Common movie formats on digital cameras include AVI, MOV, and MPEG-4. Cur-
rently, MPEG-4 produces the most compact files, but all of the formats produce
high quality. Shop for resolution, aspect ratio, and recording time, and don’t worry
as much about the file format. Do check, however, that the file format is compatible
with your computer and operating system.
For best image quality when shooting video, remember these tips:
Hold the camera steady during filming Tripods are best for video shooting, but
in a pinch, you can use your neck strap to stabilize the camera. Hold the camera out
from your body until the strap is taut. Keep the camera in this position during film-
ing, and it will help to steady your shots. Also keep an eye out for posts, newspaper
stands, fences, and other items on which you can steady your camera. e world can
be your tripod, if you’re creative.
Turn on the image stabilizer Image stabilization (IS) is just as important in Movie
mode as it is for still pictures. If you’re holding the camera in your hands during
recording, the stabilizer will smooth out those little jitters. IS is not a substitute for
good technique, but it does help to steady your shots.
Shoot in good lighting Even more so than still photography, video requires good
lighting. If your scene doesn’t have enough ambient light, consider adding some with
an additional light source. Often, a simple shop light from the hardware store will do
the trick.
Frame your subjects tightly Keep in mind that your movies may often be viewed
on mobile devices with smaller LCD screens, so you can’t afford to stand too far back
from the action, or your subjects will be the size of ants. And for those grand produc-
tions for screening on HDTVs all over the world, get close and shoot tight.
Your digital camera probably isn’t as versatile as a good video camcorder for top-qual-
ity recordings. Most digicams don’t have ports for external microphones, don’t allow
zooming during recording, and don’t provide as many in-camera effects. On the other
hand, you’re more likely to have your compact camera with you when life presents
those special moments you would otherwise have missed.
MPEG-4 Movie Format
Some hybrid cameras that specialize in recording video as well as still pictures use the
MPEG-4 format to compress those movies. MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)

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