Baroque Contraption

I was at the Gesù last evening during their daily “show” on the life of St. Ignatius, wherein a recording is played narrating significant events of his life as spotlights shine on different scenes of the tableau surrounding his tomb. At the end of the production, the enormous painting above the tomb lowers – by means of a baroque-era mechanism – to unveil the precious jewel-encrusted silver statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Here is a video that I shot of that final part of the presentation. The video is 4.5 minutes long; after the painting is lowered, the narrator reads the famous prayer “Anima Christi”. Following that there is a reading of a scripture passage. At some point the lights come on, etc. Then towards the end I pan the camera a bit around the church.

This was a fairly expensive camera, incidentally, and each time I use it I think the quality goes down. I’m starting to think that cameras are like watches. The last two mildly-expensive watches that I bought ($60-$90 range) did not last very long at all, whereas the cheap $20 Walmart watch that I have been using since then is seemingly going to last forever. In the same way, I get the impression that a $100 point-and-shoot would do better work than this expensive camera that I have… Alas!

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9 Responses to Baroque Contraption

  1. Leonard Adams says:

    Father, when I tapped “play” on the video, I got the following message: ” This video is private.”

  2. Based on my experience with the approx. $200 camera that we’ve used to record the DCMission videos, the settings on the camera and the lighting make a huge difference. When recording indoors, we used two or three 200-watt lights and were able to get fairly high quality videos in 1080p. Taking away the lights made a huge difference. Recording with only regular indoor lighting with my camera would probably result in a video that is not much (if any) better than a phone camera. I believe I’ve read that with more expensive cameras, lower lighting shouldn’t make as big of a difference.

    In the part on the video when you zoomed in on the statue, I didn’t see much change in quality, even though the brighter lights were turned on. This may suggest that the lighting is not the issue. But if you go outside in mid-day and record a video and the quality is better, then this would suggest that lighting is the problem. You might double-check to make sure the camera is set to record at the highest quality. I have suspected that sometimes my camera’s settings change by themselves when the camera is power cycled.

    • Patrick,

      This was with everything on the “auto” setting. When I first got the camera things were pretty good. Now I have to color correct everything afterwards. Almost all photographs come out overexposed. The video is the lowest quality I’ve gotten to date. I suspect there is dust on the sensor, but apart from that, I have seen far nicer quality shots from $100 point and shoots! This was like a $400 or $450 camera….

  3. As long as you’ve been using it under normal operating conditions (not leaving on the beach in the sand, for example), that seems strange to me that the sensor would degrade. If you would like to send the brand and model number, I’d be interested to read more about it. For that price (assuming you bought it within the last few years), I would definitely expect a high quality picture.

    • Yes, I’ve tried to take good care of it. Maybe you could email me a reminder, and once I get settled in Mexico I’ll send you the make/model. I appreciate it.

  4. Amy Welborn says:

    Father, I agree about the camera. The DSLR I bought 4 years ago – I swear the photos are far worse now than they used to be. It’s odd that I run across this post, since I was just thinking about this after our San Francisco trip this week.

    • I forget what this type of camera is called but it is not a full SLR. You can put a few lens attachments on it and it has the capability for all kinds of manual settings, but it also has automatic/preprogrammed settings.

  5. hashtagcatholic says:

    Seeing as how I may never get to Rome, I appreciate your posts more than you know. This is beautiful! Thank you!

    I’ve also had problems with my Nikon D80. Seems that everything I shoot anymore has be color and contrast corrected.

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