Digital Camera Battery Life:
How Not to Run out of Power!

Digital camera battery life

Conserving digital camera battery life may be the key to capturing all the footage you need for your video! Don't miss out on that one great shot or scene because your camera has run out of power. Here are some tips that can help you conserve your digital camera's power when you are out on a shoot!

Digital Camera Battery Life… Power Basics…

Digital camera battery basics

Digital cameras normally require a low-voltage direct current DC power supply. 

This power generally comes from an in-camera battery (which is DC voltage) or an alternating current (AC voltage) adapter plugged in to the camera, which converts the AC voltage to DC voltage.

Experienced camera operators generally carry multiple camera batteries (or battery packs) on a Shoot...  (A Shoot  is the period of time where you are filming or videoing material for your production)... just to be sure that they won't run out of power.

Also, there are other digital camera power options, including:

  • Battery packs,
  • Battery belts and
  • Special power supplies.

But… Even with carrying a lot of extra power... the Pros also know how and when to conserve their digital camera battery life!

The Simplest Way to Conserve Digital Camera Battery Life...

Digital camera battery – conserve battery power

The most obvious way to conserve your digital camera battery life is ...

To either switch the equipment off when you are not actually using it or switch your camera to a standby (warm-up) mode so that it is only using minimum power. 

You would most want to do this when you are...

  • Setting up static shots,
  • Organizing action or equipment,
  • Setting up retakes,
  • Reviewing the recording, Writing production notes etc.

It is easy to squander valuable digital camera battery life... You always want to conserve as much power as possible so that you are sure that you can shoot all the footage you need and want for your video production.

Here are a few tips that can help you conserve your camera's or camcorder's power while out on a shoot...

Tips for Enhancing Your Digital Camera Battery Life...

Tip #1:
Always buy a High-Quality Long Life Battery for Your Digital Camera…

Digital camera battery – high-quality battery

Buying a high quality long life battery is the easiest way to ensure that you have enough battery power to get you through your shoot.

High-quality batteries will usually charge to their full capacity so that you get the expected number of hours from a charge cycle. With a cheap battery you normally get what you pay for as far as digital camera battery life… the problems of an inferior battery include...

  • Weak battery cells that are unreliable and uneven when charging,
  • Fluctuations of power (that can be damaging to your camera) and...
  • A short overall battery life.

Tip #2:
Fully Charge Your Battery before the Shoot…

Digital camera battery charging

Camera batteries can lose charge when they have been stored for a long period of time or been subjected to extremes, temperature wise, even if you stored the battery at full charge... i

t's still a good idea to plug your digital camera or camcorder in the night before to make sure you get the most you can out of the battery when it matters. You don't want to lose that "perfect last shot" just because you ran out of power when you needed it at the end!

Tip #3:
Always Carry an Extra Battery or Battery Pack…

Extra digital camera batteries

Carrying an extra fully charged battery or battery pack is the easiest and most sure way to ensure you have enough camera battery power to make it through a whole shoot and able to capture all the footage you need.

Extra batteries can sometimes cost a bundle but... can be very well worth it when it comes to videoing an important event such as a...

  • Graduation,
  • Wedding,
  • Important speech or
  • Other once-in-a-lifetime event...

When you're recording these types of events... if you miss shooting any of it it's gone forever. Also... be sure to check to make sure your extra batteries are charged up before you head out to shoot an event. 

Remember… Don't leave anything to chance when it comes to having power for your video camera!

No power = No video!

Tip #4:
Buy and Use an External Battery Charger…

Digital camera battery charger

If your camcorder uses "itself" as a battery charger then you may want to consider purchasing an external battery charger.

With an external battery charger you are able to have a battery constantly charging while you are using your digital camera or camcorder. 

You can also bring along your external charger to your shoot so you can plug it in and charge your extra batteries or battery packs on-site while you are using another battery in your digital camera or camcorder during the shoot.

Tip #5:
Use the Viewfinder Not Your Camera's LCD Screen When Lining up Your Shot…

Digital camera battery – using viewfinder versus LCD screen

The LCD screen uses quite a bit of your digital camera's battery power... your camera's viewfinder uses very little.

If you are in a situation where you want to conserve your camera's battery power then close the LCD screen and use the viewfinder, if you have one on your camera.

Tip #6:
Save the Viewing of Your in-Camera Video Footage for Later…

Digital camera battery – previewing camera footage

Navigating through in-camera video footage and then playing back the footage you have just recorded is a quick way to drain your digital camera or camcorder power.

Try to save the viewing of your freshly recorded video footage for times when your digital camera or camcorder is plugged in to a power source or when you are back at home or studio and don't intend on recording any additional video footage. 

Sometimes, of course that's not possible… You need to see what you've just shot… But if you know that's going to be the case then plan accordingly and carry extra power with you.

Tip #7:
Make Your Digital Camera or Camcorder Work Less…

Digital camera battery – make your battery work less

Common actions like frequently turning  your digital camera or camcorder on and off or camera operations, such as a lot of zooming in and out, can really drain your digital camera battery power fast.

Keep things like that to a minimum when you can. Try to plan ahead when you're shooting an event… Even a simple shot lineup "in your head" (sort of a "mental" storyboard) will make you much more organized and efficient in shooting the footage that you want…  And also ... save you work, and some precious battery power as well!

Tip #8:
Plug Your Video Camera or Camcorder into a Power Outlet If Possible…

Digital camera battery – plug your camera in

If you do not have to “roam” for your shots and you have the option to plug your digital camera or camcorder in to a power source at an event... Plug It In!

Plugging in your digital camera or camcorder to a wall socket or other external power source is the easiest way to ensure you have enough power to make it all the way through an event or a shoot with no problems.

For long events such as:

  • School Plays,
  • Speeches,
  • Lectures,
  • Graduations,
  • Concerts, Etc.

Select a seat or area near the back of the room or venue where you have:

  • An excellent, unobstructed view of the event (make sure it's out of the way of traffic that can spoil your shot)...
  • Where you can set-up a tripod as a stable platform and...
  • Plug your digital camera or camcorder into an electrical outlet if possible.

A lot of times ... These types of events "take as long as they take". The above is the surest way to capture excellent video footage and not worry about how long the event will last and/or if you will have enough battery power to capture all of the video footage you need! 

I hope these tips for extending your digital camera battery life will help you to avoid being left without camera power at a critical moment when you're shooting your video footage.

I know that you don't want to miss that one "perfect shot" that you need to complete your video production masterpiece!

Have fun...!  Dan (Editor)

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