A Short Course Book
Using Your Digital Camera
A Guide To Great Photographs

Shooting Movies

Movies can be played back on a computer equipped with the right software.
The almost universally recognized movie mode icon.

Click to see a movie captured with a still camera’s movie mode.
Many digital cameras have a built in microphone that records sounds in movies or let's you attach sounds to images, perhaps to annotate them.
Many digital cameras can capture short video clips that you can easily share with others.

In most cases, image sizes are dramatically reduced from those used to capture still images. Sizes normally range from a very small 160 x 120 to a maximum of a TV quality 640 x 480 (VGA). The reason for this is so the camera can process the video as it's being captured and so file sizes are kept as small as possible.

Most digital cameras use AVI, MOV, or MPEG video formats so you can view or share them in a number of ways (if your video isn't in the "right" format, you can find programs that convert it):
  • Your computer can play back your movie as long as it's equipped with the appropriate software. This software comes with your camera, usually on a CD, but most new systems will also have it already installed.
  • TV movies have to be in MPEG format and on a Video CD or DVD disc. However, you can play back any format when you use a cable to connect your camera to the TV or VCR and use the camera as the playback device.
  • E-mail is a great way to distribute short video clips but anything longer than a few seconds may be too large to send. The recipient also has to have the necessary playback software installed to view the video.
  • Web sites are popping up all over that let you share movies with friends. You just upload your clip and send friends the location. When they visit the site that hosts your video, they can download or play it.
  • iPods and other portable devices play video clips in the formats they support.
Just playing back a video isn't all you can do with it. There are programs you can use to edit it or you can incorporate it into other larger projects. For example, you can insert movies into slide shows or even play them as wallpaper on your desktop. It's amazing how stringing together lots of very short clips can tell an interesting story.

Professional quality video is 30 fps but many cameras capture fewer than that.

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