Sky and Sea Videos – Pitfalls to Avoid

The other day I was working on a home video of a recent vacation to Egypt, and I invited my 12-year-old to a pre-screening of my near-final draft (a shorter version here), and she told me it was all wrong.  “Why?” I asked, horrified.  “Your horizons are all crooked.”  And she was right.  I had captured scores of amazing ocean sunsets and Nile River shots, and virtually every horizon was crooked.

A decent photographer probably would have known better than to photograph crookedly in the first place.  I use a hybrid camcorder for stills that I hold in my right hand – so virtually all of them had a slight tilt to one side – and some worse.  But what surprised me was that I was so focused on the colors and edges and transitions, that I had failed to correct the angles in the video editing process.

It’s very easy to fix – in most programs, the same place you adjust settings for size and x/y orientation, you can also nudge the photo (or video) by degrees or fractions of degrees – minus for counterclockwise, normal for clockwise.  If you move the camera during a video, you can even designate keyframes to get the video to turn as needed.

So that’s a major lesson learned for me – I fixed them all in about 15 minutes and we were back in business.  What’s another one?  Watch this video carefully and see if you can spot the other major pitfall (in addition to the crooked horizon):

Did you catch it?  If you watched carefully, you should have trouble reading this.  Stop-motion videos of sunrises and sunsets over the ocean are fun to do, but it’s not really about the sun – it’s about the lightshow in the clouds or on the water.  By staring at this video for the full 90 seconds of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” you ended up partly blind (don’t worry, it’ll pass).  So that’s something else to bear in mind.

Having said all that, however, World Run Day is on Sunday, 7 October.  Raise some money for your favorite charity and get some exercise at the same time – check out www.runday.com for the details.  When you get your vision back, that is.

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