I wrote this to share with friends on myspace and in emails, but I am sure we have many here who know more than I do about this. Please do give me your feedback, thanks...!
Shooting Video With Digital Cameras
Preface: I looked all over my various camera manuals and the Internet for information about this, but about all I found is that cameras can do it - not how to do it or much else. So I did a good bit of testing with a few different cameras and experimenting with the movie editing program found on almost all Personal Computers to learning this much, I think….
For best results, set your camera to shoot on 640x480. It will use up the card about 3 times as fast as on 320x240 depending on frames per second but will deliver much better quality video. I carry two spare AA lithium batteries and a spare 2 Gb SD card in my grenade pocket (or cargo pants if you prefer); these are small items for most and can be tucked into a findable place in a purse since hardly anyone feels the need to carry a camera bag anymore. When I wear jeans, I find a way.
Now, if your camera that will not use AA batteries available almost anywhere, or uses only its own brand of memory card, sorreeee. My Sea Life will only use its own brand of rechargeable battery, but I really try to avoid those limitations.
Does your camera shoot in AVI or another video mode? Check your manual; if you can’t find it, it should be available for viewing and download to your Documents on the manufacturer’s web site - then open that site to the page on Specifications. Or just take a look at your camera on video setting with your largest card - how long does it say it can shoot @ 640x480? AVI uses a helluva lot of flash card, but the video can be compressed later. My Canon A540 will only shoot 17 minutes on a 2 Gb card, but the vid can be compressed nicely on a computer with Window Movie Maker - I‘ll come back to that.
Most point & shoot cameras have had a 2 Gb limit on cards, but unfortunately even Canon and Sea Life scuba camera manuals really do not address the limits accurately. On this one point, no matter what your manual or manufacturer site specifications say, it will probably work fine on a 2 Gb card, but no larger if the manual says it accepts Storage Media: SD Memory Card, MultiMedia Card. Many of the newer, higher Mp cameras are accepting SDHC (high capacity) cards beyond 2 Gb, tho - on up to 32 Gb, and that‘s really how you determine if they will - if the camera specs include accepting SDHC cards.
When I download a video, I then load it onto Windows Movie Maker, add title and end signs, maybe more editing & even music, then save to my Documents at “Best quality for playback" first - see pic. If the outcome is greater than 100 Mb, then I save it again with a different name, but check the second option then dial in a lower size - see pic. Selecting 100 Mb max usually yields an end result less than 100 Mb, the largest you can load on myspace.
I have done a lot of testing, and on larger AVI files, using that second box and dialing in lower size until "Setting details" in the lower left corner drops from 640x480 to 320x240, then dialing back up to just barely saving at 640x480, then saving - seems to work okay for quality - see pic. You really want a 640x480 video under 100 Mb for loading on myspace.
If your camera shoots in ASF, Quick or another mode, details will vary but that last "just barely 640x480" part seems to still work well.
Hey! It’s digital! We don’t use film anymore. Shoot shoot shoot, and share with friends….!!