Yesterday I recorded another damselfly video with me trying to pick one up with my finger from an aquatic plant and failing a couple of times, but succeeding in the end. This video was recorded with a Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 Nikkor 10-30mmm f/3.5-5.6 and is therefore far better quality wise than the last one, which was filmed with a Ricoh GR Digital III in standard resolution (640*480 pixels).
The video was recorded handheld and digitally stabilized in Adobe Premiere Elements 14 afterwards. I also tweaked brightness and black levels in Premiere. I held the camera with my right hand, while picking up the damselflies with my left. If you want to try it out, read my tips on photographing damselflies first.
As for camera settings, I used center AF point, because it proved the most reliable after several tries. But of course, filming this close under windy conditions and while holding the camera with only one hand is an immense challenge for any camera’s AF system, hence the occasional AF hunting in the video. Honestly, I’m surprised that the V1’s AF system managed to keep the damselfly in focus this well.
I also toned down contrast in camera all the way. In my experience this preserves highlight detail, which is impossible to restore in post processing. Videos are essentially a large number of heavily compressed JPGs. Post processing headroom is therefore very limited.
Note: The damselflies shown in the video were treated with outmost care and weren’t harmed in any way! If you try to capture photos or videos of damselflies in your hand, don’t do it at the cost of hurting your subject. Be gentle to these wonderful creatures!
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