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How do I capture this subject
I want to make instructional presentations on dog training including some form of pictoral or video aids. I just made my own web site. I am hesitant to post the site since the photographs are so bad. I am hoping to improve on them soon..

I have an old Sony Camcorder DCR-TRV7 NTSC, using Mini DV tape. I also have a Nikon Coolpix 990 that the wife bought unexpectedly one year. I have never cared that much for the Coolpix. I suppose I got use to my olllld Canon AE1 SLR and multiple lenses. The AE1 shutter froze up many years ago and the cost of repair was more than the value of the camera..

I plan to use Apple's Keynote presentation package to make presentations to offer for sale on my web site. I am thinking that I may be able to tell much of my story better with a series of action still shots, text and voice over than video. A major part of the message I am trying to deliver to clients is that they need to do less not more. I want to show how to communicate non verbally with short predictable body movements and tones of voice (the dogs natural language)..

My quandry is how to capture brief movements and positions that I want my clients to be able to immitate from the presentations. Most of what I want to capture occurs in say 5 seconds or less. I calculate that maybe 4-8 pictures in that time frame might record what I want to show. I think I may need to shoot continuously for up to the full 5 seconds to have the chance of capturing the needed pictures. I am very foggy about what sort of frame/minuet speed I might need to shoot at to capture this very short story..

Is this a doable job with a digital SLR? Although I need to be able to capture some subtle changes in body movement I am not sure that I need exceptional picture clarity or quality. At the same time, I wonder if I can capture those subtle differences in movement without high quality pictures..

I will be shooting both outdoors and indoors. Although most of the time I plan to be within 30 feet of my subject I may have occasion to photograph dog trials etc. at distances up to several hundred feet..

Any help anyone can provide this ole dog is greatly appreciated...

Comments (8)

K9hund wrote:.

My quandry is how to capture brief movements and positions that Iwant my clients to be able to immitate from the presentations. Mostof what I want to capture occurs in say 5 seconds or less. Icalculate that maybe 4-8 pictures in that time frame might recordwhat I want to show. I think I may need to shoot continuously for upto the full 5 seconds to have the chance of capturing the neededpictures. I am very foggy about what sort of frame/minuet speed Imight need to shoot at to capture this very short story..

Is this a doable job with a digital SLR?.

10 frames over 5 seconds would be 2 frames per second. I dont know if there are any dSLRs out there that do less than 3 frames per second. At three frames per second, you would get 15 shots over a five second period..

Although I need to be ableto capture some subtle changes in body movement I am not sure that Ineed exceptional picture clarity or quality. At the same time, Iwonder if I can capture those subtle differences in movement withouthigh quality pictures..

You maybe better off with a video camera or a compact digital camera that does video. You would get a higher frame rate at a lower resolution, but if you are posting these on a web site then your resolution is extremely limited anyhow..

Brian A...

Comment #1

My main goal is not web content but downloadable files I can sell via ecommerce. I believe the limiting factor will be monitor resolution..

I realize that even 3 frames/sec. will capture more images in the time frame than I need. However, I am not sure if I can sellect say 5 frames from 15 frames shot in 5 seconds that will show the changes in movement, body position, expression etc. that I want to show. I would think that if I was recording 6 frames/sec, getting twice as many frames, I would be able to select 5 frames that better showed the changes. I am guessing that a good deal of what I want to capture will occur in much less than 5 seconds too..

Obviously video at 30 frames/sec has many more frames to capture the movement in. I just do not think that the changes will be as clear in a 5 second or less video as they would be in 5 SLR pictures. I can not see users starting and stopping those short videos time and again to actually find the frames they need to see even if they knew what they were looking for, which they don't. I can see the "5" pictures I want in my head, I just can not figure out how to capture them within the short periods of time they occur in..

If I try to glean still images from video I am concerned that I will end up with blurry pictures that may cloud the message as well as the profesional image I would like to convey...

Comment #2

If the movements you wish to capture are as subtle as you imply, I doubt that even a 10fps SLR will be able to capture the exact movements you have in mind. Perhaps as the previous poster suggested a camcorder would be more appropriate. You could use a high definition camcorder and then extract the frames that illustrate the movements you want. Frame grabs from cameras such as the Canon HV20 might be detailed enough for web presentations..

Alternatively, you might also consider using a digital camera to take a video from which you can also extract frames. For example, the Panasonic FZ50 can take video at 848x480, 30fps. The resolution isn't as high as a high definition camcorder however..

BTW Casio is developing a camera that takes 6mp photos at 60fps (for applications such as yours) but the release date hasn't been announced...

