I like to shoot a variety of things: events, promotional spots, mini-documentaries and I need a camera that suits this type of versatility. When I decide on a camera I try to think ahead and figure out how well the camera will work in low light, tight settings, does it have the in-body tools I need to expose the picture correctly and so on. For the past few years I have owned several different Canon cameras. The Canon 60D was my first dslr, then came the 6D, and then I bought the Canon EOS Cinema C100. These cameras did well and performed to my expectations.
Technology is advancing and some companies are not willing to listen to their customers. As a videographer, I want to buy a camera from a company that is not going to hold back features from me. Companies such as Panasonic seem to listen to their customers and give them the features they want in a camera at a reasonable price.
The GH5 is small. Unlike the full sensor 6D, the Panasonic camera has a micro four thirds sensor. What does that mean? Because the micro four third sensors are small they do not allow much light as a full sensor camera does. Full sensors allows more light onto the sensor giving them a better low light ability light. There are ways to get around this though. You can buy a faster lens which will help you when you need more light. I like to use a F2.8 or less lens. Voigtlander makes manual lenses that have a F stop of 0.95. That equates to a very narrow depth of field. To focus on anything at a F 0.95 would be hard to do, plus it would have a glow effect around the subject. Stop the lens down to F 1.4 and you will have a stunning image. There are also speed boosters that will allow you to adapt you current non- micro four third lenses to the GH5. For instance, people have Canon glass and would need to buy a EF to M 4/3 adapter. Metabones makes great adapters that not only change the focal length of your lens but allow more light to enter the camera. When you have a micro four thirds lens it is double the length (12mm is really equals as a 24mm lens). However, when you adapt a 12mm ef lens to a M 4/3 Metabones Speedbooster, you have the equivalent of a 20mm (depending on which Speedbooster you choose 0.64 or 0.71).
Just yesterday I was hired to record video of a basketball team. I had a choice to bring either my Canon C100 or my new GH5. I knew I was not going to be on a tripod, so I wanted to implement the in-body stabilization the GH5 offers. The evf is very bright and when you use it you can see what your shooting, unlike some other cameras. By using the evf you can also steady your shot better by using the eyecup as another steady reference point. The combination of your right hand griping the camera, and your left hand is holding the lens and using the evf keeps it very steady. I shot the entire game without a monopod or tripod and the footage looked fine. Going hand held with the GH5 can be done!
I also could use this camera in a restaurant kitchen. The kitchen was very small. I could place the camera in discrete areas, where the C100 would have been too large to do so. I used the GH5 on a monopod which gave me the flexibility to shoot over the head shots as well as getting low angles. The kitchen was dark and I relied on my waveform monitor that is built into the camera to get correct exposure levels.
The GH5 does not have XLR inputs but you can buy audio adapters. I recently bought a Sound Devices Mix Pre-D, which has built in XLR inputs with both line level and mic level. I then can connect the device to my camera and monitor sound.
The GH5 can quickly come off a tripod after an interview and be placed on my Zhiyun-Tech Crane for gimbal shots. This camera is very versatile, and can be used in many situations. It is becoming my go to camera.
Owning your own business is hard work. You constantly need to be on the up and up, and find creative ways to attract customers. Depending on what you sell, sales during certain parts of the year can help. Coupons can be beneficial too, as long as you don’t give away too much. One thing all business owners have is their story. Sure, you may have written a small paragraph about it on your about us page on your website, but your story told through video could benefit you so much more.
Not too long ago I did a story on Fresno’s award-winning restaurant, Rudy Jr.’s Chicken Man. Janet Walsh, the owner, spoke to me on camera about Chicken Man, and how it got its name. The food wasn’t necessarily the focus of the story but played a secondary role to the back story of the business. Sure, I captured the food and how it was prepared, but the meat and potatoes of the story was about people. People attract people, and the art of telling stories goes back to ancient times. Do you think people are going to remember the shot of the waffles and chicken? well maybe, but they will defiantly remember how Chicken Man got its name. Janet called me a few weeks ago and said business was up more than 25% after the video went online. She explained to me that many of the customers saw the video and loved the story, and that they just had to visit and try Chicken Man.
Business owners can really benefit from telling their story because there are plenty of people out there who can relate. When customers know more about you, and what you stand for, the more they will patronage your establishment. Being transparent isn’t a bad thing it allows people to see who you are and what you had to endure to get to where you’re at today. By telling your story on camera you could possibly motivate a person or two to follow their dreams on owning their own business, you never know…possibilities are endless.
One thing is for sure, your story is your story and no one can tell it like you. Share your ups and downs, you’re human, right? I just finished a story regarding a downtown restaurant which has gone through some rough times. Parsley Garden Café, has a great story and it is full of ups and downs.
More people will want to visit your store after watching your story being told through video medium. And what is great is you can post your story online to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even your own website. Did I say the cost of posting is FREE. Free advertising, something all businesses owners crave. Use video to tell your story, the sky’s the limit when it comes to this strategy.
Not too long ago I purchased a Panasonic GH5. This camera shoots 4k video with a 4:2:2 color space and it’s capable of shooting 10 bit. I am a Canon user and have been for many years, so I was hesitant to start using the GH5 for video production. I originally bought the camera to use on my gimbal. However, after viewing the footage from several shoots, I noticed how nice the image was. This got me thinking about incorporating it in all my video production.
