Happy Independence Day: How to Create the Best Fireworks Video
How to Create the Best Fireworks Video
Today we are going to offer you one very handy tip. After reading this post you will never again have to say, “The video doesn’t do it justice.” Well, at least you will never have to say that about your fireworks display. At Profireworks, we are not qualified to speak about your wedding or any graduation event involving children or loved ones. Yet when it comes to shooting fireworks, correction, shooting a fireworks video… we can help! Pay attention to the tips below to create a stunning fireworks video the next time you happen to be manning the camera.
Use the right gear. Always, always, always use a tripod. However, keep the drag loose so you can pan and swivel when need be. As for which cameras work best, a 3-chip camera will capture the best images, and HD cameras are just as awesome, yet, with proper shooting techniques, any basic camcorder will do a great job.
Check your camera’s eye. You should never try to shoot video using auto focus or auto exposure. When you are shooting video in the dark, the camera’s eye, or auto iris, will open wide in an attempt to find light. When the firework goes off, the iris does not have enough time to close. When the sky is dark again, the iris reopens looking for light. Auto focus keeps your camera in constant motion, and is therefore, a bad idea.
Just say no to gain. Make sure you practice this before the event. Test your image out with the iris setting at its smallest opening (f8 or f11). This seems counter intuitive because common sense says to open your camera wide to let more light in. However, the end result is a washed out image when the fireworks are flashing. You can also try using a circular polarizer or or ND filter as well. It’s all about trimming your gain so you don’t end up with flat images and dark reddish areas on your video.
Set your focus. Sure, you can always use the landscape setting or fireworks setting on your camera to keep things in line. However, if you go manual, you have much better control. If you have an infinity setting on your focus, use it. Then, while you still have daylight, try to focus on a distant object that you think might be about the same amount of distance away as the fireworks that will be going off later.
Get rid of lights. If you can, position yourself to where there is no background lighting at all. This is especially important for things like car headlights. You want the black area of your video as clean as possible for editing later.
Go Low and Stay Wide. Get as close as you possibly can to people and keep your angle wide. By shooting at a low angle, you can position your camera so that the fireworks explode overhead. This is a great way to get your children in a video shot with fireworks bursting around them. Plus, the light from the fireworks will naturally reflect light on their face to keep them clear and visible as the subject.
Editing Matters. Remember, you’re going to be showing this later to friends and family so make sure it is not just one long riff of fireworks exploding. Start with some people shots, cut to a few close-ups of their faces, then cut over to the fireworks. You can also cross dissolve, fade to black, and cut away to other people taking in the sights and sounds of the festival. Of course, you want to make sure that the grand finale shot is memorable, so be sure to end with a close-up shot of your children or spouses smiling faces.
That’s all there is to it. You may now consider yourself a professional fireworks videographer. Okay, so maybe that only applies to the state of Michigan, and maybe it’s just the opinion of the Profireworks team, but at least you have some credentials!