Wednesday, February 21, 2018

On Camera Lighting: Rotolight’s Solution

May 31, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Equipment, Video Production

Lighting videos is crucial to quality productions

If you’ve been reading our blog you know how strongly we feel about making your videos look as good as possible. One of the most important pieces of equipment you need to do this and one often overlooked by the novice videographer – and a few professionals – is a good, lightweight portable light.

Until the last couple of years you probably had to rely on a tungsten light to supplement natural lighting. This required a blue gel to make the tungsten light match daylight color temperature, and tungsten light often requires a heavy battery pack that drains quickly.

Tungsten light works best in a studio with access to electricity. Another down side of tungsten lights is that they get very hot. Put a few people in a small studio and it can get uncomfortable quickly

On camera lighting just got better

The good news is the recent availability of LED and fluorescent lights that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, which require less power and produce little or no heat. That’s what I was looking for at NAB. I was shopping for a solution for my studio when I came across this innovative low-cost on-camera light.

I found the Rotolight, a ring light like one of those that you can can put around the camera lens that give a nice, even light on your subject’s face. This one pushes on to the foam baffle of industry-standard microphones and sits above the camera lens. This solves the problem of having only one accessory shoe on your camera but needing to mount both a light and an external microphone. It also give you a little bit of directionality to the light.

For most general purpose, close up video work, it’s a good choice. As you see in the video below, the Rotolight rep shined the light on me and it was very pleasant. Some LED lights are uncomfortably bright up close and can be distracting. The Rotolight was a flattering light that made me look very nice, if I do say so myself! The Rotolight throws a wide angle of light to cover a subject close up but don’t count it to light a subject at a distance of more than a few feet. That’s why it’s such a soft light source.

The whole interview kit comes with 2 lights, gels and a neat little accessory pouch which you attach to your belt so you have easy access to. They also have a single light set up that comes with the travel pouch for $100 less.

This on camera lighting solution is definitely worth a look.


Choosing A Topic For Your Video

Choosing a topic for your videos takes thought

Choosing a topic for your video is a bit like deciding on a college major during your freshman year.

You either know exactly what you want to study and do with your life after college, or you become ‘undeclared’ and pursue a variety of majors to find the one that’s right for you.

The difference between college and being a special interest video producer is that you must choose a major in order to graduate, whereas you can remain ‘undeclared’ forever as you work on building a business with your special interest videos.

How to choose a topic: Two keys to picking a successful topic

The best way to get started in this business if you haven’t produced anything like this before and you don’t know where to start, is to focus on choosing a topic you are interested in and know something about.

Choose a topic that interests you

Producing a special interest video is much like writing a book. You will be spending a lot of time, effort and investment in producing this project. Your interest in the topic will give you the motivation and commitment to see the project through to completion. Then when you are ready to sell “your baby,” you’ll be more enthusiastic about promoting and marketing it which will increase your chances for success.

Once you see success in this topic and gain the skills you need, then you can branch to other niches if you wish.

Choose a topic you know well

When you know about the topic you are producing, you will use the correct terminology within that area. This isn’t only necessary to produce quality, factual video, you’ll also know the language your ideal customer uses so that you can successfully market to them. Your “marketing voice” will be more authentic.

You’ll be able to choose a good title for your video. It’s important to not only have an appropriate title but one that will also excite and entice your customer.

Most likely you have a deeper understanding of the niche so that you can expand your video products further and sell to the same customers. You’ll find that if you produce many videos within a niche, you will be seen as an expert and be set up to rule that niche.

Finally, it’s simply more fun when you know and love the topic. You’ll get the advantage of being able to indulge yourself in your topic while producing and selling a video to others who share your passion. It’s a win-win.

If you’re ready to start, you’ll want to check out the two DVDs we have, Make Money Selling Your Videos and My Secrets Of Producing Successful Special Interest Videos. We are also going to be offering a new 16 week course in our SIV Academy in July so sign up to be the first to be notified. We’ll be offering discounts to our customers.

How To Make Videos Without The Shakes

How to make videos without the shakes? Steadicam Smoothee

One of the gadgets we were in search of at the NAB Show 2011 was a stabilizer that works with camera phones like the iPhone.

One of the great things about the smaller pocket cameras like the iPhone is how lightweight they are. That can also be a problem, especially when you are shooting longer than a second or two or it’s windy.

Because the camera is so light, it has little resistance to shaking.

Has this happened to you? You think you have a steady hand only to find that when you look at your footage, the image is shaking all over the place? The farther out from your body you hold the camera, the more shaky your footage will be. I was watching a tutorial video from a very successful marketer who had shot it on his iPhone and I literally had to look away and just listen to him; it was so shaky it was making me ill!

If only he had taken the time to add a stabilizer like a tripod or monopod, it would have been a better quality video and very  watchable.

Many pocket cameras, like the Kodak Zi8, have a standard tripod screw hole and are easy to attach to a tripod or monopod. You can buy separate accessories to attach an iPhone or other smart phones to tripods.

How to make videos better if you don’t have a tripod or monopod

If you don’t have access to a stabilizer, look around to see if there is something else you can set your camera on to stabilize it.

If you must hand-hold your camera you can use your body to stabilize your shot. Get in the classic photographer stance, with your legs firmly planted about a foot or more apart. Using your right hand, grip the right side of the camera. Your forefinger should be poised above the shutter button (if the button is on top), or your thumb in the ready position if the button is on the back of the camera like it is with an iPhone or Flip cam. Your left hand should support the weight of the camera.  I also like to press the hands together in a 90 degree angle for more stability. Be sure to keep your fingers out of the shot.

Tuck your elbows in and hold the camera just a short distance away from your face. You’re using your body as the stabilizer and the closer your arms and hands are to your body, the steadier the shot will be. If available, lean against a wall or other solid object.

How to shoot videos on your iPhone with a movie look

But say you want a moving shot – the shakiness may not be as noticeable but to really get a nice fluid, floating shot like you see in the movies, we found a solution for you.

On the last day of NAB, we found ourselves at the Tiffen booth and there we found the Smoothee.  Just like the name implies, it helps you get a smooth, gliding shot with your pocket camera.

In this short video, we show you the Smoothee as well as a couple of other Steadicam stabilizers we saw at NAB.

Here is another video taken with an iPhone and the Smoothee, not just showing you the footage they shot but also how easy it is to use.

World of Smoothee from H. Wilson45 on Vimeo.

Side story: As you can see in the video, they were just getting ready to have a raffle for a Smoothee. We were the second to the last person to get a raffle ticket – and we were one number away from winning! It turned out that the young woman who jumped in line in front of us scored this nifty little stabilizer. I guess she was supposed to have it.

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