It is a good thing to test out all your gear before you start making money from it. You really need to know the ins and outs of your gear, especially if you are getting paid. It is important to know how the camera reacts in different situations. By taking it through these test, you can be better aware of how the camera will perform in any given situation. I started shooting video of my kids around the house and outdoors shots but I really needed to take it out in a real-world situation. I needed to shoot a story with nothing but the GH5 to really understand how well it could work.
A few weeks went by after owning the camera and I read about a local business and how they were struggling to make ends meet during Fresno’s downtown Fulton Mall construction. Juan Carlos, owner of Parsley Garden Café has owned the business for seven years, and he was making good money until Fresno decided to reconstruct the Fulton Mall. During this time Juan’s customers had fight fences that closed them off from his restaurant, construction, and all the dust that comes along with it all. To be frank, the business was not doing as well as it had in the past.
After I read this article in the Fresno Bee, I decided to contact the owner. I wanted to do a story about him and his business. Many times, God whispers in my ear to do stories for people who are in need. Did I expect to get paid…no, but what I could do is use this opportunity to test out my new camera and give a local business a video they could use for promotion. I am a strong supporter of local business and fell the need to help them whenever I can.
I contacted Juan Carlos on a Thursday via Facebook. I explained to him that I read about him and his business and wanted to create a short video for him. The video would be for free, and hopefully it could help bring him business. He said he would like the video and appreciated my willingness to help him.
The GH5 is a micro 4/3rd camera, which means that the sensor is not as big as say a Canon 5D Mark lll. Smaller sensors do not perform well or as well as larger sensors in low light. This was going to be a true test. The kitchen of the restaurant has some light but it was not bright. I chose to shoot the project at 23.98 frames which allowed me 1/3 stop more than if I shot it at 29.97 frames. As I started shooting, I realized a flicker on my LCD screen. I had to change the sync of the shutter so that it would not flicker. The GH5 has the ability to change the sync so I was in good hands. The camera was accompanied with a Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 lens. Because I am shooting on a micro 4/3rd camera that equates to a 24-70mm lens. You double the length of your lens. So, for instance if I was to put on a 24mm lens it would become a 48mm lens.
The small camera did great in such a small space. While I was getting my video footage (broll), I was thinking to myself that I would have had a heck of a time with my Canon C100 in this small space. The GH5 also has built in stabilization. The stabilization helped me out quite a bit. There were times when I held the camera over my head and the stabilization really helped. I was getting shots of the food being prepared, fries frying in the fryer, and customers paying for their food. I was focusing shooting video in two parts of the restaurant. The front of the restaurant where there was more light (natural sunlight) and the kitchen which had florescent lights. Going in between the two areas, I had to change my white balance which was a good test. I was getting all the broll I could since I hadn’t interviewed Juan Carlos yet. Usually I like to interview first and then shoot what I need to tell the story.
Juan Carlos and I decided to shoot the interview on a separate day. So, I arrived after hours to complete the shoot. I choose to bring two 5600k led lights to light the interview. There was some sun coming into the business so to match the color I chose my 5600k lights. One light was for the key and I used the other for a rim/kicker light. I asked Juan to turn off all the overhead lights except for those that lit the menu up on the wall. I set the camera to 800 iso and shot the interview at 3.5 aperture. The interview looked good, but what stood out to me is what Juan Carlos had to say during his interview. He spoke about his dream of owning his own restaurant, after working as a cook simultaneously at two different restaurants. He wanted something to call his own, and he eventually had the opportunity to buy Parsley Garden Café seven years ago. As I was conducting the interview I was thinking how well this story is going to be. Everything from the subject, to how Juan passionately told it. This is a man who receives help from his family at all times. His wife works the front of the house, while he and his two boys work in the kitchen. What makes this story so great is that it is a restaurant that represents dreams, family, and hard work. Juan Carlos is determined to make Parsley Garden Café a success, and I know he will come out on top.
While I edited this story together, I realized how well the camera shot the kitchen scenes. The colors were good, and I could punch in on the interview, which made it look like I shot the interview with two cameras. All in all, I was very glad I had this opportunity. On one hand I got the chance test out a new piece of gear, and on the other I made friends with Juan Carlos. The Fulton Mall is going to reopen in late October of 2017. I have no doubt that Parsley Garden Café will be a success.
If you are a videographer or photographer you will use and buy several cameras in your lifetime. Technology gets better and more efficient and we as creatives want the best we can afford. There are several questions you should ask yourself before you plunge your money towards new gear, specifically cameras.
One question that you should ask yourself is, “Will this new camera solve a problem?” I will use an example so you understand. For the past couple of years, I have been shooting with a Canon C100 Cinema EOS camera. I use the camera on a monopod, slider, tripod but not on a stabilizer such as a Steadicam. I have tried and wanted desperately to use it on my Glidecam, however, the combination of it and a lens adds up to approximately four pounds. Four pounds does not seem too heavy, but try holding it steady on a stabilizer for more than three minutes! It gets very very heavy very fast. At times I felt my wrist was going to break and my arms were going to give. So, this was a problem.
