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> Dslr Freaks !, tips and tricks
Todd Simpson
post Oct 18 2011, 09:53 PM
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BTW: Red Gian is giving away a starter version of Magic Bullet Looks for Stills. Not that great pix need fx, but just in case they do.

http://www.redgiantsoftware.com/downloads/...-looks-limited/

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Sinisa Cekic
post Oct 19 2011, 11:20 PM
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I would like to thank to our dear colleague Andrew Cockburn on this extraordinary attachment!!

Lighting 101



Introduction

Without doubt, one of the most important ingredients to producing a good quality video lesson is the lighting. Without decent lighting, even the best lesson will be hard to follow and our students won't be getting all they can out of the video. Fortunately, this is an area of video production that is not too hard to get right, and with a few dollars it is easy to put together a system that will work well for GMC lessons!

What I am describing below comes from my research on the internet and also my direct experience - my first lessons weren't particularly well lit, but after a little work I have been able to make some significant improvements so i thought I'd pass some of the things I learned on to the rest of you!

Direct & Indirect Lighting

The first thing to realize about lighting is that there are different kinds of light! In fact its all the same thing really, but it matters how it is produced. Light that is produced from a point source is very direct, and casts very hard shadows - it is often called "hard light" for this reason. By contrast, light that is produced from a wider area casts less or softer shadow, and is called "soft" or indirect light. In fact all light is somewhere in between being completely hard or soft, it really depends on the size of the emitting surface. For instance, direct sunlight is a very small source and creates very hard light. But that same light, filtered by clouds is very soft because it is the whole surface of the cloud that is emitting the light.

In the pro lighting world, you use different accessories to get hard or soft light. Spotlights produce hard light, and are the basic type of light, if you add an unbrella to indirectly reflect the light it becomes softer. Also, you can add a thing called a softbox which is basically a sheet of cloth placed in front of the light - the cloth lights up and becomes a larger emitting surface.

Hard light is good at adding contrast, soft light is good at filling in dark areas. In a well set up lighting rig you need a bit of both. Too much soft light and your videos will lack contrast and look flat and lifeless. Too much hard light and your videos will look harsh and angular with deep shadows. Assuming that we're not all going to run out and spend $1000 on professional lighting kits, I'll give you some tips for creating hard and soft light a little later in this article!

Three Point Lighting

Now we know about the different light types, lets see how we use them to get decent subject illumination. As the heading title suggests, the best way to light for a GMC lesson setup is to use 3 lights - this is a staple technique in the world of videography and is often used for interviews and presentations.

The setup consists of 3 separate lights:

1. A Key Light - This is a hard light source, best placed diagonally from the subject, and in the case of people, slightly higher (this makes it cast more flattering shadows). In the diagram below, this is the conical light to the left.

2. A Fill Light - To balance out the harshness of the fill light, a soft light called a key light is used. This softens the harsh shadows and fills in the lighting on the subject. In the diagram below, this is the square light to the right, and you can see it casts a softer shadow.

3. A Back Light - The back light, which is usually soft too, exists to light the head and shoulders of the subject from behind, and above. It needs to be high up and pointing downwards to avoid dazzling the camera. With back lighting in place, the subject is picked out from the background and this adds more depth to the shot.The back light in the diagram below is obviously the one behind the subject!

Here's an idea of how this would all look in practice - each of these lights needs to be at least 500W, and some experimentation is needed to get the best balance of distances and powers. Once you have a good setup, write it down or photograph it or something - it is important to be consistent in the quality of our GMC lessons, and moving lights around because you can't remember where they were last time can very easily make a large change in the lighting quality.



If you don't have 3 lights use 2, if you don't have 2, use 1, but aim to get three in place if possible. In order of importance, they are:

1. Fill
2. Key
3. Back

Cheap & Effective Lighting

Pro light kits can be expensive, but the good news is that there are cheap alternatives available. By far the most popular amateur light is the humble quartz halogen work light - it looks something like this:



They come in different powers, singly, in pairs, on stands - the ones on stands are particularly good for our purposes! Start off with something like you see above, and take the metal grills off (as they cast shadows). In that form, you have a basic hard light, ideal for a key light. To make a fill light out of the above you have a couple of choices.

