Technique

Barn Doors & Hard Light: Aputure Barn Doors for COB Lights

What is hard light and when would you want to use it when shooting video? What are barn doors? In this episode, we have a look at creating hard light with barn doors and when you might want to put this hard light to use to make more cinematic looking film.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Aputure Barn Doors for COB120 and 300 Lights - Coming Soon

Aputure COB 120d - This is one of my main workhorse lights. Not a week passes where I don’t use it for at least one shoot. this is the daylight version.

Aputure COB 120t - When I don’t have to match existing light, I prefer to use this as my key light. Really nice, warm skin tones with it's tungsten colored light output.

Aputure COB300d - This is the big one. I don’t use this often, but when I need a lot of light, this is the instrument of choice

Aputure Fresnel Lens - This is the original focusing lens for the COB lights. If you need one right away, this’ll do the job. If you can wait a bit, Aputure announced at NAB last month that they’ll have an improved version available this year (fewer light leaks, sturdier build).

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - When I need a nice, soft light on the face of the talent in an interview or talking head video, this goes on the COB120 key light

Black Wrap Cinefoil - this is basically black aluminum foil that you can use to further shape light and block light leaks. Super useful to have on hand.

Soft Frost Gel - subtle way to soften the light just a touch

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Iexzxu

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - These are useful when I need hard light as well. I don’t have soft boxes for them so they’re not quite as versatile as the Aputure COBs, but really great lights with a super durable build. Comes in various sizes - 650, 1000, & 2000 - and color temps: Daylight, tungsten, or bi-color.

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking head shots in this episode

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Headphone and Output Routing Demo - Zoom F8 Recorder

On your audio recorder, what is headphone routing? What about output routing? And why would you want to change it? In this session, we cover the purposes of routing and show a couple of examples of routing for specific production situations. We demonstrate this on the Zoom F8, but the same principles apply on the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders as well as the professional level recorders from Sound Devices, Zaxcom, and others.

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Zoom F8 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Zoom F4 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-3 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-6 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio Recorder/Mixer

Sanken COS-11D Lavalier Microphone- used to record my voice in this session

Sennheiser G3 Wireless Microphone System (you will need to buy the right frequency block for your region - call B&H if you need help)

Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Record Live Event Sound from a Mixing Board

How do you record sound from a mixing board at a live event? Here are the basics!

Recorders I’ve used and that can record line level from a mixing board (links to B&H, Amazon, or DVeStore):

Zoom H4n Pro (use 1/4” input only)
Zoom H5 (use 1/4” input only)
Zoom H6 (use 1/4” input only)
Tascam DR-60DmkII
Tascam DR-70D
Tascam DR-701D
Zoom F4 (use 1/4” input only)
Zoom F8 (use 1/4” input only)
Sound Devices MixPre-3
Sound Devices MixPre-6
Sound Devices MixPre-10T
Sound Devices 633

1/4” to 1/4” TRS Cable

XLR Female to 1/4” TRS Cable (XLR connects to mixing board, 1/4” to your recorder. Good choice for Zoom recorders)

XLR to XLR Cable (do NOT use this cable for Zoom recorders)

RCA to 1/4” TS Cable

Anker USB A & C Battery Bank

Radial Engineering Ice Cube Line Isolator/Transformer (need 2 for stereo mixes, one for mono)

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking head shots in this episode

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount for the Ursa Mini Pro)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

There are more sophisticated live show recording techniques. We discussed some of these with Mike Stranks here:

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Sound Devices MixPre Re-Mix Demo

In the V2.10 firmware for the MixPre-3, 6, and 10T, Sound Devices added a handy set of new features called re-mix and re-record. This allows you to create a new mix of a previously recorded sound clip. Here’s how it works.

Gear and links discussed/used to record this episode: 

Sound Devices MixPre-3 - Audio Recorder & Mixer with 3 XLR and one 3.5mm inputs
Sound Devices MixPre-6 - Audio Recorder & Mixer with 4 XLR and one 3.5mm inputs
Sound Devices MixPre-10T - Audio Recorder & Mixer with 8 XLR and one 3.5mm inputs plus an integrated timecode generator
RODE Reporter Microphone - sounded really mid-range focused on this piece. This is the mic I used when explaining things.
Electrovoice RE-20 - Channel 1 microphone with high pass filter on the mic turned on
Shure SM57 - Channel 2 microphone
Audio Technica AT2005 - Channel 3 microphone, I’m always surprised at how well this holds up to much more expensive microphones. Can also be used as a USB mic in a pinch, though it doesn't sound as good with it's in-built analogue to digital converter.

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Audio Loudness in Final Cut Pro X with Free Plugin from Youlean

For those who edit in Final Cut Pro X, ensuring that your audio was loud, but not too loud, and consistent from video to video has been a challenge. Of course you could buy expensive plugins to help with this and often what the pros do (it’s the cost of doing business and broadcasting your pieces on TV). But for those who are mainly publishing to the web and working on VLOGs or passion projects, the budget for expensive software or hardware loudness meters just wasn’t there.

Recently I found a free loudness plugin by Youlean which you can get over at Youlean. **NOTE** Several notified me that the Youlean site appears to display spam types of messages and opens new tabs. Close these windows and do NOT click on the links in them. I have notified the site owner and hopefully they can fix this soon.

And once you have that installed, you can get the right loudness consistently with the technique we show here.