The C100 has a very sharp image and I needed another camera to compliment the C100 when I was incorporating stabilizer shots. I used to use a Canon 6D which is a full frame camera that produces fantastic imagery. The 6D just was not sharp enough though. When you use both cameras in a video you can tell that one of them is a tad soft. I needed to fix this and I ended up shopping for a new camera that could match the quality of the Canon C100, but was small and light enough for me to fly on my stabilizer.
Not too long ago I picked up a Panasonic Gh5. This camera produces 4k video that matches very well with the Canon C100. The combination of the Gh5 and a lens is only around two pounds, which is manageable. I have tested the two camera systems and they do match well. I still must color match the Gh5 to match the C100, but the overall experience is great.
Buy the camera when it solves a problem. I couldn’t fly the Canon C100, and the 6D just wasn’t cutting it anymore, so I pulled out my wallet and paid for a new camera.
After purchasing the Gh5 I started to realize how great the imagery was. So, it got me thinking…. The C100 is five years old, a tad heavier, and shoots only 1080. The Gh5 has several of the tools the C100 offers such as waveform monitors, zebras, peaking and it shoots 4k. It got me thinking about replacing the C100 with my new Gh5 for all my video needs. However, before I even think about selling the C100 or just leave it behind, I first needed to test the Gh5 in everyday situations. Shooting flowers in the back yard is a start, but to really understand how a camera can benefit you, you must use it under stressful situations. You need to be able to understand the functions and how it best suits your shooting style. What better way to break in a camera than to offer your services for free? You might think FREE, I have been doing this videography thing for a long time, I don’t give away anything for FREE! I understand you completely. You have been working as a videographer for several years, you have the background and knowledge, but what you don’t have is experience with a camera you want to start placing in your bag to help your produce videos that you can charge people for. Trust me, using a new camera on a free gig is not a big deal. You are testing out gear and if you make a mistake so be it. People only learn from making mistakes. I appreciate and welcome mistakes when I go out with a new piece of equipment, because I grow from it and it makes me a better videographer in the long run.
I want to learn as much as I can about the camera, and how it can be a part of my tool kit for telling stories. After working with the camera a few times, you will also learn where all the buttons are, menus, and create muscle memory which is very important. Not only are you benefiting yourself by shooing a video for free, but you are also making friends and new contacts with the business or organization you are recording for.
Maybe you need to update your review section on your website. You could ask the business for a review of your services; do you really think they are going to say no after you have spent several hours interviewing them and shooting broll for them for free? Who knows, they may call you up for a paid gig later on.
It’s a win win situation. You get to dive deep in a new camera and learn about its pros and cons. What you can and cannot accomplish with it. The free video will help a business thrive and maybe they will post it on their website or Facebook page…. if it’s good, people will ask them who shot it.
So to wrap it up, think before you buy, read the Amazon or B&H comments regarding the camera and ask yourself does it solve any of my problems? How can this camera benefit you in the present as well as in the future? I strongly advice you to use the camera extensively before you use it on a paid gig. I wish you well with your new purchase.
Jeffrey can be contacted at: www.jeffreycookvideography.com
When it comes to video production many feel that video or film is the main objective. The picture is important, but so is audio. Try watching your favorite program with the volume turned down. You could probably get the just of what was going on by the action played out, but would miss a lot as well. You’d soon realize how important audio is and how it complements the videos we watch.
So, what could be said about these two microphones? Yes, one is larger than the other, the larger one has many ridges on both sides of the microphone while the shorter of the two only has a few ridges (phase-interference slots). What are these microphones and when should you use them?
The longer microphone is a Super-cardioid condenser shotgun microphone. Super-cardioid refers to how the microphone picks up the sound. When a microphone has a super-cardioid pick up pattern it picks up sound mainly in the front of it, and somewhat on the sides of it, however, the sound picked up on the sides will be out of phase thanks to the phase-interference slots. The sound behind the microphone will be rejected do to the super-cardioid pick up pattern. So, for instance, If I were to point the microphone at someone who is mowing their lawn, the mic would pick up the sound of the lawnmower, and would reject the sounds behind the microphone (people talking for ex.)
Shotgun microphones are best suited for outdoors. Their long interference tubes (ridges on the side of mic) do a great job picking up sounds far from the mic, but when you use the same microphone indoors it can have a reverb effect on dialogue.
If you are interested in capturing audio from an interview indoors, you would then want to use the shorter microphone which is a hyper-cardioid microphone. Due to its size and it being a hyper-cardioid mic, it can reject reverb that is caused by rooms with highly reflective surfaces. It too is a condenser microphone (condenser mics need their own power to operate +48 volts, usually provided by professional cameras). It can capture sound directly in front of it, and on the sides, different mics will have different results. If you plan on capturing an interview, you would want the microphone to be placed on a boom stand. By using a boom pole, you can adjust the length just enough to place the microphone over the talent. You want to direct the head of the mic towards the talent’s chest not their mouth. The further away you place the mic, the more noise you will get. However, if you place the mic too close to the subject you will get a proximity effect where the voice tends to sound too bass like. Usually you get good sound when the microphone is placed between 12-18 inches away from the talent, this is also true for shotgun microphones. Too far away, and the dialogue will sound like it is captured in the distance.