Comment #3

DSLRs that have higher frame rates tend to be more expensive, but cameras with up to 10 fps do exist (the Canon 1D MkIII for example at $4.5K)..

But there are midrange dSLRs with more than 3 fps. The Canon 40D does 6.5 fps and 3 fps at $1.2K, the Nikon D300 at 6 fps at $1.7K, or the Sony A700 at 5 or 3 fps for an as yet unannounced price..

It often seems that 3 fps would be able to capture anything you would want. But when you look at sequences of 3 fps shots of action, there are surprising gaps. The jump in price from entry level dSLR to mid level is quite large. Another alternative would be to shoot the same sequence several times at 3 fps; less expensive, but more time consuming..

Brian A...

Comment #4

Thanks for the reply CreaDVty,.

I have been thinking that my much older Sony Camcorder DCR-TRV7 NTSC was actually less outdated than my newer Nikon Coolpix 990. I sort of got in my head that I should replace the Nikon first. I guess I will go study up on some HD Camcorders to see if I can find a better solution there..

In regard to the subtly of the movement I am trying to capture, it's one of those two edged swords. Dogs can "pic up" very subtle movements that we are frequently totally unaware we make. On the other hand, I am trying to teach the human half of these teams to make bold easily interpreted movement, both so that it is easy for them to do and because there is less chance of them "saying" something they did not mean to say..

I am conducting classes in a 55'x20' room a great deal of the time. I am confident I can work out the focal length and white balance issues in the room with a Dslr. I am less confident of my ability to do those things with a Camcorder, but I am going to look into it..

I have thought about placing a video camera in a strategic location (tripod) in the room and just filming the whole class. That may help with the issue of both trying to photograph the class and teach it at the same time...

Comment #5

Hi again Hugowolf,.

Love that name. I like hugging wolves too, usally the domestic variety though, hard to catch the wild ones..

I would have a hard time shelling out the coins for a "Pro" Dslr outfit at this time. I have it kind of broken down in my head the same way you do..

Either I need to have fast frame rates or the ability to photograph the same situation many times. The way I do my classes I might be able to do the repetition thing. We do practise similar scenarios over and over. I was just asking the wife about her either doing the class or taking the pictures. I think she might do the class if I promise not to photograph her..

I am trying to figure out what kind of images my current Camcorder is recording and will be looking at what options are available out in the HD Camcorder market too...

Comment #6

Sample frame grabs from the HV20 to get you started:http://flickr.com/search/?q=hv20&w=all.

Hopefully the quality is adequate for your purposes (btw, note the difference in aspect ratio between frame grabs and the digital stills).

To my knowledge the HV20 currently has the best image quality among entry-level consumer HD camcorders. I believe it also has decent manual controls to allow you to achieve the exposure and white balance that you want. However, I don't have one so I'm just basing my statements on quick research..

Teaching while also using an SLR to take the kinds of pictures you want (which appears to require crucial timing) seems rather difficult compared to a HD camcorder solution...

Comment #7

Thanks for the Camcorder info. CeaDVty..

It got me started on my research. The reviews on the Canon HV20 are horrible though it does appear to create the best images. The Sony HC7, HDR-UX? and HDR-SR1 apparently have limitations too but reviewers seem to feel that they are better at many other things. The Canon HV20 apparently has some severe problems in low light situations which makes me think I should consider one of the Sonys..

The Sony HDR-SR1 is very interesting. It records to a 30GB HDD using the new AVCHD compression. The AVCHD compression has been a problem since there was virtually no support for this format in video software. Just so happens that AVCHD was developed off the same MPEG-4/H.264 base that Apple uses for their iPods. The great thing for me is Leopard (the new Apple OS and iLife 08 software support AVCHD and specifically the Sony HDR-SR1 Camcorder. This means I can download the movies directly into iMovie (yeeeeeeha)..

Http://www.camcorderinfo.com/...y-HDR-SR1-Camcorder-Review/Still-Features.htm.

The HDR-SR1 has a very interesting Sony Dual Record feature which simultaniously captureshigh-resolution stills while recording video. The stills can be recorded as 2016x1134 (2.3MP @ 16.9) or 1512X1134 (1.7MP @ 4:3) The review says "produced stills that had outstandingly crisp look to them, compared to other camcorders in it's class". The Canon and JVC camcorders do a little better on color rendition but I am much more interested in a clear image..

I am still trying to figure out how this dual mode works, if any one has clues for me I would appreciate any thing I could learn about it...

Comment #8

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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