You can reflect it off a handy wall or ceiling - but if you do that, make sure the reflecting surface is white or you might end up with a weird glow to your videos!
You can diffuse the light - these things run hot though so be careful what you use for this - I use squares of fibreglass cloth, doubled up and taped around the edges with aluminium tape and then clipped to the lights, like this:



For my key light, I have taken a single 500W work light and mounted it on an old microphone stand to get it about 7ft into the air. My fill light is a set of 2 lights just like the above, with fibreglass diffusers, pointing indirectly, and both running at half power. For my back lights, I actually have 2 x 250 worklights clipped to my ceiling - I still need to work on this though as I think I need a little more power here.

One thing to be careful of - these lights get hot, so never leave them unattended or close to anything that might burn - the fire at Windsor Castle in the UK 10 years ago was supposedly started by one of these left unattended!

Also, don't forget sunlight! If you are lucky enough to have a room lit by sunlight, this is extremely powerful and free lighting! The best possible use of sunlight is as an indirect source of fill lighting. For this. mornings or evenings tend to be better as the light is lower in the sky and usually indirect because of this. You can suplements sunshine fill lighting with a key light to get the best of both worlds, but if you do this be careful of your color temperatures (see later).

Backdrops

Once your basic lighting is up to scratch, you can pay some attention to your backdrop. I have found a couple of useful things to help in this area:

1. Light your backdrop and use a light color - If you light your backdrop you will give your image quality a boost. The reason for this is that cheaper cameras like we use don't do so well in reproducing dark colours. You may see "noise" in areas of blackness. To get around this, just have as little black as possible! An entirely black background will give you large areas of noise. By contrast if you have a well lit, light background, there is no noise and the whole shot looks better. Make sure you are wearing something light as well for the same reason, but pick a contrasting colour from your background so that you don't merge into it.

2. Sit some distance in front of your backdrop - although this isn't possible for anyone, it is desirable - look at the image above, and you will see some shadows on the screen. Now, look at the same image, with the backdrop moved back a few feet - you will see that the shadows have gone! In fact they haven't gone, but through the geometry of light rays, they are further out to the left and right, and now fall off the screen onto the wall, and will be out of shot for your video. Of course you will also need a bigger screen for this, but this is a worthwhile improvement if you have the space for it. This also has the effect of blurring your backdrop slightly which helps with evenness, and puts more focus on your subject, which is another bonus.


With both of these ideas in operation, your backdrop will look neutral, be softly focused and bright and will blend into the background of your shot.

Colour Temperature & White Balance

One final thing to be aware of is that not all types of white light are equal! Because our eyes do such a good job of adjusting, we don't really notice this, but cameras do. Colour temperature is a term used to describe what characteristics this supposedly white light has. A lower colour temperature will have a red/orange cast to it, whilst higher colour temperatures are bluer.

Confusingly though, a lower colour temperature is called "warmer" - this is because a red/orange glow is associated with heat. Conversely, a higher colour temperature is called cooler because blue is associated with cold - so you have:

1. Higher Colour Temperature - Bluer - "Cooler"
2. Lower Colour temperature - Redder - "Warmer"

These temperatures have numbers associated with them, based on an ideal heat emitter in physics. Lower colour temperatures in photography and video start at about 2800k, which is the colour temperature for regular incandescent lights. Quart lights weigh in at about 3000 - 3200K so are less red. Traditional studio lights are around 3400K and daylight is way up at 5600k or higher.

These days you can buy a range of different bulb types and the colour temperature is often specified. IN particular you can get daylight balanced compact flourescent bulbds - ideal if you want to mix electric lighting with sunlight.

It doesn't matter what the color temperature is of the light you use as long as you adjust your camera to compensate. Many cameras have an automatic mode for this but it is best to do it manually. If you can't adjust it manually, your camera might have some preset modes for daylight, inside lighting etc. Finally if you can't do it with the camera, you can correct this in your editing software but in camera is best.