Next time you want to record audio either indoors or outdoors, you’ll know which mic to choose. There are some cases when you can use a shotgun microphone indoors when in a pinch. The thing to remember if you do choose to use a shotgun indoors is to keep the mic close to your talent when they are speaking (12 inches will do) and to make sure the room does not have too many reflective surfaces. If the room is too reflective, (tiled floors, hardwood floors, short ceilings etc.) you will need to treat it with sound absorbing blankets.
If money was tight and I only had the opportunity to buy one mic, I would choose a shotgun.
There comes a time when I think we reflect on our life and evaluate how we are doing. I do this a lot and decided to write about it. This blog post is not about a camera, microphone, or video I shot, but rather the course of my career as a videographer. I am hoping to inspire those who want more out of life to follow their passion and to not settle.
As a teenager, I wanted to make films. I wanted to be a director. It soon dawned on me that that role would be hard to fill so I considered video production. I declared video production as my major and learned about the industry. After five years at San Francisco State University, I graduated Cum Laude and received my degree in Television and Radio Broadcasting.
Breaking into the video production biz was very hard to do. They wanted you to have experience, but how can I get experience if no one hires me? So, I decided to take on a photographer/editor position at KMPH Fox News, where I made many mistakes and learned quite a bit on the job. Learning from the books was on thing, and learning hands on was another. I had several jobs throughout my news careers where the hours were not favorable. I used to wake up at two in the morning just to go to work. I stuck with these jobs so I could continue to learn, and provide for my family.
After being in the news industry for several years I wanted to do something more than hard news. New cameras were coming out (dslrs) which allowed filmmakers the flexibility to own their own cameras without selling their left arm. I mean this new technology was revolutionary and spawned a whole new outlet for young and old. With this new technology, I could make short films, promotional videos, shoot weddings. There was one problem though, I was working in news and could not rely on the flexibility that was needed to do what I wanted. Another obstacle was the conflict of interest.
Let me explain what I was doing at the last station I worked at before I move on. I was hired to edit the six and eleven O’ clock news and eventually edited the 10 O’ clock news as well. There were times when I was asked to shoot some news pieces but that was rare. I filled in as a photog when folks were on vacation and or ill. The thing is I really wanted to shoot, not edit. I felt that I had what it took to shoot like I had at my previous jobs, however I was used as their editor. I really couldn’t complain because I did take on that role, but throughout the years I yearned to be used as a photographer. Mind you, I was working from mid-day till eleven at night and never saw my wife or child. When I went home I slept. I would wake up to see my family off to work and daycare for about 30 minutes and then I was alone. Was this all worth it? There had to be a better way.
I soon left news and started working full time as a videographer for a large employer in Fresno. I slowly started buying camera gear to do what I truly wanted to do. Soon I was shooting weddings, promotional videos for local businesses and non-profits. I can tell you this: I have not been happier than I am right now.
If you are settling for a job and you really want to do something else I would like to encourage you to do it. What is the sense of going to a job which you despise? Especially if you feel you can benefit from the change. Can this new job open opportunities for you? Is it a better fit for you and your family? Will you be able to help others in need? Can you teach others your passion? The list goes on and on. My main point is, do not settle. Do what you love, and what you know you can do. Sometimes we must go with our gut feeling and believe in our talent even though others might not see it. We only live once, and we need to utilize the gift’s God has given us to better serve those around us.
Not long ago, I did a quick setup to test out my new Lowel Rifa 55 softbox tungsten 500-watt light, as well as two Aputure 528 Spot LED lights.
I first wanted to see how much light would be transmitted using the Lowel Rifa 55. It gives a great soft light that wraps around the interviewee. I placed the light about 3 ½ feet away from the subject and about eight feet high. I was very impressed with this light, and plan on using it for my key light when I need to use tungsten lights. You can also place a CTB gel in front of the softbox to change the warm hue to a more of a bluish hue to match daylight. Tungsten lights are great to work with because they produce 100 CRI. They are hot; however, you just need to be careful when managing them.
When I know I need to use a key light for 5500K situations I can rely on my Aputure 528 S lights. I placed two of the Aputure 528 S lights side by side to be used as a key. When these lights are paired up, they produce a lot of light. I took out the plastic diffusion panels that come with the light, and used silk fabric. The silk was draped over a microphone stand in which I boomed the extension arm. The light that they produced was very good to my eye. This could be a quick setup time which can yield soft light for your interviewee. Aputure lights have a high CRI of 95, not as good as Tungsten lights, but then again, you do not have to plug them in. It’s important to have many tools for each job. One tool does not cover all the bases. The silk that I bought was from Alzos and only cost $8. The dimensions of the fabric are around 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. The farther you separate the light from the silk, the large the light source becomes. Down below you can view the video which has both lights I tested.
One may ask, “What is a Telly Award?” Telly Awards.com explains, “The Telly is one of the most sought-after awards by industry leaders, from large international firms to local production companies and ad agencies. The Telly Awards receives over 13,000 entries yearly from all 50 states and 5 continents.”
I am blessed to have won two Telly Awards this year. Last year I was also awarded a Telly Award for my mini-documentary The Friday Phil. This year, the two entries I chose to enter were My Adoption, and Real Change Fresno.
