Video Taping Christmas Lights

I'm far from a video expert. But here's my notes.

Start with a good camcorder
     A camcorder with a 3CCD imaging sensor will typically produce much better color in low light.
     I use the JVC GZ-HD6. But it doesn’t fair out well in the reviews.

Filming conditions
     Use a tripod
     A small amount of ambient light helps. Try filming at dusk.
          I usually turn our recessed porch lights on.
     Create a special sequence between every song that gives you time to stop and start recording.
          Mine is 10 sec. off - 10 sec on - 10 sec. off (the on time is for focusing)

Camera settings
     Film at a high resolution picture quality. I use SP 1440x1080i high-definition.
     Disable Optical Image Stabilization.
     Choose Manual recording mode.
          Set the Brightness to the highest setting (+6 for JVC GZ-HD6)
          Set Shutter Speed to 1/30
     Manual / Auto Focus - determine how to switch from manual to auto
          With lights on allow camera to auto focus.
          Switch to manual focus to lock setting in while lights are still on.

Convert video files to a standard .wmv file format
     A lot of HD camcorders do not create a standard video file format.
     The camera software must be used to convert to a more standard .wmv format
     Import the video. Do not edit the video.
     Produce the video to a high resolution format
          The format I choose is: Windows media video 9 HD Standard Quality (6000 kbs)

Edit .wmv file in Windows Movie Maker
     Options / Video Properties: NTSC (also 16:9 for wide screen)
     Import wmv file
          Movie Tasks / Capture / Import video
          Uncheck - Create clips for video files
          Add video to time line
     Trim video
          Show TimeLine (instead of Story Board)
          Drag arrows in at ends of video on time line
     Import MP3 Audio
          Movie Tasks / Capture / Import audio or music
          Add audio to time line
          Listen to both audios and adjust alignment of MP3 until there is no echo.
          Mute audio from video (right click Audio in timeline and check Mute)
          Movie Tasks / Finish Movie
          Save to my computer
          Movie Setting
               Other / Video for LAN (768 kbps)


Last revised: December 06, 2013