Up to now we've mostly talked about getting ready to run and gun. But when you're out there on your own, doing it, here's some advice on how to cope.
Although you'd be well advised to shut off all automatic camcorder controls, sometimes you just can't. When it's only you and the camcorder, and the story is breaking fast, by the time you adjust this control and check that setting, the action might be over and you missed it.
In a tough spot, consider judiciously using some automatic camcorder settings to capture fast-breaking action. For instance:
If you use a camera-mounted floodlight, turn on the camcorder's spotlight mode, if it has one. If you expect to shoot with a flood often, buy a camcorder ...