My Adoption won for general documentary: individual. I spoke to the camera about how I was adopted, what I went through as an infant, and how God called on two special people who adopted me. I wrote about this first and was hesitant to even put it out there. But after I prayed on it, I decided to set up the camera and just talk about what I went through. Such as the child abuse, how I was able to meet my birth parents and sisters and the people who adopted me. I decided to share my story because I wanted those who are adopted to not feel ashamed. I also wanted to connect with those who are thinking about adopting a child. When you adopt a child, they are chosen, not forgotten…that in its self is very special.
The second entry, Real Change Fresno, was about how people can help the homeless in Fresno county. This was right down my alley. I was chosen to work on this video by Jenni Solla and Katie Williamson, who were both part of Fresno’s Leadership class #33. Their project was to help people understand what homelessness is, and how we can strive to fix it. They were very instrumental in gathering info and people we needed to interview. I always say it is the people who tell the story that count, I just put it all together.
The awards are nice, but being recognized for the work I put out is more important. I am a strong believer in getting messages out. Video is very instrumental in getting the word out. You can share videos now through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, and your own blog site. My Adoption may be the most vulnerable I have ever been. People who know me understand that I am not the loud guy at the party, I am reserved, but I needed to tell my story so that I could hopefully help others in need. Thank you, God, for giving me the will to express myself in a video that could possibly someday change someone’s life.
In today’s society, local businesses shouldn’t solely rely on their About us page to communicate to the public who they are and what they stand for. Local businesses can really stand out if they use video to help share their story with the public. You can even place the video on your about us page to help showcase what your services are and what you’re all about. The story does not have to be long, but something that the public can grab on to. Did you know that stories can bring about emotion, and people are drawn to specific characters in a story? People can identify with you as a local business too. You are not only a business that sells a service or products; you are an individual business that has personality. Showcase why you are in business, what you care about, how you would like to make a difference, talk about your top services or products. The list is long, you as the business just need to know which stories you would like to tell. Check out this story from Chicken Man, an award-winning restaurant right here in Fresno. A video like this could even be shared on Facebook, which posting is free, and many, people can view and share it.
Are you a fan of crispy fried chicken or BBQ ribs, or chicken and waffles? If so, I have the perfect place for you; an award-winning Fresno restaurant that has been serving delicious food for 50 years. What place am I talking about? Rudy Jr.’s Chicken Man located at 2707 N Hughes Ave, Fresno, CA 93705.
My family and I frequent the restaurant maybe once every month or so. The last time I was eating there, I asked the owner, Janet Wash how business was going. She replied that due to the construction of the high-speed rail, business was down a bit. Chicken Man just recently celebrated their 50-year anniversary. I have a soft spot in my heart for local businesses; without them we are left with cookie cutter restaurants that serve the same old’ same old.
I wanted to help Janet in any way possible. So, being the videographer that I am, I suggested to do two videos for them to remind people about how great their food is. I explained to her that I would not charge her anything to do the videos. I explained to Janet that I believe in her restaurant and wanted to help spread the word about her great restaurant. One video would focus on the back story of the restaurant, and the other would be a :30 promotional focusing on their food. Janet and I agreed on a few dates for shooting.
During my time shooting the footage, I was able to talk to a few regulars. Chicken Man regulars love, love, love this place. One regular said he had been going there for forty years. Another came by to pick up an order for her husband. She said he had just retired and wanted his favorite food…Chicken Man.
As a videographer, I have the opportunity to help others by telling their story in a through a powerful medium. I wanted to tell Chicken Man’s story and remind people that we have an award-winning chicken restaurant right here in Fresno. As of this blog post, I have posted the video online. Many people have commented that Chicken Man has the best chicken in town. One post mentioned that they had been going to the restaurant for over 40 years. It is obvious Rudy Jr.’s Chicken Man is a restaurant worth going to. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Down below are the two videos that feature this award-winning Fresno restaurant.
1. Brides, meet with your videographer and go over your wedding day plans. Will there be a first look? etc.
2. Supply your videographer with an itinerary of the day. This will help better prepare the videographer for certain events that will take place throughout the day.
3.Trust your videographer and his or her skills, you hired them for a reason I hope, and not just because they have a camera.
4.Videographers need to be prepared for multiple situations. They should have plenty of adapters to plug their audio recorder into the DJ’s mixer for clean audio for your finished video. They should also be prepared to move if need be to get the best shot, if it is allowed.
5.Videographers should keep in contact with the photographer and explain how they plan on shooting the wedding. This will allow both vendors to capture great shots of you and not of one or the other in your shot with you.
Being quick at your craft is not a bad thing. There are several things you need to master to deliver video production work in a quick and timely matter; I am talking about within a 24-48hr period. Some people say that one should work at a slower pace to keep the production at a high standard. I agree, with this statement when it comes to those who do not know how to execute the final product. Here are a few key points that can get you moving faster with your work.
This is what has helped me streamline my work. You may find other ways to be more efficient. The main point of this post is to be familiar with your equipment and understand what you are shooting so that you do not have to re-think it once you’re editing. By being able to work fast, you can deliver quick turnarounds to your clients, and clients like quick turnarounds. I hope this has helped.
