Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Panasonic Video Camera Review: Meet The Panasonic AG-AC90

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Equipment, Video Production

Meet the Panasonic AG-AC90 in this Panasonic video camera review.

Panasonic does it again! Last week at DV Expo, I was able to get Panasonic’s Jan Crittenden on camera again showing us what’s new in cameras within the prosumer camera market. She eagerly pulled out the new Panasonic AG-AC90 AVCCAM Handheld Camcorder and excitedly began to tell me why she’s so excited about this new camera that will be available next month (October 2012) in the $2,000 price range.

It didn’t take me long to see what all the excitement was about. This camera delivers features that you usually will only find in a much higher priced camera. In this video you’ll see why I was so impressed as Jan:

  • Showcases what I think is the best feature – it’s exceptional audio capabilities (this goes beyond my expectations of what a camera can do at this price point!);
  • Covers the addition of the separate iris, focus and zoom rings (manual control is one of my must haves);
  • Explains why it’s perfect for run and gun shooting;
  • Goes over all of the benefits it has for the videographer – its ability to record 2 SDHC cards simultaneously for instant backups, low-light sensor, auto white balance and stabilization;
  • And more!

(If you’re unable to watch the video on this page, go to YouTube to view it.)

She covered a lot in this 7 minute video and left me salivating for one! If you’ve been lusting after the AG-AC130 and the AG-AC160 that we reported on last year yet your budget is more in the $2,000 – $2,200 range this is one camera to seriously consider. This one may be the one that switches me from a Canon user.

Lighting A White Background To Get That “Heavenly” Effect

September 25, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Video Production, Video Production Tips

As I shared in my post on shooting green screen videos without a green screen, I said that I’d give you some more specifics on how to create that “total whiteout” background Kim and I have been using in our Special Interest Video Academy videos. You see this increasingly on commercials, particularly the Apple and TMobile spots. The result is the person looks like they are in a cloud, or in heaven.

It is actually quite easy to do. We use a large sheet of white photographic backdrop paper, but you could use anything that is bright white including a wall, however the less texture and wrinkles the better. I place the subjects, usually Kim and/or me, about 8 feet in front of the backdrop.

In our studio I place two large diffused softboxes on Kim or me, each outputting 600 watts. Sometimes I place them equally at a 45 degree angle to us to give us very flat lighting. Other times I’ll add more light to one to give more of a key light.

I place two additional softboxes without the diffusion screen at equal angles, pointing at the white backdrop. I get the light to fall very evenly across this area. I pour 1,200 watts from each box onto the backdrop, for a total of 2400 watts.

When I expose for our faces the backdrop is highly over-exposed, so much so that it is totally washed out. I expose for our faces by zooming into them, getting the correct exposure then zooming back out again.

If you don’t have this kind of light output you can use less, just try to keep the ratios about the same. I recommend that you throw two times or more as much light on the white backdrop as you do on someone’s face. If you can display zebra stripes in your viewfinder the backdrop should be exceeding 100 ire, meaning all of it should be crawling with zebra stripes. If you see any areas that aren’t, adjust the lights to cover them. (For those of you who don’t know what I mean by zebra stripes, that will be covered in another post.)

That’s all there is to it.

You also may want to read an earlier post I did on studio lighting. Also one of the best sources for lighting kits that include backdrops is Cowboy Studio.

Here’s a special tip: I’ll add a reflector right in front and below us to throw some light up into our faces from below; this helps to eliminate shadows and removes a few years from seasoned faces. It gives a nice glow to your skin. Just don’t overdo it.

Oh, and I also have a 300 watt light above and slightly behind us to throw a little hair or rim light onto us.

Experiment and have fun.


Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit

5-in-1 Collapsible Photographic Lighting Reflectors

Green Screen Videos…Without The Green Screen

September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Video Production, Video Production Tips

The other day we were going to shoot some green screen videos for a client. Unfortunately, when she arrived we saw that she was wearing a bluish green top so we went to plan B and shot her on a blown out white background. This is the set up we used for our SIV Academy.

Here’s a frame grab of Kim on our white background.

Kim MillerBecause our client had blond hair, I think she’ll key out better with the white background anyway. I’ve found that fair haired people, especially wispy, white haired folks, are difficult to shoot on a green backdrop because the green light bounces back on them and gives the hair a green tint around the edges. Since you can select any color to key out, I’m finding this white background works very well (as long as the person isn’t wearing white).
The trick to getting a good chromakey is nice even lighting on the backdrop. When I am shooting in front of my green screen backdrop, I also try to keep the person as far in front of the green screen as possible to avoid having green light bouncing back on them.
I find playing around with chromakey to be fun. You can do some really crazy things with it. Here’s an inexpensive green backdrop if you want to try your hand at green screen videos.

We’ll be offering a course on how to shoot green screen under the SIV Academy so get on the list and we’ll let you know when that is available.


ePhoto 10×12 GREEN 10×12 Foot Chroma Key Green Screen Muslin Backdrop – from Amazon

Cowboy Studio Video Lighting Kit – from Amazon

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