Using a remote camera can be a great way to capture images from an angle inaccessible to a photographer. It also allows a photographer to shoot from two angles simultaneously.
Often used by sports photographers, remotes can be hung in the rafters for a dramatic overhead shot of the basketball hoop as players battle for a rebound or inside the net at a hockey game for the 'net-cam' perspective.
There are a few things to remember when rigging a remote:
Safety First: When attaching a camera to an overhead location, you must be absolutely, 100-per-cent sure that it is securely fastened with a magic arm or some other mounting device, as well as an additional safety cord. Using some duct tape to attach the camera strap to something sturdy can also help save your camera (and anything beneath it) from a nasty fall if your mounting device should slip. When mounting a remote camera, always use an abundance of caution and common sense.
Framing: Try to anticipate where the decisive moment will take place and frame your shot accordingly. It's often better to compose your frame a little bit loose by zooming out a bit. Better to leave a little breathing room and crop in later than risk cutting off important elements should the action shift out of frame.
Preset your Exposure: If the lighting situation is consistent and you're confident it won't change, you can set your exposure using the manual setting. However, if the light unpredictable (i.e. when dealing with spotlights or under variable lighting conditions) you may want to set the camera to one of the auto exposure settings.
Pre-Focus: Set your camera to manual focus and pre-focus the lens to the exact spot where you anticipate the action will take place. It often helps to have a friend stand in for you. Keep in mind a greater depth of field will give you a slightly greater margin of error here. Once you've fine-tuned your focus, be sure to use some gaffer tape to keep the focus ring (and zoom ring) from moving.
Wiz it Up: Using an appropriate shutter release cable, rig a Pocket Wizard receiver (or another remote device) to your camera. If you are at an event where other photographers are likely to also be using remote cameras, be sure to touch base with them before to ensure that you aren't using the same radio frequency.
Freshen Up: Make sure you have fresh batteries in the camera and the Pocket Wizards. Also, be sure to insert fresh memory cards with plenty of space.
Check, check, check: Take a few last test frames, check your framing, focus, exposure and your transmitter. Lastly be sure your rig is securely fastened.
Now all that's left is to take a deep breath and cross your fingers. Good Luck!
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