Calling all AtmosFANs! Do you want to share your passion for Halloween decorating with the world? Got a new idea or technique that you want to show off to other decorators? Why wait until after Halloween to spread the joy of digital decorations? AtmosFX wants YOU to submit your pictures and videos to our AtmosFAN of the Week contest.
Every winning AtmosFAN of the Week entry receives a $50 decorations voucher, 1000 kudos to cash in for our AtmosFAN Awards program, and a spot in our AtmosFAN Hall of Fame. AtmosFX will also select exceptional decorations to share on social media, to include in our AtmosFX Sightings videos, and even feature them in the in-use galleries of our decoration collections! Plus, you get the respect and adoration of our global decorating community. What better way to ring in our favorite season?
To improve your winning chances, you’ll want to make the highest-quality content possible. A fantastic decorating job might not translate in a poorly shot video because it’s too dark, shaky, or blurry.
In this article we’ll provide a quick checklist of easy tips, a few advanced tips for the technologically savvy, and then some more in-depth details on the most important tips.
AtmosFAN of the Week Easy Checklist
These quick tips are sure to make your video stand out.
Use a Tripod
Shaky cameras can make an image blurry. A tripod will help you get a smooth, clear picture. You can find lots of affordable and versatile tripod options for traditional cameras or smartphones from any place that sells photography gear.
Horizontal Video, Not Vertical!
Filming on phones can be both easy and high quality, but be sure to turn your phone sideways! Vertical videos show less detail, and are more difficult to include in our AtmosFAN Sightings compilations.
Don’t Zoom, Move Closer
Zooming in when taking a picture or video can drastically reduce the quality of the image. If you need to see more detail in your decorations, simply move the camera closer to the subject instead.
Clean Your Lens
Camera lenses, especially the ones on our phones, can get dusty or smudged during regular use. Be sure to clean your lens with a safe microfiber cloth before taking your shots. Don’t use paper - it can scratch the lens!
Pick the Right Time
The absolute best time to shoot your videos or photos is “Blue Hour”, which is the hour after the sun has set. This will provide enough dark for your decorations to pop, but enough light to see your home and all the surrounding details.
Use High Resolution
Check your camera settings and select a high resolution (higher resolution = higher image quality). The best resolution setting to use is 1920 x 1080 (also known as 1080p). If you can select a frame rate (the number of still images recorded per second), select 30 frames per second (also known as “FPS”)
- Here’s how to change your camera settings for iPhone
- Here’s how to change your camera settings for Android
General Tips for Great Results
Sometimes the AtmosFX team receives great content that we aren’t able to use, for a variety of reasons. There may not be enough actual content to share, or it may include something that we can’t show. These tips will help you make sure your AtmosFAN submission is approved.
Before/After Shots and DIY Instructions
Digital decorations are a lot like magic, and digital decorators are a lot like magicians. The best decorations can not only shock or surprise an unsuspecting audience, but also impress an experienced decorator who might already know how the trick is performed. That’s why it’s so cool to document not just the final product of your decorating, but also the story of how you made it magical. Your creativity could inspire other decorators to try out bigger and bolder ideas in their own creative process!
Take Pictures AND Video
Videos are a crucial part of showing off digital decorations because movement is such an important component in how they entertain. Unfortunately, capturing good video can be tricky because lots of cameras have a hard time getting a perfect image when in the dark. Taking pictures can sometimes provide more detail and clarity then a video. Having both options means we have more great stuff to share with other fans!
Privacy Consideration for Families
If you’re taking pictures of trick-or-treaters, please consider the privacy of kids and families by not taking videos or pictures of children’s faces. It’s awesome to show people interacting with and reacting to your decorations, but unless it’s your kids on camera, try not to get too close-up or shoot their faces directly. It’s good to be respectful that some people might not want their kids on camera, and we wouldn’t want to share identifiable pictures or videos of trick-or-treaters without a parent’s permission.
Unlicensed Music or Videos
AtmosFX may not be able to share content created by other companies. This especially extends to copyrighted material such as music or movies. For example, if your shot includes a Disney character, or music not provided by AtmosFX, we may not be allowed to re-post it.
Send the Original Clip
When you’re sharing your videos, you’re welcome to upload them directly to AtmosFX using the “Upload Files” option in the AtmosFAN submission form. Don’t upload them to Facebook or try to convert the videos. The original video file will give our team the best quality option to showcase. If the video file is larger than our upload will allow, uploading to YouTube and sharing a YouTube link is a good solution.
AtmosFAN of the Week Advanced Tips
If you really want to take your pictures and videos to the next level, here are some advanced tips to consider.
Photographing video projections presents some challenges that usually aren’t present in regular photography. It’s similar to pointing your camera at a light source rather than at a lit object. This can cause the subject of your shot to be overly lit and the background to be too dark.
Cameras with a properly adjusted “White Balance” will create the best possible lighting and color in your final product. Check your camera’s user manual for more information about “White Balance”.
Your phone’s camera automatically white balances for you but you might notice that the image becomes brighter or darker depending on what the lighting conditions you’re shooting in are. If you want to rely on auto white balance (AWB), make sure to try to center your image on the brightest part of the projection.
Alternately, you can download a third party camera app which usually offer extended, manual white balance control. While this option isn’t for everyone, pro camera apps are available for both platforms.
Naturally, many if not most of these apps are commercial and require purchase. Some are even designed specifically for night time shooting. It’s up to you whether this is worth a try but many apps aren’t too expensive ($5 and up) and offer extended functionality over what is included with your phone. As always, make sure you do your research and read product reviews to make absolutely certain the app you’re considering purchasing isn’t a lemon! Once you download one, your camera app should offer some basic tutorials to get you started.
We hope this helps you to get higher quality shots of your decorations, not just for our purposes but also so you can share them online. If you have any questions about getting started, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can point you in the right direction with easy instructional content.