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Old July 3rd, 2004, 06:39 AM   #31
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The VX2k shoots fireworks very well indeed. I use the side screen for convenience, manual focus to stop the camera’s focus wandering in the dark and manual exposure to avoid over-exposure of the fireworks against the dark sky. I use it as an audio recorder too, to collect the noise. I find the AGC/auto limiter to be very useful in such circumstances.

Rockets at a public firework event are a wow because of their power. The sync loss between flash and bang brings home their height and the force of the explosions can be felt on your chest. Recreating this on the TV screen indoors is near impossible so I take it as a golden opportunity to go wild - not only out there in the field, but also indoors on the timeline.

Shoot fireworks wildly out of focus - they have a beauty of their own especially when superimposed over sharp footage. Use manual exposure to retain the different colours. There's no "correct" exposure and experimentation will show that practically anything looks good. Shoot at very slow shutter speeds and spin the camera about the lens axis as you crash zoom out from an explosion. Use a 6 point cross screen and spin the filter on its thread. Use the "ghost" filter in Premiere to add trails, the colour correction to enhance and the slow-motion option to expand the unseen. Set the wrong colour balance. Some cutaways of sky-gazing crowds oohing and ahring are most useful, and you’ll find there’s lots of light to film them by when big rockets explode.

Remember this rule: there are no rules. Shoot now while you have the chance. The politically correct amongst us will first of all insist on silent fireworks, just before they ban the whole lot on safety grounds.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 01:25 PM   #32
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Tom, you have great ideas for how to use the fireworks shots later, but during the actual shoot I'd recommend any first time FW shooters to concentrate on getting aperature, and shutter speeds they like first, before they start shooting out of focus and spinning the camera all around. Those effects can be achieved later with most NLE's, assuming your source material is of good quality. The only reason I bring it up is that shooting fireworks is usually pretty rare (once a year!), and I lot of things can go wrong so get as much universally usable footage as you can.

For example, like most of us I shoot a lot of video for later bluescreen use, and just random stock footage. I don't have any fireworks shots yet, and went to shoot the ones in my town last night. I got there late, they were finishing early and I got maybe a couple of minutes, when I would have liked a lot more... now I gotta try and hunt down more tonight (which shouldn't be too difficult), but it supports the idea of leaving the FX for editing, and just making sure you got the best quality footage at the shoot.
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 02:40 PM   #33
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Best manual settings for fireworks

Any takers?
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Old July 3rd, 2004, 03:31 PM   #34
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. . . about 4 threads down?


Grazie ;-)
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Old July 4th, 2004, 05:34 AM   #35
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Thank you all for the excellent ideas and suggestions. With all the settings that people have recommended I have just come back from my first shoot. The results are spectacular! I hope to get a screenshot up soon. Here is what I went with

Sony HG0758 Wide Angle lens
Shutter speed 1/60
Exposure f4
Focus Manual Infinity.

And that's it. I am so surprised how well this camera has captured the events. I got another one tonight so I hope to get more footage. Update soon.
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Old July 4th, 2004, 03:28 PM   #36
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Good results reported by a Sony VX2100 shooter.
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Old July 5th, 2004, 07:55 PM   #37
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Here they are, just some quick exports to Windows Media 9 files. Please, all comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.






Thanks for viewing and THANKS for all the invaluable help.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #38
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I got very good results on a big fireworks show last night with my VX2100.
I locked the focus on manual and fine-tuned it with the momentary push-focus button. I found that its auto exposure and normal shutter did quite well and almost instantly and accurately adjusted for the flashes without shutting down the exposure and causing visible fluctuations. The auto-level audio control handled the explosions just right. From past experience, I didn't use an add-on mike, which has caused overloading of sound on other camcorders.

After using the viewfinder for a few minutes, I gave myself a break and opened the viewscreen. It was one of the few times I'd ever use such a thing, but it was a big benefit for comfort and steadiness. It attracted several nearby techno-freaks, who seemed more interested in seeing it on my screen, than in watching the real thing??

The next 4th of July, I'll attach my .5X wide-angle lens. Although I got enough of the action in the picture, the basic lens needed some help in grabbing all the side streamers.

I took the camera next door today and showed the recording to the neighbors who have four kids under age 4 and were too
young to go to the show. I'd left the darned built-in lens-cap shut for the first 5 seconds and was told that it was a nice artistic touch to start out with just the sound and then engaging the video with that window opening from the middle.

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Old October 26th, 2004, 11:21 AM   #39
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Any experience with Fireworks?

Hey guys,

Okay I'm working on a job right now filming a fireworks product video for a company. I using the settings that everyone seems to agree on in all the other threds that I've read on here. Everything looks good expect for one kind of firework.

I can't seem to pick up the soft gold effect from palm/willow fireworks where after the burst there is that soft gold trail following it down. I can't seem to pick up that trail!

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to pick these trails up? I'm using a Canon GL2 camera, if that matters any.

Thanks in advance.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 09:44 PM   #40
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The trails are not giving off enough light to be picked up by the CCD. Open the aperature, lower the shutter speed, and shut off image stabilization.
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Old October 27th, 2004, 10:35 AM   #41
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Fire! Fire! Fire!

Sounds like a fun job! As long as safety precautions are followed.

So does the client stage special fireworks displays just for the shoot? I imagine that would help so you don't have that standing cloud of smoke to shoot through.

If you have time, give us a brief rundown of "a day in the office."

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Old October 28th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #42
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fireworks video

OK I'll jump in.

"The trails are not giving off enough light to be picked up by the CCD. Open the aperature, lower the shutter speed, and shut off image stabilization"

Good advice but I have noticed that when the aperature is opened too far (maybe what you need to see the trails) the colors look way to saturated and take on a white look - at least on one of my cameras. There has to be a happy medium that will allow good color on the bright stuff but will also show the trails.

Time to experiment with what Jesse has suggested. Let us know how it works as you'll be the expert when you're done.


P.S. I hope you are in manual iris control as the AGC can mess you up a lot in this situation.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 08:26 AM   #43
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I only shot some stuff with my XL1S a couple of years back at
the year change and I had everything on full manual. Looked
pretty good, although it was hard to know in that situation
where the next "explosions" where going to be. All sort of auto
circuits (like auto focus) could prevent you from seeing such an
effect. Perhaps you should tell us in which settings you where

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Old July 2nd, 2006, 01:24 AM   #44
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Best XL2 Settings for Fireworks Video?

I'm a brand new XL2 owner and I curious as to what would be the best way to configure my camera in order to film my family's July 4th fireworks. The camera will be pearched about 80 feet away on a rooftop. What's the best way to capture this sort of thing at night?
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 03:32 AM   #45
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There is no one answer to this question, remember your exposure is determined by the distance from the light source. So how far away from the source will determine your exposure.
I have found slower shutter speeds give better saturated colors so I would start at 1/24 - 1/30 @ F:11 and see where you are at. You may even need to add an ND filter to get those nice bright colors.

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