For those not familiar with loudness normalization, here are a couple of other pieces where we go into some detail on how it works:

Links to Gear Discussed and Used to Record the VT500 lavalier review (which we use as a demo piece in this tutorial):

Voice Technologies VT500 Omni-directional Lavalier Microphone

Voice Technologies VT500 O Eco (same microphone without the waterproof case or extended accessories and lower price)

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - for talking head shots. quite a lot of moire with this particular shirt

RODELink Wireless Lavalier Filmmaker Kit

Sennheiser EW 112p G3 Wireless Lavalier Kit (516-558 MHz)

Panasonic GH5 Camera - for product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Exposing for V-Log/HDR with Panasonic GH5 and Atomos Ninja Inferno

When I first added V-Log to my Panasonic GH4 a few years ago, I was disappointed with a lot of the V-Log footage because it was so noisy. I was hesitant to add V-Log to my GH5 but went ahead and spent a little more time experimenting with it to see how to get the best possible footage. With the help of an Atomos Ninja Inferno HDMI recorder, I’ve learned that it is really just a matter of making sure that you set your aperture and ISO a little differently to optimize the exposure for V-Log. And with the ATOM-HDR feature on the Ninja Inferno, it is even easier to quickly dial in the exposure for V-Log. So here’s how to shoot great looking V-Log video footage on your Panasonic GH4 or GH5.

Gear used to record this episode:

Panasonic GH5 Camera

Panasonic V-Log Firmware Upgrade

Atomos Ninja Inferno HDMI Recorder (simplifies exposing for HDR/LOG and records amazing 4:2:2 10-bit footage from GH4 or GH5)

Sound Devices MixPre-6 Audio Recorder & Mixer

DPA 4017b Shotgun Microphone (my pro-level outdoor mic)

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens (1st Generation)

Lifecharge USB Battery (for powering the MixPre-6)

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

How to Get Consistently Loud Sound with Loudness Normalization

In the last episode we covered how to set the input or gain level on your audio recorder when recording dual system sound (sound recorded by a separate, dedicated audio recorder). One of the things I suggested was that it is best to leave some headroom so that if the person speaking suddenly gets very loud, the sound will not distort and clip.

But the problem is that most of the sound isn’t loud enough. So how do you manage this? You loudness normalize the audio. This ensures that it is loud enough and that it is consistent from video to video.

Here are three ways to do that. The third way is to manually loudness normalize and is a longer, more involved process. You can see how to do that here:

Gear used or mentioned in this episode:

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Tascam DR-60DmkII Audio Recorder (good option for a beginner who wants to record higher quality sound - shown in the clip to demonstrate leaving headroom)

Audio Technica AT4053b Hyper Cardioid Microphone (for the talking head clips)

Sound Devices 633 (Talking head portions recorded with this)

Aputure Light Storm COB120t LED Light (Key Light)

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box (for COB120t key light)

Celadon LED Pro Radiant 2XL Pro LED Light (background light)

Panasonic GH4 m4/3 Camera

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Can You Mix Lights with Different Color Temperatures?

A few weeks ago we reviewed the Aputure Light Storm COB120d, an incredibly versatile LED light for video and photography. One specification of the COB that is a little unique is that its color temperature is cooler than others at 6000K. Many people have asked whether it is possible to mix this light with other daylight balanced lights which are rated with a color temperature of 5500 or 5600K.

In this episode, we look at cases where it is probably ok to mix them and other cases where you may not want to mix them.

In short, if you use each light to illuminate a different thing or different sides of a thing, you're probably ok to mix them. If you use two lights with different temperatures to light the same thing (e.g., one as a key light, the other as a fill), things can start to look at little strange unless you use the cooler light as the fill.

Gear used or mentioned in this episode:

————————————————————————————— 

Aputure Light Storm COB120d LED Light (6000K color temp)

Aputure Light Storm LS1s LED Panel Light (5500K color temp)

Photo Basics Barn Doors confirmed to fit the Aputure COB Lights

Panasonic GH4 m4/3 Camera - Still my main video camera

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Zhiyun Crane 3-axis Motorized Gimbal Setup and Tips

I’ve talked to several people who have been frustrated with various 3-axis motorized gimbals for their cameras. The gimbals promise smooth shots when you’re walking or hand-holding your mirrorless camera or DSLR but often people find them difficult to use. In this episode, we show you how to setup the Zhiyun Tech Crane, a gimbal which can support cameras up to 1800 grams in weight. Then we cover a few tips for getting the smoothest shots possible. Once you get this down with a little practice, you can avoid all that frustration and get the most out of your gimbal!

Sound for Video Session: Timecode Demonstration

First, for those I haven't somehow managed to tell yet, I have a couple of courses on sound for video - one on recording and one on post processing. Please have a look at them over at School.LearnLightAndSound.com.

In this week's session, we demonstrate how free-run timecode works. For those not familiar with timecode, this allows you to more efficiently sync your separately recorded video and sound clips before editing your video. It works by syncing up your camera(s) and audio recorder with the help of timecode generator clocks.

In this demonstration, we show how to do this with a Tentacle Sync, a MozeGear TIG Q28, and a Sound Devices 633 recorder. If your recorder does not have a timecode generator built-in, you can still do this by connecting another timecode generator (like the Tentacle or MozeGear) to your recorder.