15 Quick Tips to Shooting Fireworks

Videomaker by Jennifer O'Rourke

The 4th of July means barbecues, family gathering and fun in the sun and the party concludes with the traditional pyro- show around the country. Everyone wants to capture the family fun, but when it comes to the Big Light Show in the Sky, shooting great firework footage is more than pointing the camera into the sky. The less light you have, the harder it is to focus or capture an image that isn’t underexposed or overly grainy. Throw in a fireworks scene that changes from dark to light within nanoseconds, and your camera will need a lot of help from its human counterpart.

So I’ve got a few tips for you on shooting fireworks, and we’ll start with the gear, then cover a few technical points, follow up with the setup and finally offer a few creative shooting techniques to make your 4th of July video memorable.

1 – Gear
A 3-chip camera captures images best, and HD is awesome, but, with good shooting techniques, any camcorder can capture the show. The best camera is one with a large lens, which will let you capture the most light. The larger sensor will allow you to capture a good contrast in the darker scenes. Use a tripod, but set the drag loose to pan and swivel. A good smooth fluid-head tripod works the best.

2 – The Camera’s Eye
Never shoot using auto focus or automatic exposure. In the dark, the auto iris opens wide, searching for light. When the fireworks flare, the shot is blown out before the iris can close. When the sky goes dark, your iris opens again, searching. Auto focus is also in constant motion, attempting to adjust. You don’t want your images to blossom or flare too brightly, and auto iris will definitely do that. read more...

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