I am a huge fan of using and optimizing stabilizing shots for my video productions. Stabilized shots add so much production value. There are many stabilizers out there on the market, and now you have more to choose from. I tend to like the Glidecam. There is a learning curve to using the Glidecam, but once you get it down, you really have learned a valuable skill. Many of the brushless gimbals out now, allow almost anyone to get smoot shots. By using the brushless gimbals, you can get somewhat smooth shots, without the learning curve of that of the Glidecam or Steadicam. The problem with the brushless gimbals is that it can look very robotic, the shots can have bounce effect when walking, they need to use battery power, and there is a specific weight limit to them.
Glidecam has been my stabilizer of choice and I have used several different lenses for my productions. I have used the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8, the Canon 20mm 2.8 and now recently the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens for Canon. I have been flying my Canon 6d with a Canon 20mm for about two years. I like what the end results are, but wanted to experiment with flying my Canon C100.
The Canon C100 is part of Canon’s cinema line. A C100 is heavier than a Canon 6d, so I needed to find a light lens that would be wide enough due to the C100’s 1.6 crop factor. For instance, the Tamron 10-24mm is the equivalent of a 16-38mm lens when placed on a C100. This is wide enough for me, plus I can zoom in a bit for different stabilized shots. However, the tighter the lens the more chance you have for wobbly shots. The wider, the more stable. I have seen some great shots from true professionals who have used 35-50mm lenses with a stabilizer which resulted in great steady footage. (You really need to practice getting the shots as steady as possible). I researched and researched different zoom lens, since I wanted the flexibility to change up my perspective. During my research, I came across the new Tamron 10-24-mm 3.5-4.5 VC lens. Sure, it’s not as fast as the f2.8 lenses I have used in the past, but it had many positives that outweighed the negatives. For one, it is only 15.5 oz. It has a BBAR coating to reduce surface reflections, flare, and ghosting for improved contrast when working in strong lighting conditions. And it is a zoom lens with vibration compensation (VC). This feature helps with hand held shots and allows them to be not too shaky. So, I could fly the camera in one shot, and then zoom in turn on the VC for a hand-held shot. This is something new I will have in my arsenal, since all the other lenses I used with my stabilizer were primes lenses.
Using the Canon C100 on my stabilizer will allow me to get not only great looking footage, but the process in doing it will be easier than before when using a 6d. The Canon C100 has a tilt screen that I can flip up to see my shots. Now in the sun that screen can reflect a lot of glare. I use a sun hood made by Sachtler which allows me to see my screen more clearly and cuts down the glare from the sun. The C100 also has a waveform monitor which allows me to expose my shot more accurately. Finally, the C100 has built in neutral density filters that I can use if the sun is too bright. If I use a 6d out in the sun I have two options when the sun is too bright. I can either screw on a neutral density filter to control the aperture of the camera, or I can raise the shutter speed, which in return gives my shots a stuttering look, like you see in the movie Private Ryan.
After buying the Tamron lens I went out to conduct a quick test with my C100 and Glidecam. I forgot to attach the sun hood to the lens, so in the video below, you will see some glare from the sun. All in all, I believe I have a winner. I can zoom in if I want, I have VC, and because my lens is light, my setup is not too heavy. If there is a draw-back, it would be the fact the lens does not have a constant aperture and that the aperture is f3.5-f4.5. But C100’s ability to perform very well under low light conditions makes up for that. This lens is only $500 and it will serve you very well. I have several Tamron lenses, and they all have been more than great for my productions.
Jeffrey Cook is an award-winning videographer who specializes in non-profit, small business storytelling.
We see them on the streets, caring their belongings and asking for money. The homeless situation here in Fresno has really unfolded. The homeless can be seen everywhere. No longer are they downtown, they have migrated up to the north end of Fresno where we haven’t really seen them before.
The first thing most people do when they see someone down on luck and out on the streets is feel sorry for them. We wonder how they got there, why they are on the streets, and how we could help. Many of us tend to pull out some money from our pockets and kindly give to them while we wait at the traffic light. I have given money to the homeless not knowing where it was going. Do you know where your money is going towards?
I was recently hired to create two promotional type videos regarding the homeless here in Fresno. Leadership Fresno, class 33 hired me and explained what their project was. They wanted a mini-documentary that explored the homeless situation here in Fresno. They wanted questions such as why they are homeless, what type of categories there were when it came to the homeless population, and how we as a society could help them. Does money truly hurt them? We spoke to many of the folks who work with the homeless population, and you will be amazed on what they said. Watch this video I produced for Leadership Fresno, and for more information please visit: www.realchangefresno.org
Shooting this mini-documentary was a real eye opener. As a Christian, you are told to give to others; however this type of giving seems to only make it worse for those who face homelessness.
Here is another great video that I shot and edited. The piece was written by Seth Scott, a member of the Leadership Fresno class of 33. Seth did a great job directing the talent. Very powerful words are spoken here.
Please share this post so others can learn how to help with this homeless situation we face in Fresno.
If you’re a business, organization, or a foundation you more than likely have thought about using video for promotional purposes. I highly suggest you hire a professional videographer to do the video work for you. You may have a decent camera laying around at home, but trust me, it’s not the tool that is being used, it’s the highly-trained professional behind the camera that counts. Here are a few points you should consider when looking to hire a videographer for your promotional needs.