If you have manual white balance, do the following:

1. Turn on all your lights, exactly as they will be for the filming.
2. Get a white board and put it roughly where you will be sitting.
3. Zoom in and make sure the board fills the frame entirely
4. Tell your camera to set its white balance

Your white balance should now be set for this session - its best to do this every time.

If your white balance is not correct, your videos will have a colour cast to them and the colours will not look natural - correct setting of your white balance can make a huge improvement if you have been suffering from this problem.

Another important tip in this area is to avoid mixing lights with a different colour temperature. If you do mix, you will be unable to set your white balance to a setting that works for all the lights, and different parts of your set will have different colours - I know this from experience, as I currently light my backdrop with daylight balanced bulbs and the rest with halogen lights. Daylight is a higher colour temperature than Halogen so anything lit by those bulbs has a bluish cast to it. For my backdrop this doesn't matter - its just bluer than it would otherwise be, however, light does reflect onto me while I am filming and I often have to apply filters to remove a blue fringe. I will fix this as soon as I can afford to - don't make the same mistake I did!

Power Requirements

One final thing to bear in mind with any type of lighting - if you have enough lighting to do a good job, the chances are that you will be pulling multiple thousands of watts from your power sockets. If you overload a circuit you can often blow a fuse or pop a breaker - this is to be avoided if at all possible! The best way to do this is to try and plug different lights or groups of lights into different circuits.

Also, as I mentioned before, these lights get hot, so run them for as short a time as possible and never leave them unattended!

That's it for now - hopefully this will give newcomers some fundamentals to work on, and maybe it will help the more experienced instructors as well!


By Andrew Cockburn


thanks Andrew wink.gif








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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 20 2011, 06:28 PM
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Great article on lightning SInisa. I'll borrow some parts for my blog too smile.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Oct 20 2011, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Oct 20 2011, 07:28 PM) *
Great article on lightning SInisa. I'll borrow some parts for my blog too smile.gif


Have a blog? so where is the link ? biggrin.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Oct 31 2011, 07:18 PM
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DSLR PICTURE STYLE

What is the Picture style?
It is simply a preset that has a dynamic range and color, depending on which object you're shooting - portrait, landscape, sport game, night shot ...,and any DSLR camera has its own factory presets.Lately, you can find custom presses that are much better and with whom you can really improve the picture or video from your device,with minimal effort.In fact, we know how much post editing known to be hard, well, these custom presets are true rescue! I personally use two custom presets -Tehnicolor Cine Style and Marvel's Cinestyle !
Both are great !!



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Ivan Milenkovic
post Oct 31 2011, 11:21 PM
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It has been moved from gear board to instructor board, here's the link smile.gif

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/guitar_fo...showtopic=39439


But it's about video production (nevertheless, the continuous lightning system should be of interest there too).


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Adrian Figallo
post Oct 31 2011, 11:23 PM
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QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Sep 16 2011, 04:21 PM) *
Update:
Yesterday I got Canon 50mm 1.8 lens, very cheap! Amazed with its sharpness!! This is a short video and Depth Of Field test !



ahh i got the same lens, it's great for the price!


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Todd Simpson
post Oct 31 2011, 11:52 PM
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Second one looks really blown out!


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Sinisa Cekic
post Dec 8 2011, 11:56 PM
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Today I received a rare gift - Cosina 28-70mm lens.



It's an old lens, discontinued in 30 years ago, but provides excellent picture! Just to get an adapter ( M42 to EOS) so I could attach it to my Canon, you will get first hand information wink.gif !

This post has been edited by Sinisa Cekic: Dec 8 2011, 11:57 PM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 11 2011, 11:19 PM
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UH, nice! smile.gif Interested in seeing the results! smile.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Dec 14 2011, 11:53 PM
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Ok ,here it is, Cosina 28 - 70mm lens !

This morning I got a M42 adapter, which is used for a possibility to attach old lenses on new DSLR cameras.

