How To Video Model Trains

Model train enthusiasts are no different than other hobbyists. They are proud of their creations and want to show them off. Pictures are one way to do that, but since model trains MOVE, a photo cannot do them justice. Searching the internet reveals a number of videos out there that may be interesting to other model railroaders but the quality runs the gamut from bad home video of “ring around the Christmas tree” to professionally produced videos of massive layouts.

Why do a video? There are several reasons you might want to make a video of you model train layout and train. The primary reason might be just to share your creation with others that have similar interests. Another reason might be as an instructional video to show less experienced modelers what is possible, or how to build certain scenery or how to fix an electrical problem. You might want to show a detailed video of the detail on a new locomotive.

You’ll want to make sure that your video is something others want to watch. In order to do that, you need to start out with a higher quality camera. You don’t have to buy a $1500 video camera, but don’t try to shoot a quality video with a handheld cell phone. Invest in a camera, (or rent or borrow one) that you can mount on a quality tripod and make sure you use that tripod when shooting. Another key is to shoot your video from various viewpoints. Don’t have a static one position shot and expect it to remain interesting for very long. A third key is lighting. Video cameras see light differently than the human eyes does so make sure to shoot some test footage and take a look before shooting your real footage. Adjust lights as necessary and don’t depend on our on camera light.

After you shoot your video, the raw footage is probably not what you want to upload for others to view. Most computers have at least rudimentary video editing software. Find yours and learn to use it. Cut out any uninteresting scenes and shorten those that run too long. Now is also the time to add any voiceover, not at the time when you are preoccupied with shooting. Also use some interesting transitions to avoid abrupt changes in the scenes.

The length of your video is also something that you need to think about. If it is an instructional video, the length should be what is required to provide that instruction. If the purpose of your video is to show off your layout, be very careful not to overdo it. It might be a great video to show an outside train clearing the track of fresh snow, but not if it goes on for 15 minutes! Go out on the internet and take a look at what others have done. Pick the ones you like and check the length of them. Edit yours accordingly.

Now that your video is shot and edited, what do you do with it? YouTube might be the obvious answer, and it is one choice. You might also want to share it at one of the social network sites like Facebook or Myspace that have model train groups. You can also search the internet for model train forums where enthusiasts will be excited to see your video.

Article courtesy of  “The Enthusists Guide to Model Trains”

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