Camcorder Settings Tips

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hello and thanks for joining me

I'm Mia and I'm here to give you some

basic pointers on how to get the most

out of your consumer camcorder now some

people like to program all of their

camcorder settings to auto but if you

want to take your shooting to the next

level stick with me and we'll go over

some of your camcorders modes and

settings and how to use them plus I'll

throw in a few little tips to help you

capture great video we'll be using a few

different camcorders to illustrate what

I'm talking about here the Canon Vixia

HF m50 the sony pj 580 with the built-in

projector a panasonic HC x 900 k and the

JVC Everio gze X to 10 let's start with

white balance finding the right white

balance setting is critical to getting

true colors so your footage looks more

like what you see with the naked eye

here's a crash course on how white

balance works I could talk to you about

temperature and degrees Kelvin but all

you really need to know is that daylight

has blue undertones and without the

proper white balance your video will

have a blue tint tungsten or indoor

lights have warmer undertone so your

video may have a red or orange look

everything else falls someplace in the

middle for the most part auto white

balance should work fine but if you get

into some trickier lighting situations

you may need to tell the camera which

setting to use this is video shot on

three different white balance settings

with light filtering in through a pair

of blinds see how the indoor setting

added too much blue and the daylight

setting added too much orange the third

video is shot with the white balance set

manually some camcorders have lots of

different modes to choose from like this

Canon M 50 it has daylight shade cloudy

florescent and tungsten modes as well as

auto and manual most likely one of those

will fit your location but if you have a

camcorder like the sony pj 580 there

only has daylight or indoor modes you'll

want to set the white balance manually

to do that choose the manual icon under

the white balance setting it's usually

the last icon option find something

white or carry a white card with you

zoom in to fill your screen with white

then press

but in your manual designates to set the

white balance the color on your screen

will change to reflect a truer white I

personally like to manually set my white

balance before every shoot so I know

it's customized for the situation now

remember in manual mode you must re

white balance every time the lighting

changes so if you move indoors or the

Sun goes behind a cloud remember to re

white balance in the new light if you

set the correct white balance every time

you shoot you should never have a

problem with blue or orange video one of

the biggest challenges you'll face when

shooting is lighting some of the moments

you want to capture in life are not

perfectly lit but with a few setting

adjustments there's a good chance you

can capture great video even when the

lights not cooperating if you're

shooting in low light and your subject

looks dark you might say well why can't

I just turn on the light on the front of

camera if you have one like this Sony

does well you can and in some situations

that might work but most of the time

it's going to give you a splash of

bright light in one area resulting in a

glaring deer and headlights look so if

you want to capture natural video where

the colors are true you'll need to know

how to tweak a few settings the first

thing we'll look at is how to control

the lens opening that lets light into

the camcorder on a camera this is called

aperture on video camcorders it's

typically called iris or exposure for

low-light shooting you may want to check

your scene modes to see if there's one

dedicated to low-light on the Sony and

the JVC I'm using today it's called low


if not go into your manual settings and

choose exposure start increasing your

exposure until you can clearly see your

subject but pay attention to the white

items in your image these can get

overexposed which will make the video

look blown out some cameras like the

panasonic x 900k offer a zebra function

which will highlight the overexposed

areas on your screen with slanted zebra

lines if you turn that feature on and

those lines pop up then you'll know

you've overexposed parts of the image

now depending on how dark your lighting

is you may have to live with some

overexposed areas of your image if you

want to see your subject clearly you may

also notice that as you increase the

exposure parts of the image may get

grainy this is called noise

decreases the quality of the video so

you want to find that happy medium where

the subject is the brightest whites are

not blown out and the image has the

least amount of noise on cameras with

automatic gain control like the Canon

Vixia you can set the gain limit to curb

the amount of noise you will allow into

the video so when you reach your set

limit the image won't get any brighter

another way to get more light into your

footage is to slow down the shutter

speed you might be familiar with this

adjustment from still photography the

slower the shutter speed the more light

is taken into the sensor between frames

and sometimes this can boost your

brightness slightly so check to see if

your camcorder gives you the option to

adjust your shutter speed like this

Panasonic does just know that slowing

down the shutter increases blur if

you're shooting moving subjects so lock

the camera down and don't shoot action

video with a slow shutter speed last but

not least be resourceful when you've

exhausted your camcorder settings and

you still need more light look at your

surroundings maybe you can use a

reflective surface to bounce light into

an area and brighten it up a bit maybe

you'll find a lamp that will give off

just the right amount of light you need

be aware of how you can manipulate the

light sources around you to help

illuminate your subject don't you hate

it when the lighting is perfect your

white balance is spot-on and you capture

a great moment on video let's say your

son runs in a touchdown and when you get

home to play it back the video is so

shaky that it gives you a headache to

even watch it a getting smooth Shake

free video on small handheld cameras is

a toughy but there are a few tricks that

will help first check to see if your

camcorder has an optical image

stabilization option all of these do on

the Canon it's abbreviated is on the

Panasonic and JVC it's oh is and on the

Sony it's called steady shot if you plan

to be moving the camera at all while

you're shooting turn this on it will

stabilize the image projected on your

camcorder sensor before it's turned into

digital information you'll find the

stabilization option in most camcorder

menus however on both the Panasonic X

900k and the JVC Everio it's a

convenient dedicated button right on the

camera body itself there are also a few

shooting techniques you

can use to help reduce shake the easiest

way is to use a tripod or a monopod

every camcorder has a threaded hole on

the bottom where it can attach to a

tripod plate basic video tripods and

monopods are quite affordable and

they're really the only way to ensure

that you'll eliminate most of the shake

from your videos don't have a tripod or

maybe you're in a situation that won't

allow one make one again get resourceful

is there a Ledge a low wall a table or a

flat surface near you where you can set

the camcorder down and still shoot the

video you want if you can't get to a

flat surface see if there's something

solid that you can lean against to

stabilize your body a wall or a car will

work well and this will reduce any

natural body sway lastly if there isn't

a wall or flat surface in sight you can

make a tripod with your body now there

are a couple of ways to do this and you

should try out each one to find out

which feels most comfortable and most

stable for you first put the camcorder

in the middle of both hands out in front

of you then tuck your elbows in to your

sides here just above your hip bones or

if you want you can bring your wrists

all the way back and rest them against

the front of your body either way you

want to turn your entire body with the

camcorder when you turn and what this

will do is it will provide some

stabilization for your hands and reduce

camera shake now you know some basics

about how to correctly white balance

your camcorder work in low-light and

take steady shake free video I'm Mia

McCormick thanks for taking the time to

learn a few new tips with me for more

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