1.How long has the videographer been a videographer? Now days people who pick up a camera for a few weeks think they are true professional. One needs to know how to light a particular scene, whether it be for interview purposes or for broll also known as (video footage). Does the videographer come out to conduct a site survey of the location? Completing a site survey can really help with production. If the videographer knows the layout of the area, they can be better prepared for shots that deal with light and other production needs.
2.Does the videographer have any work they can show you? And if they do, do they have any samples that relate to your vision for promotion?
3.Who has the videographer worked for in the past, and do they come highly recommended? Are they known for a quick turnaround if needed? How is the quality of their work?
4.Will they be renting the equipment (most do) but now days equipment is affordable. If you hire someone who has their own equipment they more than likely will not pass on the equipment cost to you like those who rent equipment. Also, hiring a videographer who has their own equipment will know their equipment very well oppose to trying to learn new equipment on the job.
5.Is the videographer willing to meet in person to go over ideas? Many clients want to have a face-to-face conversation with who they hire.
There are many more things to consider but these top points will stir you in the right direction. Feel free to email me any questions at jeffrey.jeffreycookvideography.com or visit my website at www.jeffreycookvideography.com
After I met with my digital marketer, Selene Kinder of Kinder Media CO. last night, I decided to stop by and see how one of my clients was doing, Señor Ají Peruvian Bistro of Fresno. Well, the restaurant was packed and I couldn’t be happier. When I spoke to one of the co-owners, she explained to me that the video I produced for them a month ago, has had over 18,000 views, 48 comments and 60 shares on Facebook alone, I couldn’t be happier for them. Their food is fantastic, and it is what was needed in northwest Fresno. If you haven’t already visited them, their address is: 6701 N Milburn Ave #130, Fresno, CA 93722
My mission is to help elevate local businesses such as Señor Ají Peruvian Bistro of Fresno. Creating videos that showcase what businesses offer and then placing that video on Facebook is a win win. The cost is low and the ROI is high.
Have a great Friday everyone!
Have you ever needed to add a voice-over to your beautifully shot video? Sure, you have, and I bet you may have even thought of completing the voice-over yourself. If you’re anything like me, that thought soon went out the window. You may have a good voice, but to tell you the truth, you’ll need a great voice with great talent. What do I mean? I mean voice-over work is an art form. It takes speaking to a totally different level. A voice-over talent needs to emphasize certain words, use inflection, and know what they are doing. You want your audio to be just as good as your images, right? There is nothing worse than an inexperienced voice-over that deflates well shot footage.
I would like to share a voice-over company with you that has yielded great results for me and my clients…. Speedy Spots. Speedy Spots is an online company that has been around for several years. This is how it works. They have several different talents to choose from. You may be interested in using a male voice for your PSA, no problem they have that covered. They also have several female voices to choose from as well. You may ask, “How about Spanish voice-overs,” they have that too, both male and female. Speedy Spots is a one stop shop for all your voice-over needs. They can do characters, children, even urban voice-overs. The best thing is that they live up to their name. You can easily get your script to them and have it completed in the same day.
First you choose the talent you want to read your script. You then submit your script online and explain how long you want the script to read for. I usually read the script before that way I know how much I will be charged. A :30 spot goes for $35. That is amazing, if you ask me. I am no getting paid by Speedy Spots, I am just very happy I have found this company and wanted to share it with others.
Speedy Spots has really made my life that much easier. I can rely on several different talented people who can deliver the goods within a day. This means I do not have to invest in voice-over microphones and I do not need to train myself to do voice-over work. If they have a question regarding the script, they will call you to confirm and I think that is great.
Your clients will definitely be impressed, and the work will be that much better. Check them out at www.speedyspots.com
If you haven’t heard, video is exploding on the internet. More and more small businesses are turning their marketing efforts towards video. Why, you might ask? Businesses can post their video on their websites, send them via emails, and post them on Facebook and Instagram where they have the potential to be seen by thousands. Oh, and did I mention that you save money doing it this way as opposed to having a television station run your ad.
1. Well planned videos can showcase your brand’s personality. Your business can show who they are by creating clever videos. Videos that have personality are more than likely to be remembered. And if you are in the minds of your potential client you have more opportunity to sell to them. Have fun with the video, demonstrate one of your products. People love to learn how a product or service can benefit them.
2. Testimonials can really push your business to the forefront. Ask current and past clients if they would be willing to go on camera and speak about their experience. I do not think you need hundreds of people for your testimonial video, but I would interview more than what is needed. This way, you can select the best ones. Some people may have some very powerful key words that were spoken on camera and others might not have the same punch as others. My philosophy is that it’s always better to have more than what you need. The video should be no more than a minute. Quick soundbites work best, and more people are willing to watch a minute rather than a long five-minute piece.
3. Create videos that tell stories. You could create three videos that connect a storyline. You should be creative, the buzz you will receive from the viewers will be in abundance. Create suspense with the videos so that the viewers can anticipate your next video. Each video will start off where the last one ended. This is a great way to get attention and sell at the same time. People do not want to be talked down to, they want to be entertained. Heck, if you can sell cleverly through entertainment, it’s a win win.
