The Technical Things

What does that do? – The Zoom Control

We’re trying to come up with some great blogging material.  I’m kind of a technical guy, so I like technical things.  That’s what I’m going the blog about.  The technical things.  There’s all this equipment I’m surrounded by everyday at the studio, and I know what most of the buttons do.  I’m going to share some technical tid-bits.  So here’s one: The Telephoto/Wide switch.

You’ll find it on most cameras.  It comes in many shapes and sizes.  But it basically does the same thing. It is what makes you Zoom In and Zoom out.  It’s a very important switch in today’s video camera.  Used to be that in order to make something bigger on screen, you had to pick up the camera and move it closer to the subject…Or have the subject get closer to your camera.  Now with the magic of this control, you can shoot traffic, wildlife, planes, trains, football players, and even actors, without being too dangerously close to them. That’s how you get that super close shot.  Or that super wide shot.  On nicer cameras this button is even more than a switch.  It’s variable speed!  You can do slow zooms, and fast zooms.  Or you can choose to not do any zooms at all.  That that magic rocker switch is how it’s done, most of the time.  Unless you use manual control of the lens…But that’s another story for another time.

Protip: If you’re going to be hand-held and zoomed in, even a little, hold the camera still.  Seriously think about putting it on a tripod.  Because if you don’t, you get very shaky pictures – Zooming in not only magnifies the picture, but it magnifies every move the camera makes.  The less zoomed in you are, less shaky your video will be.  You may think that with modern technology, the “stabilizer” function can work wonders…To some extent, yes, but it’s more of a helper, than a problem solver – it’s not a miracle worker – just don’t cause that problem in the first place.  Don’t try that walking shot zoomed in…It’s going to be bad too everyone that has to watch it…Especially if you’re watching on today’s big HDTVs.  If you have to move the camera, or hold on to it because you’re not using a tripod, wider is better.