The Canon PowerShot S1 iS lets you take movies of digital video quality. Here are some tips in using the digital camera's movie making features:
In Movie mode, press the Function button. You can apply a limited number of effects to the movie, including sepia and black-white.
Alternatively, you can use Evaluate White Balance to give the scene a color cast, such as bluish or greenish.
Should you apply effects to the movie? In general, no, because your digital video editing software can apply these and other effects. OTOH, the software is quite slow, and using the camera's effect setting is a faster way to get the desired effect.
Taking movies with a digital camera involves trading-off quality against time. The better the quality of the movie, the less time available -- because increasing quality increases the filesize (disk space), and hence reduces the length of movie that can be recorded. To gain the longest recording time, you want to select the lowest quality acceptable.
The Canon S1 iS has settings to change the movie recording speed, image size, and image quality; these are also found under the Function menu:
* Movie recording speed - 15 or 30 fps (frames per second).
* Image size - 320x240 (quarter-size) or 640x480 (full size)
* Image quality - Normal or Fine.
To see how the settings afftected the maximum length of movie, I used a 1GB memory card, because the maximum size of a single AVI movie file allowed by the Canon S1iS is one gigabyte. (A 4GB card could hold four 1GB AVI files.)
Time - FPS - Resolution
45'33" - 15 - 320x240 Normal
24'50" - 30 - 320x240 Normal
22'46" - 15 - 640x480 Normal
11'52" - 30 - 640x480 Normal
17'04" - 15 - 640x480 Fine
8'40" - 30 - 640x480 Fine
I don't know why anyone would use 320x240 resolution; it's simiply too crude an image. That leaves the four variations on 640x480: 15/30 fps and Normal/Fine compression. Clearly (pardon the pun) 30fps-Fine produces the best quality spec-wise, but 15fps-Normal is intriquing: could it produce "good enough" movie clips?
I tested yesterday all six variations, and it was hard for me to tell the difference between 30fps-Fine and 15-Normal.
640x480 15fps-Normal is intriquing, because it allows 3x longer recording times -- or, conversely, take up 3x less space on the memory card for clips of the same duration. Yet, the quality is not significantly degraded.