Obviously if you mount your camera on the wooden boom, upside down, the image on your monitor will be also upside down and also left will now be right etc.. Fear not, help is at hand with a free program called Manycam.
Manycam is a very useful program that has many features, but for this project we will only be using two of them. The first allows a 10:1 zoom facility that enables you to set up the area covered on your desk top. The other allows you to flip the video image both vertically and horizontally, to overcome the problem I mentioned earlier. Once these have been set up, you can forget about them … and the camera will now work in any other program with the correct orientation.
Manycam also allows you to set up different backgrounds etc…, which means you can make a video in your garden but then change the background to one of an exotic location, warm beaches, palm trees etc...
Windows Movie Maker.
Windows Movie maker is the program we will actually be using to make our video’s. There are many different programs available to do this so why did I choose this one ?. The main reason is because you probably already have it on your computer, so it costs you nothing !.
Movie Maker is a flexible program and like all flexible programs, may look a little daunting to the beginner, however I will include a check list that will guide you to success.
Things will be further simplified because the beginner will only be using some of the available features.
Setting up your desk top equipment.
The background. The background is going to be the visible surface of your desk top, which may at present have a pattern … like wood grain etc.. My own personal opinion is that for instruction videos the back ground should be as unobtrusive as possible …. Even boring !. Also it helps if it does not reflect light and dazzle the camera. My own solution was to go into Wilkinson’s store and buy a 75 pence, black ribbed cloth table mat.
Focus.Since the boom is usually at a fixed height above the desk top it is usually possible to set the focus for that distance and then forget about it. In most of my desk top videos I am manipulating things in my hands, which means that the camera should be focused at the top of my hands and not on the desk top underneath them. It helps if you experiment, before you start to make serious movies.
On the camera cable, about 40 cm from the camera head, is a light level control, that manually adjusts the intensity of the light from the six white LED’s. A little experimentation with light levels can considerably improve the quality of the finished video. Too low a light level produces dark and murky images. Too high a light level increases light reflections and can cause ‘white-out’. There is no right or wrong here, just adjust the level to give you what you want.
Recap on orientation.
If your hand is under the camera then you will see the image of your hand on the computer monitor. Now if you move your hand forward, you would expect the hand in the monitor image to move forward. If you move your hand to the right then you would expect the hand on the monitor image to move to the right. If it doesn’t , then go back into the Manycam program and get the orientation right. Once everything moves in the right sense, you can forget about it.