Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Headphones: Why You Need To Have a Good Pair on EVERY Video Shoot

Good headphones are one of the most often overlooked item I see many people not use when shooting their videos. I’ve been guilty of this myself (didn’t want to mess my hair up!) and often rued the consequences (wonked out audio!). If you want better quality video, you HAVE to focus on your audio and having a good set of headphones is one of my 9 video essentials.

If you’ve missed any, here is a recap of the first 8 video essentials I’ve been talking about over these last few weeks:

1. A plan – Think all you need to produce a video is a camera?

2. A script and 3. Shot Lists and Storyboards – These are the foundation for your video.

4. A stabilizer – To produce a good video, you must have this.

5. A microphone – Sorry, you’re on-camera mic just won’t cut it

6. Lighting equipment – Want better videos? You need to invest in this

7. Reflector – Why this is something you’ll need – even on a sunny day

8. Cleaning tools – Why am I so picky about this? (And why you should be too!)


Sony MDR 7506 Headphones

Headphones are “our viewfinders to sound quality.”

Using headphones is imperative because it’s the only way you know what sound you are recording. Without headphones you have no idea if you are getting unwanted noise or even if the microphone is working.

I prefer “closed ear” headphones, meaning they have a shell that fits over your ears that has no ventilation holes. This keeps more exterior sounds out so you know what the mic is hearing.

Open ear headphones do have ventilation and are more comfortable but you’ll have a harder time differentiating between the sound that’s coming from the mic and the sound you’re hearing though the headphone.

I personally do not like ear buds because they let in too much sound from the environment but they can be used in a pinch and are better than nothing.

There are a lot of good headphones on the market. You can’t go wrong with a set of Sony MDR-7506 headphones. Expect to spend $90 to $100 but I’ve seen these headphones for less than that! That seems like a lot of money but I bought two sets of these over 15 years ago and they are still in great condition.

I’m wrapping this series up next week with a look into my gear bag and what essentials you need in there.

Now it’s your turn…What type of headphones do you use? Please let us know in the comments below.


Cleaning Your Camera Lens: Here’s Why Cleaning Tools Are A Video Essential

July 25, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts

lens cleaning kitNow we come to the item I am most OCD about – cleaning tools.  The other essentials I’ve covered in this series include needing a plan, a scriptstabilization equipment, a microphone (or decent audio recorder), lighting equipment, and a reflector.

Cleaning your camera lens is VITAL when shooting your videos. Your lens is your camera’s eyes and even the tiniest smudge will show up on your final footage and there isn’t one darn thing you can do about it once it’s there.

Cleaning Tools

Here’s why I’m so picky about this issue. I admit that I have a hard time seeing a bit of dust or smutz on my lens when looking through the viewfinder or LCD screen, so I visually inspect my lens often. There’s nothing worse than sitting in your editing suite and seeing a smear or spec of dirt on an otherwise great shot. It can ruin your whole day.

Always, always, ALWAYS keep a small lens cleaning cloth handy in the pocket of your gear bag. I’m in the habit of putting one in my pants pocket first thing every morning. You also want to launder them once in a while. Many camera places give these away for free, and you can get them from an eye-glasses retailer, too. I prefer the microfiber cloths myself and usually buy them in bulk. One of my favorites is the MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths you can find on Amazon.

The other item I keep close at hand is a lens brush.

There are many affordable and good lens cleaning kits – here’s one from Goja for less than $10 on Amazon. Many kits come with spray but don’t use anything that has alcohol as an ingredient. While the alcohol might not hurt the glass of your lens, it will help corrode the rubber linings and some plastic parts of the camera body if you’re cleaning those.

Always be very gentle when cleaning your lens. Don’t rub hard or you run the risk of grinding grit into your lens and scratching it.

Do not EVER use a wet paper towel, cotton ball or facial tissue – on your lens OR on any other part of your camera. These items have particles on them that can work into your gear mechanism.

What cleaning tool is your favorite? Have you used the new lens pens and how do they work for you? Put your answers in the comments below!

Next week I’ll be talking about why having – and USING – a good pair of headphones is another essential!

Recommended Reading:

9 Essential Tools Video Producers Should NEVER Go Without

Why is VPS Hosting Better Than Shared Hosting?

July 16, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, eCommerce

Light ReflectorWhile there are several elements that combine to make a great website, having a brilliant hosting package is probably the most important factor. After all, what is a great design and compelling content if people can’t get on your website pages to see it?

For many years, small businesses and bloggers have opted for the cheapest hosting option available, which has meant using shared servers. However, as an alternative, a Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting solution can offer a range of possibilities that make it a better option than shared servers are. Here are some of the benefits VPS hosting can bring to you, and how they’ll affect your business.

Flexible Resources

If you’re hosted on a shared server, you have the resources you’re allocated, and that’s it. As a result, if you have an unexpected peak in traffic, the chances are that your site isn’t going to be able to cope with it.This means your site crashes, and customers shop elsewhere, or find another website that is working from which to get the information they’re looking for.

VPS hosting works by amending your server power in relation to what you need. While this option still isn’t as powerful as dedicated hosting, it is ideal for small businesses that might have very specific peak times, both in terms of time of day as well as seasons across the year.


One huge consequence born from the resources differences outlined above is that VPS hosting is much more reliable that shared servers. While a VPS might still expose you to unplanned downtime, it is likely to be much less than it would be with a shared server.

SEO Issues

Website speed is a critical factor in SEO today. As a result, the difference between a site using shared and VPS hosting in the eyes of Google can be massive. Not only is website speed a factor in SEO, but spammers commonly use shared hosting, as they know they can be difficult to trace.

The problem you have on a shared server is that all the websites have the same IP address. If Google say they’re not going to feature an IP in their results because of spam or inappropriate content, you can find yourself penalized despite not doing anything wrong. Look for VPS hosting companies that offer individual IP addresses to protect yourself.

Better Websites

This point is as simple as it gets; more server juice means you can build yourself a better website. Remember, there is a big difference between ‘simple’ and ‘basic,’ and you want your site to be the former, but professional looking. Even if your site only has five pages, it can look poor and perform badly on a shared server, especially if you want to feature photos, videos, or other media.

VPS Hosting Conclusions

VPS hosting offers you many of the benefits of dedicated hosting, albeit without the total power and less some of the features, and will cost you a lot less money. Spend a little more on VPS than you would on a shared server, and you’ll see a big difference.

About the Author: Lucas Merrint is a technology enthusiast who believes VPS hosting is one of the best online solutions available. As well as web hosting, Lucas is also interested in SEO and social media planning.

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