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On small cameras controls are miniaturized, fiddly, and not always placed where you want them. You set the variables in video and audio menus through tiny switches or thumbwheels. Familiarize yourself with what they offer, and run through all the options until you’ve set and reset every one. Your most frequent adjustments will be to focus, exposure, and sound level. Ideally these should be manually controlled, but this may not be feasible while operating handheld. The options you choose show up in the viewfinder as icons, so you must recognize these too—or discover later that all your participants have yellow jaundice because the winking saucer was trying to tell you, “Set white balance.”


Cover of Directing the Documentary, 6th Edition