The use of a tripod often makes
a dramatic impact in the quality of the final movie. This is because keeping
the camera steady reduces subtle differences between frames and therefore
improves the temporal compression of the video. You should use a tripod
for your camera. If you plan to move the camera during filming, you should
move it very slowly and as smooth as you can. A jerking camera motion
is hard to compress.
Avoid hand-held shooting if
possible. If your camera has an image-stabilization option you should
turn this function on. Generally using this feature will reduce subtle
changes between frames from camera motion.
for display on the internet
Keeping the detail within the
scene to a minimum will help the video compress better spatially. It will
also make the video easier to see when the movie is reduced in size for
web delivery. Painted or plain backdrops are a good idea.
If there is much detail or
movement behind the subject, you can throw the background significantly
out of focus to simplify the image. Trees are often used as backdrops
for filming. The excessive detail of the leaves poses a challenge for
compression and should be avoided if possible. If you must film against
a tree, using a shallow depth of field to defocus the leaves will often
improve the final movie. Beware of trees moving in a breeze - the high
detail and subtle changes between frames make compression difficult.
Ask your subjects to wear clothes
that don't have high contrast patterns or lots of details. Plain colors
are best - bold stripes or checked patterns can do very odd things when
resized and compressed.
Be sure to have some light available
so we can also see the performer and not just the fire moving in circles.
Turn "Auto focus" off
If filming fire at night you
will find it better using "manual focus". This is because "auto focus"
will have difficulty working out what to focus on and will make fuzzy
what you want to be clear.
Types of film
When selecting the ISO (ASA)
speed of the film consider the following. For still action photo's at
faster shutter speeds use a high ISO 400+. This will create a picture
which captures a moment in time with a short flame trail. Use ISO 1000
for very faster exposure times in low light. This will give a clear steady
picture of any flames. For longer exposure times use a nomal ISO value
100 - 200 film even lower if you wish.
Hold your camera steady
Hold the camera steady. This
will help to give sharper images. Use a tripod if you have one. Otherwise
hold the camera against something that is steady, a garden table, a fence
Sometimes autofocus does not
work with fire at night. It fails to focus on what you are trying to take
a picture of. If you have the ability to set the focus length manually
then I would suggest doing this.
The longer the exposure time
the longer the flame trail. Time how long it takes the poi/staff swinger
to do 10 rotations (eg 10 seconds). Divide this amount by ten.This will
give the exposure time for one full revolution of the POI (eg 1 second).
If you want a short flame trail, about half a rotation, then set the exposure
time to half that value (0.5 second).
Flash at end of long exposure
Some more expensive cameras have the ability to do a long exposure and
then flash at the end before closing the shutter. Check your camera manual
to learn about this function. What does this achieve? Looking to the right
at Jeremy's photo you will see that the long exposure time shows one full
rotation of the flame and the flash catches Jeremy's body at the end producing
a clear image of him standing on some sand.
Make sure you have the flash
the optimal distance away from your performer. Some flashes do not work
well over longer distances. Again see your manual.
There are also multi flash
functions within a single exposure. Lots of fun effects can be achieved
with these functions.