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Capture TV with your Camera

Monday, June 22nd, 2009 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography
 
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Sometimes it’s difficult to get pictures of elusive things like celebrities, places and things. Here is where TV can be of great help. And even sometimes, capturing people and places alongside a TV adds that much more color and life to the photo. However, not many of us are able to take pictures that are blur-free and steady. What’s worse are those horizontal scan lines that appear on the picture. Thankfully, with the following tips, you should be able to capture TV images without a bother of any of this.

But first, here are a few things to know:

Horizontal lines: Also called banding, this problem occurs if the TV refreshes at a rate slower than the shutter speed of your camera.
 

image

Pixels: If the shutter speed of your camera is too slow, you may end up capturing the blur that appears when the images change on TV. The blur is actually made up of the pixels that show up during the transition of one image to another.

image

Reflection: The reflection of the camera’s flash or any other source of light can spoil the picture of the TV instantly.

image

Shakes: An unstable hand can spoil any picture, and if the picture is of the TV screen, the chances of getting a shaky picture are quite high.

Going off color: The settings of your camera, along with the lighting in the room, can cause colours to appear differently on the shot picture.

Tips on how to get your picture right

Getting a good picture of the TV screen revolves around overcoming the above-mentioned problems. Here are some guidelines that will help you click a reasonably good picture of your TV screen.

1.) Adjust your camera’s shutter speed to the refresh rate of the TV. The refresh rate refers to the frequency of the change of image on the screen. Typically, the refresh rate is calculated per second. The refresh rate of the conventional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV is 24. In order to get a seamless picture, try to keep the shutter speed of your camera slightly lower than this. However, make sure the shutter speed is not too low as it may cause a blurred picture.

2.) The ideal situation is that the refresh rate of the television matches the shutter speed of the camera. Try keeping the shutter speed of the camera as close to the refresh rate of the TV as possible.

3.) Adjust the white balance of your camera. The white balance settings of your camera can affect the brightness and the colour of the picture to a great extent. Employ the trial and error method to come up with the correct setting.

4.) Check the lighting in the television’s vicinity. Sources of light like a lamp or an open window can affect the output of the shot to a great extent. Make sure no light reflects on the TV screen and obstructs the view in any way. Also, make sure you and your camera are not being reflected on the screen.

5.) Some expert photographers suggest shooting the TV screen in a dark room with lights switched off and curtains down. This may work sometimes, however, if the image on the TV screen is not generating much light, it is better to have enough light around so that the picture does not come out too dark.

6.) Do not use flash. Using a camera with a flash that can never be disabled is an absolute no-no for clicking an image off the TV screen. The flash will leave a light blot on the image that will replicate itself in the picture spoiling it. Always shut off the flash when you click the TV screen.

7.) Use a tripod. With so many possible obstacles to a good picture of the TV screen, do not add another one with an unstable hand. Use a tripod to keep your camera at one place and shoot calmly so that the picture does not shake.

8.) Try different techniques with different televisions. The same trick will not work for every television. Adjust your camera’s settings every time you come across a different television or if the lighting in the room is different.

9.) Focus on relatively slow images. No matter how much you try, you may not be able to shoot a proper picture of a fast screen. It is better to focus on images that do not move too fast, like the ones showing a landscape, a person’s face or two people in a conversation. Trying to get a good shot of a leopard chasing its prey or an athlete on his track may be a bit of a challenge.

10.) The key to getting a good TV screen capture is to keep trying various settings and environments. The more you try, the better your chances are of getting a good shot.

Best of luck!

~Zahid H Javali


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