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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Fishers, IN
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Shooting My Own Hands

I am in charge of reproduction historic clothing at a living history site. I have made a few basic videos of historic sewing techniques, but I'd like to do this by myself.

Any ideas how to secure a small camera to my head or chest?

Or if I used a small tripod, how to be sure my hands were in the shot?

Is there a name for what I want to do?
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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:27 AM   #2
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands

Hi Paula,

Welcome to DV Info Net. I think the terminology that most closely applies to what you want to do, would be table-top shooting. And I would strongly recommend using a tripod for this. You would want to set it up so that the camcorder is looking down over your left or right shoulder, and zoomed in just enough to show your hands at work. You can start and stop the video yourself using a remote controller. Usually there's a wireless remote controller included with most camcorders -- some higher-end camcorders allow connectivity with hard-wired controllers for greater precision. Another tip is to take the video output from the camcorder into a nearby monitor (a spare television, perhaps). Position the monitor so that it's not visible in your shot but close enough for you to see what's happening on the screen. That way you'll see the video in real time while you're working, just as your audience will see it later. And that way you'll know if your hands are in the shot where they should be. Hope this helps,

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Old January 8th, 2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands

A tripod and a camera with a screen that you can see whilst shooting is a must or even an external monitor and a wide angle lens.

Personally I use a small canon HF11 HD camera with a wide angle adaptor on a manfrotto stills tripod and you can flip the screen around for self shooting. You will need some lights but a simple fluro CFL softlight will be enough and the wide angle adaptor will allow you to get very close up but keep everything in focus.

You would be probably be best to set up a small staging or desk top area where you can demonstrate what you wish to film that will also allow you to keep the lighting under control.

As for shooting break down things into a storyboard with several set-ups and planned sequences and shoot them one at a time in sequence so that you can then edit them together, also break down your shots into wide and close up and shoot each technique in both perspectives with possibly a third angle for further detail.

Of course getting someone to help will be a lot easier but it is possible to do it yourself with some small investment and planning.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 11:59 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Fishers, IN
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands

Great ideas! Thanks so much. I've seen these how-to videos with close-ups of hands, and I couldn't figure out how they did it. Now, to figure out how to do it here with limited expenditure!
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Old January 12th, 2013, 06:25 PM   #5
Inner Circle
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands

Hi Paula. Interesting job you have there, and an interesting thread, no pun :)

'Living history' is a clue.

Sounds like you want to show demo vids to the site visitors and you're not happy with the first basic efforts. Were they made by a crew at your site?

My company made museum videos for the public and there's definate special considerations involved.
'Historic sewing techniques' says to me, closeups and a lot of 'em .. and you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot.

I think you need at least one other person with experience to help, and preferably someone who has made good museum videos before.
You need to carefully narrate your video too; I'd do this by practising demonstrating the sewing, and describing it at the same time.

The more you practise the better you'll get, even to refining and improving 'your' technique.

Inject some fun into it too, or am I right off track with this .. and starting to unravel this thread :)

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Old January 13th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #6
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Location: Houston, TX
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands


If a point-and-shoot GoPro camera is otherwise suitable for your purposes, they offer both a head strap and chest strap mount system. The head strap in particular can give you video with a view very close to "what I see is what you see" with no muss or fuss.

They also have a wrist mount housing, which I have never tried. However, it appears that is for the older, larger GoPro Hero and Hero2 cameras. I don't see one listed for the new, smaller Hero3.
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Old January 13th, 2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: Shooting My Own Hands

Paula, check out the animation by Marj Atkins in this thread:

The upside down tree (non-entry)

Marj is currently active in that thread, and seems like a really nice lady, so bound to pass along her setup.
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