How to photograph and video fireworks

Everybody’s doin it! It used to be you had to hire a professional video guy with a high dollar camera to get decent video of your back yard display, and we see the question posed time and time again “How to video fireworks”
Admittedly Fireworks are one of the more difficult subjects to videotape, but with a few quick tips we can get you posting beautiful videos in no time! First, let’s discuss equipment. The camera we are using is a not a high dollar, professional piece of equipment you would expect to see on a Hollywood movie set, in fact it’s a Panasonic Lumix we paid less than $300.00 for online! These newer, small enough to fit in your pocket cameras are truly amazing and include capabilities such as recording video in high definition at 30 frames per second!

These little cams do a great job right out of the box, however a few easy adjustments and tips that hold true to most video devices when it comes to fireworks will have you shooting like a pro in no time.
(1) Exposure. Turn it down! overexposure can lead to letting way too much light in resulting in washed out colors, or even white out. On the Lumix we set it to -1 and it works great for 90% of fireworks, fountains and strobes being the brightest may require turning it all the way down, while subtle colors such as blues and golds in willows and brocades aren’t near as bright and will show up better on a higher setting, we just settled on -1 and leave it there.
(2) Focus. Turn it off! The last thing you want your camera doing while getting video of your fireworks is trying to focus. Since the fireworks aren’t always there…it struggles to focus on anything and will constantly adjust resulting in a lot of blurred segments. The fix?….turn it off. Simply turn off the cameras auto focus feature.
(3) Tripod. A tripod is a must have tool, holding the camera never looks good as it ends up shaky and missing shots. For consumer fireworks a good rule of thumb is to get at least 300′ back, set up on a tripod and this should give you a good field of view catching almost everything from the low ground effects to the highest breaks.
What are you waiting for? Oh ya….dark! Actually when video taping fireworks the colors usually turn out more vivid and crisp right at dusk, as you will see in the video linked below. Notice how sharp the color and clarity is! You too can achieve these results, likely with the digital camera your already using….now buy some fireworks and try it for yourself!
Check out the video and Happy shooting!



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