This lens doesn't have sharpness as newer, but I like its softness and quality in low light conditions..



This post has been edited by Sinisa Cekic: Dec 14 2011, 11:54 PM


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Sinisa Cekic
post Dec 29 2011, 12:53 AM
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QUOTE (Sinisa Cekic @ Oct 31 2011, 07:18 PM) *
DSLR PICTURE STYLE

What is the Picture style?
It is simply a preset that has a dynamic range and color, depending on which object you're shooting - portrait, landscape, sport game, night shot ...,and any DSLR camera has its own factory presets.Lately, you can find custom presses that are much better and with whom you can really improve the picture or video from your device,with minimal effort.In fact, we know how much post editing known to be hard, well, these custom presets are true rescue! I personally use two custom presets -Tehnicolor Cine Style and Marvel's Cinestyle !
Both are great !!


Update :

Today I got a new Canon "Cinema" picture style. Cost $ 19 and on first sight like it. What's the deal? This picture style doesn't require any special post-production - "straight out of the camera with no color grading" (at least so say the authors)!!

I will put video test these days ,stay tuned wink.gif




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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 2 2012, 08:12 PM
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Messing around with Magic Bullet Looks and some beautiful music !

The first few seconds is a raw footage, and then .... magic wink.gif

Watch in 720p resolution





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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 5 2012, 10:51 PM
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Lens update:

Yesterday I bought a new baby - Helios 44M -2 (58mm f/2) ! Price - 10 euros !! For such a lens that's incredible !!!
I'm gonna throw a short demonstration of it these days wink.gif



This post has been edited by Sinisa Cekic: Jan 5 2012, 10:53 PM


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 6 2012, 06:07 PM
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What a great video man! smile.gif Magic Bullet Looks really looks cool, what a difference smile.gif I have similar filter for Photoshop it's called "Exposure", and have installed MBL for Vegas but didn't used it. This should help me start experimenting in that direction. Thanks man smile.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 8 2012, 12:40 AM
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PROCODER 3




Video & audio decoder of the highest class! I tried it recently and I can say that it's really superb! There are too many options, and I really do not understand much of the offered codecs, but there is a "Wizard manager", who simply explains and offers specific options, yours is just to follow the instructions to get the desired format ! Sony Vegas runs on full settings without any problem with a transcoded clip,even on weaker computers (mine is AMD 5200+2,8Ghz dual core) !! I compared the raw footage from the camera(44Mbps) and decoded Mp4 clip (15Mbps), and can't see any difference in quality!!! Highly recommend, but the only downside is the price - 500 US Dollars dry.gif


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 22 2012, 10:30 PM
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Hey guys,
My next DIY(do-it-yourself) project is a mini-crane, which gives a new perspective to video enthusiasts, check it out:



Yeah ,she's hot wink.gif



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JamesT
post Jan 23 2012, 07:14 AM
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Here's a REC take that I did using my Canon D60 and 50mm lens. Very low light for this video so I had the aperture set at 1.8. The lighting is natural, but the depth of field is so narrow that it's tough to keep a good focus if you move around in the slightest bit.

Does anyone know the best video format for YouTube uploads?
I recorded this at 1080p, 24fps. Then when loading to Sony Vegas I notice that it does not support that resolution for output. (I must have an old version of Vegas?) It's verison 8.0. And then, by the time you upload it to YouTube, who knows what kind of compression and resizing they've done.

Anyway, here's that video. I also posted it as a REC take.



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maharzan
post Jan 23 2012, 10:41 AM
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I would love to have that crane.. only if it was so portable enough to put in a suitcase.


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Sinisa Cekic
post Jan 23 2012, 11:17 AM
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@JamesT

Something is wrong, James. With a D60 you should to have an extra quality picture. So the problem is editing and exporting ! I can't remember the settings in Vegas 8 (I have Vegas 10), but I think that you should try Sony AVC/MVC exporting option,with a 720p frame size,progressive scan, 2,500.000 bit rate,format mp4 ! That should work fine for a YTube !


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