It’s a new year, and you’re ready to invest in your craft and start creating higher quality videos. If you’ve already got a DSLR and are using it proficiently the next most important purchase is going to be a DSLR camera stabilizer. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of stabilizers but they all share a basic function: to eliminate a shaky camera shot and enable the videographer to walk or run while maintaining a balanced, in-focus shot.
There have been many attempts at creating the best method to achieve smooth handheld video, but utilizing a gimbal, or pivoting point along an axis, has proven to be the most effective. The 3-axis gimbal being the most versatile. Let’s take a look at handheld (manual non-motorized) stabilizers and compare them to software (motorized) gimbals.
Traditional handheld stabilizers like a Glidecam are often less expensive because of the fact that there is not a motorized element. That’s not to say you can’t buy a pricey one, but comparably, a handheld stabilizer will be less expensive than an electronic one. So if budget is your biggest obstacle, a non-motorized stabilizer is in your best interest.
One of my favorite things about a handheld stabilizer is that there is no need for more batteries to keep track of. Because it is non-motorized, it’s lighter, it won’t die in the middle of a shoot and best of all, it can be used in all sorts of weather and you don’t need to be delicate with it. Repairs can often be done with a few hand tools as well.
Handhelds aren’t perfect though. They can often be temperamental, and I find that they are harder to initially balance and to adjust. Because there is no motor to assist the operator, a handheld stabilizer usually comes with a steeper learning curve. However, once you’re used to it, the results can be extremely smooth and fluid.
Electronic software gimbal stabilizers have a pretty big range, both in price and functionality. You can buy a pretty serious rig, like a DJI Ronin for about $2000 and it’s bluetooth compatible. Aiming, focusing and adjusting can all be done remotely, but lower end options still exist for DSLR shooters. Smaller, less complex ones can cost as little $600 and deliver on their promise of ultra-smooth footage, even while running at full speed. (At least, once you get the hang of it). They can balance within about 30 seconds and re-balance just as quickly if you need to adjust the lens or change batteries. An electronic gimbal won’t lose the horizon as easily as a handheld either. Personally, I find the movement and therefore the footage to be smooth and steady but with a hint of robotic motion.
A motorized stabilizer does have its drawbacks though: Battery life, and weight are both huge issues and weather-proofing must be done properly or they’re unusable outside if it’s raining. The set-up and calibration can also be quite complex and some even require a computer to fine tune the motors. Finally, if there are any software problems or repairs needed, they may not be able to be easily solved by novice users.
When buying a camera stabilizer there are clearly lots of options and a great deal to consider before making your purchase. If you’re new to videography, I’d recommend starting on the inexpensive side and working your way up to the more complex big rigs. If budget isn’t an issue and the world is your oyster, then it purely depends on what suits your needs best.
This article written by Guest Blogger: Katie Conlon
Katie Conlon is a young freelance writer who recently graduated from a university filmmaking program. She manages the blog and social media program for video equipment maker ProAm USA. When not on her laptop, Katie can be found snapping images of friends and family, or hiking outdoors with her beloved dog Turner.
Here is a recent video I produced last week and look at all the views and shares it has received on Facebook!
1. Best Way To Tell Your Business Story
Introduce yourself, your brand and your product within a 2-5-minute span and see your sales sky rocket. You can tell your story and get in front of thousands of customers. Video marketing allows you to explain your services, product, brand in a creative way which people can understand. Many people do not have time to read long blog post, but many watch videos on Facebook; so if your video is created cleverly, they will watch and remember you.
2. Increases Brand Awareness
Small business owners have passion, and there’s no better way to showcase that passion than by video. Customers like to see who is behind that passion, and you can benefit from this by introducing yourself to your community. Video not only allows you to educating your viewer, it also builds trust and authority. As you provide your customers with great content they will see how valuable you and your business are. Did you know more people remember videos than written content?
3. Ads Have An Increased ROI
Facebook allows you to pin point your target audience. If you know who you want to target, you can very easily do so with Facebook. And once you do, those post can be shared, that is the digital equivalence of word of mouth. Videos on Facebook can very easily go viral which will enhance your selling margins. Paper ads are yesterdays’ selling technique, today it is all about getting your business on Facebook. Just look around, and you’ll see people on their phone. Your smartphone is the new television. No longer do you need to send your video ad to a costly television station. Running promotional ads on television is costly and not as effective as they used to be. Facebook allows you to run your business video ads in a few simple steps and at a very low price, which allows you to benefit from greater ROI.
4. Increase Sales
Businesses who focus on video are growing their revenue more than 45%. It’s a proven fact that customers are more attracted to buying after watching a short video. You may be flustered with how you can accomplish this? But I am here to tell you that there are creative people out there waiting to help you succeed with creative video. Videographers understand this medium the best, and they are the professionals that can help you succeed. Do yourself a favor and hire a videographer to create a stunning video that can reach thousands of potential customers. Now is the time to take advantage of using Facebook for your video needs. I will leave you with these three words; lights, camera, action!
I have been working in television/media for over 16 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, and storyteller. It is my belief that you have a chance to better your skills each time you pick up the camera. I strive to be better than I was yesterday.