http://www.onwebtalent.com/ or http://www.atvproductions.com/ for my information.

Check out this article about adding video to your small business website!

The Easiest Way to Get Video Off Your Camera

Do you have a video camera with a hard drive? The easiest way to get video off your camcorder is to use the video out cables. You plug them into your video camera and a video recorder.

If you’re still unsure, bring your camera and cords into AM Tech Video, Inc. We have all the equipment here to do the job quickly and efficiently. We also have a do-it-yourself video editing station that we can show you how to use once your footage is off the camera.

Visit our website at http://www.atvproductions.com/ for all your video production needs and questions!