Video Lighting – Umbrella vs Softboxes

25th January 2014

Well it turns out that my lighting kit purchase may not have been the best value for money.
Watch this video to see why I am about to build a softbox as well .

It is not all bad because I can still use the white umbrellas in the shoot through mode and the reflector ones set up so that the light source is as deep as possible inside the brolly.

Here is a link to what I think to be a good practicle DIY design :

Having been a kitemaker Ican sew well and have enough nylon fabric and carbon tubes and fittings to build one even better than this one.

I plan to use heat&bond to attach a reflective material to the 4 black panels and to mount a two lamp set up though the base plate . Also to mount the unit off the back to a camera tripod.

I will post again when completed

Michael’s 67 Birthday Gift

25th January 2014

My brother Michael will reach his 67th birthday tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to create something special instead of the usual short lived birthday card. Over past several weeks I have been improving my skills with Apple Final Cut Pro X and its sister software Motion 5 and Compressor. These are pro-am video creation tools for Mac.

First in Motion I created a 10 second lead-in title and exported it as .mov file.
With my newly acquired Green Screen kit I shot a short personal monologue.
These were then imported into a new project in FCPX .
Additional Media downloaded were the opening song “Happy Birthday Michael”
( ) ,
Fluttering Union Flag (  ) ,
Filling a Glass of wine animation ( )
Oceanside Background (  ? )

These were all combined in FCPX to create the 2 min 30 sec movie :

Video Lighting and Green Screen Kits

22 Jan 2014

I have several video projects in hand. These are biographical in nature – folks telling their story to the camera for the benefit of their family and grandchildren. These were started in late Summer of 2013 and shot outdoors but interrupted by my open heart surgery in September. Now I am ready to continue but Jan is unsuitable for outdoor shooting of the elderly. So I have invested ( $149 ) in a Green Screen kit and some beginner Video Lighting gear. So  that I can shoot the continuations indoors and use a technique called chroma -keying or more commonly referred to as Green Screen to add interesting and suitable backgrounds. Having made a shot test movie I am thrilled with my results.

The Kits came from “Canadian Studio” and for entry level gear I am impressed as even buying locally and sewing a green backdrop would have taken 1/2 of my outlay.
The two 7ft screen stands and a 10ft – 4 piece X-bar are quite sturdy enough and came with 3 backcloths 6ft x 9ft – Green – White & Black and included a decent a carry bag.

The lighting kit 2 – 7ft stands  2 x reflective 33″ umbrellas and 2 x translucent 33″ umbrellas 2 each light mount clamps with switches and 5500k fluorescent  lamps. Again excellent value for starters.
I have also bought a pair of silver spring hoop RV sun shades to serve as addition fill lighting aids.

A total outlay of less than $200.

Audio Management for Videographers in iTunes

9th Jan 2014

Follow up to my previous blog on using iVideo to manage Video clips.
Having resolved my video clip problem I was left with similar issues around Audio clips created for my video productions.

I edit my video using iMovie and more recently Final cut Pro X ( FCPX) .  Audio is, I believe 60% + of the message in video so having great sound is important to me. Further more I try to use only Royalty Free Material (RFA). Most of my music I create using SmartSound SonicFire Pro as clips of an exact length for the intended location on the time line. Before exporting I name the track to match th the Smartsound one and add a suffix in seconds ( Dreamy Piano 60 ) .

SonicFire Pro 5.8 has other more sofisticated ways to attach audio to video but this method best suits my workflow. For more info on this look here :

I have folder in “My Music” named “Smartsound” to which I export all of these files as AIFF or mp3’s formats which are compatable with my editing software and iTunes.

I having added the Smartsound folder to the iTunes library so that all of these Smartsound tracks are now found in iTunes . Next we need to make them easy to find and audition. I can easily do this by then amending the track info in iTunes simply by adding the Artist Name as ( TTA) and also adding a Genre name “Smartsound”. This enables easy searching and auditioning in both iTunes and FCPX.

These two steps will significantly simplify and speed up my post production work 🙂

iVideo – Video Clip Management

8th Jan 2014

iVideo Screen Shot

I have shot a lot of video over the years and although I have assigned a separate media drive ( which is backed up ) on which to store all my video – clips – projects and finalised movies etc. it has become difficult to keep track of what is where and be able to easily revue any clip quickly.

The pros mostly use CAT DV but it is too pricy for the likes of myself. I searched long and hard and eliminated many alternatives. However, iVideo @ $20 has met my needs very well. However, it does take a bit of figuring out sincelacking a manual or YouTube tutorials 🙁

Her are a few hints resulting from my initial experience :

  1. Start by looking at the Preferences – Here is where you select the settings for :
  • Sidebar
  • Screen
  • Playback
  • Converting
  • Libraries
  • Updates
Libraries is the heart of the search/scan settings.
 Open the Libraries tab :
  1. First Enter a suitable name for your first library > Enter
  2. Next look at “When adding videos – – – –  by clicking the tiny arrows
  3. You probably should not change this default !
  4. Next is : When updating this Library  —-  select one of the 3 options
  5. The most powerful for me is the Smart Library Rules —
Smart Library Rules :
 Provides 3 input boxes :
The first offers the following parameters :
  • Date
  • Format
  • Library
  • Location
  • Name
  • Size
The second :
  • In
  • NOT in
The third :
  • Hidden Folder
  • System Folder
  • Choose a folder
Under normal circumstances one would not be searching in either of the first two 🙁
Selecting Choose opens a finder window so you may select the folder to on which the ” in or NOT in ” operator will be applied.
The Minus & Plus arrows allow you to add or delete more operators to filter your search in many different ways.

Next up to find a similar  way to keep track of all the Royalty Free Audio that I create mostly using Sonicfire Pro’s Smartsound.