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Photographing Solar Eclipses
Author: Bill Kramer
Last update: 3 JUL 2014 BK
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Video Camera

Denise videotapingMy own experience with video recording an eclipse is rather limited. However, Denise has used a handheld camcorder at several eclipses to record the event as far back as 1991. The most precious component has always been the audio where you can hear the reactions of everyone around us. Over the years, as camcorders have gotten better, she has continued to use it in a handheld fashion to get some wonderful video of the eclipse, the environment, chasers, and of course the audio.

Consumer video cameras do not have the same resolution (number of pixels) as digital cameras and are not as robust in terms of optics. There can be a lot of scatter noise when the image is viewed. Below are some video image examples (captures). Video links posted by others at youTube are also provided (do you have an eclipse video on youTube? Email the author the link.)

1998 Eclipse Video
3rd Contact 1998 (half resolution)

Camcorders are pretty easy to use and you really can't go wrong giving it a try. The people reactions are really the best and the noises you hear during the eclipse are sometimes pretty amusing - especially if you were there.

Make sure your batteries are fully charged. Having an extra battery is a good idea since the set up starts early and the celebration continues long after totality. Keep an eye on how much tape/memory remains - you don't want to run out just as totality begins.

Denise's Video Tips

Based on Denise's experiences here are some tips for using a consumer grade video camera. Professional videographers might want to just glance through this material since it is really intended for the casual camcorder operator.

Technology of consumer grade video cameras is rapidly improving. The electronic components are getting smaller and the storage capacity continues to grow.

CamcordersThree generations of camcorders. Left to Right: 2009 JVC Everio 1920x1080 HD, 2005 Panasonic 3CCD GS-250, 1994 Nikon VN-870. Today's cell phone cameras are smaller and are capable of video recording however the tiny lens makes them all but useless in terms of getting a good video of the eclipse.

 

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