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How Much to Shoot > How Much to Shoot - Pg. 39

If your subject is a family member or friend, they may be able to confrm that you're getting the shot by checking the tally light--the small light on the lens end of the camcorder that lights up, or blinks, while you're recording. Most videographers, however, turn off the tally light (using the camcorder's built-in menu system) or put a piece of black tape over it. If you're trying to be surreptitious or to put your subject at ease, the light can be extremely distracting, especially when it starts blinking to indicate that you're running out of tape or power. Similarly, make sure the indicator disappears when you punch the Record button a second time. Sometimes this button sticks and doesn't actually make the camera stop flming. Tip: If the recording-the-ground syndrome has struck you even once, check your camcorder's feature list. Some models, including most Sony camcorders, offer a special feature that's designed to eliminate this syndrome. When you slide a switch into a mode Sony calls Anti-Ground Shooting, the camcorder records only while you're pressing the Record button. As soon as you remove your thumb, the camera stops re- cording. This scheme isn't ideal for long shots, of course, and it ties up your hands during shots when you might need to adjust the zoom or focus while flming. But it's extremely good insurance against missing important moments. Get the Shot How Much to Shoot For years, books and articles about camcorders have stressed the importance of keeping your shots short. In the pre-iMovie era, this was excellent advice. When you show your footage to other people, there's absolutely nothing worse than endless, monotonous, unedited scenes of babies/speeches/scenery. If you don't want your guests and fam- ily members to feel that they're being held hostage during your screenings, strive for short shots and very selective shooting. So goes the usual advice. But the iMovie revolution turns that advice on its head. Yes, it's still agonizing and tedious to watch hours of somebody's unedited video, but thanks to iMovie, you won't be showing unedited video. By the time an audience sees it, your stuff won't be endless and boring. In fact, it will be far better than a bunch of short, selective shots on the average person's camcorder, because you'll have had a much greater selection of footage from which to choose the most interesting scenes. In other words, it's safe to relax about how much you're shooting. It's much better, in the iMovie Age, to shoot too much footage than too little. After all, if your camcorder stops rolling too soon, you might miss a terrifc moment. (Almost everyone who's used a camcorder has experienced such unfortunate timing.) In Hollywood and professional TV production, in fact, shooting miles of footage is standard practice. When flming movies, Hollywood directors shoot every scene numerous times, even if nothing goes wrong in most of them, just so that they'll have a selection to choose from when it comes time to assemble the fnal flm. (As an extreme example, legend has it that during the making of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, the director asked the actors to repeat a scene 140 times, on the premise that eventually they'd no longer be acting--it would be real.) The more takes you get chapter2:turninghomevideointoprovideo 39