How to set up
a video/audio blog and a podcast. Freevlog.org
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Free, clear and very useful.
How to use online
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TechSoup offers a wide range of help topics for building, maintaining
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How to do "live"
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Vital stream offers a variety of packages for serving up "live"
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This tutorial page takes you step by step through the process of
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How to get a
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MayFirst is a union friendly web hosting provider that offers a
range of useful and advanced content management services.
Skype is a virtually
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Signing up is easy and fast, and all you need is a mic/headset or
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TO SHOOT VIDEO
Labor Education Service,
University of Minnesota
Fax: (612) 624-1585
I. FIRST STEPS
A. Power on
1. Main power
2. There may be a secondary toggle switch with different settings.
Set to "standby" to be ready to shoot. On some cameras
be sure “camera” instead of “deck” or “play”
function is selected.
3. Remove or click off lens cap or cover.
B. FILTER/COLOR BALANCE
1. White balance - aligning the chips to the color of light
a. Consumer cameras do automatically. If you move quickly form indoors
to outdoors, the picture may look too blue. Indoor shots may look
too yellow if you are shooting as you go inside.
1. Put battery in microphone (if needed. Batteries wear out if stored
in mics and can corrode them).
2. Connect mic to cable and cable to appropriate camera input.
3. Turn mic(s) on.
6. There are two channels of audio on DV, VHS and S-VHS tapes. Most
cameras: the same signal is recorded on both channels from one microphone.
D. OTHER SETTINGS
1. For this class, set camera on automatic setting.
1. A tripod is highly recommended for interviews and long distance
shots. In fact, any time you can use one, do so.
2. Set-up: Extend legs to appropriate height and be sure they are
locked. Level using balance bubble.
3. If you don’t have a tripod or can’t use one in the
yourself against a wall, tree, etc. or place camera on table, etc.
tilting to needed angle with book, wallet or whatever is handy.
4. Many tripods have a "quick-mount" plate. Screw this
into the camera. Then the camera can be taken off or put back on
the tripod in a moment.
1. Insert blank tape, tape spools toward camera, label facing out.
2. High quality tape
is strongly recommended. Mini DV tape has high picture quality,
but the tapes are fragile and can wear out or break after many playings.
If the material on the tape is important, copy it to another tape
or digitize it to a drive as a back-up.
3. Always use the same
brand of tape in a particular camera. Different brands use different
tape lubrication and when they mix they can become like glue and
damage the camera.
G. Space at start of tape.
1. . Record 15-30 seconds of black or of something that's not essential
at beginning of each tape.
2. Beginning of tape sometimes unstable picture and sound..
3. Leader of tape gets most wear and tear, so you don't want
important images on this part of the tape anyway.
H. You're ready to shoot!
II. TIPS FOR GENERAL SHOOTING
A. Try to hold every stationary shot at least 10 sec. It takes 5
sec for the camera to get up to proper recording speed, so make
sure you anticipate this and shoot some extra at beginning and end
of shots. The natural inclination is to hold for much less than
this, resulting in jerky shots and not having enough of a shot to
make it useful in editing. It actually helps to count silently to
yourself to get used to what seems a long time when you're shooting.
B. If the power is turned off, most cameras roll back to avoid leaving
sections of blank, unrecorded tape, which looks like "snow"
between sections of tape. (The recording process leaves a "control
track" on the tape, which enables VCR's and editing decks to
keep track of time on the tape. Unrecorded, blank intervals on a
tape disrupt this tracking and cause editing and playback problems.)
So you should shoot an extra 30 sec or so before you turn off the
camera and when you don't plan to shoot for a few minutes, to make
sure the very end of important footage isn't erased when you shoot
again. (Many cameras will roll back and shut off automatically after
two or more minutes in pause to protect the camera recording heads
C. Keep your camera movements much slower and more deliberate than
your first impulse. The camera seems to exaggerate movement and
your audience will be dizzy if you move too fast.
D. You can use the auto setting for exposure, but may want to use
manual in some situations, as you get used to shooting, especially
in unusual lighting situations.
E. Avoid back-lit and high contrast situations or adjust the exposure
by opening the lens, (unless you want a silhouette, which can be
dramatic, but is rather disappointing for an interview.)
A. Try to get a variety of shots at different distances and framings
of your subject.
1. Try to be conscious of everything in the camera frame and try
for interesting compositions. This takes practice and observing
other visual media.
2. Try to shoot a wide shot that includes all the essential parts
of a scene to orient the viewer. Shoot medium and close-up shots
to emphasize details and make the visuals more interesting.
3. Think about what is happening and what details are important
to tell your story. For example, fingers positioning a nail or a
close-up of a hand on a saw, or a medium shot putting siding in
place or a wide shot of the framing of a house all help to explain
a carpenter's job.
B. Video has the advantage of movement to make points.
1) You can use a pan (move side to side) between people to emphasize
how they are talking or interacting.
2) You can zoom out from a close-up of one person's face to a wide-shot
of a crowd at a demonstration to emphasize solidarity.
3) Often, there won’t be time in a section of your video to
use a 30 second panning shot. So make sure to shoot 5-10 seconds
at the beginning and end of a pan or tilt, so you can use that static
shot. It also often looks better to dissolve from one still shot
to another so the static part at the start and end of a moving shot
will make it possible to dissolve smoothly into other shots when
4) Be creative and try to mix a variety of still shots with moving
ones to tell the story and develop your own style.
The biggest difference between good and bad video programs is sound
1. The main secret is to get the mic as close to the source as possible,
especially if it's a person talking. Put it on a stand, pole or
clip it on the speaker’s clothes.
2. Take care that no one handles or trips on the mic cables, which
produces noise when touched too roughly. Wireless mics are a great
innovation, though pricey and work well, unless there are a lot
of competing frequencies, as in some convention centers.
3. If possible, monitor the sound through headphones as you are
recording. Then you can catch hum and noises you may not otherwise
notice and fix them while you still can.
4. There may be need to block wind noise outside by a special "wind
sock," placement inside the speaker's clothes or facing away
B. Microphone types and uses
1. Directional/shotgun: narrow, focused pick up for sound from a
distance or for interviews when you want to mask out other sounds.
Generally used on a pole and held and pointed by a sound person
or mounted on camera.
2. Omnidirectional: picks up sound in every direction. Used on table
in conference rooms or to pick up general ambient sound.
3. Cardioid - has a heart shaped pick-up. Often used for speakers
at podium or by singers. Can be mounted on stand or held. A small
one called a "lavalier" is hung or clipped on a person
in interview situations.
4. All mic types are available in wireless versions that send a
signal to a receiver at the camera without a cable connection.
V. SHOOTING INTERVIEWS
2. Mic (lavalier or shotgun)
3. Tripod (It's really hard to hold a camera steady for long.)
4. Lights - usually 2 or more and/or a reflector (not always necessary
outside, but may be helpful to reduce contrast)
5. Chairs - two, for interviewer and interviewee (optional - depends
on situation. Standing or leaning can be effective and appropriate,
as at a rally or construction site.)
B. INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES, PRINCIPLES & AESTHETICS
These tips also apply to a demonstration or "how-to" video
or any situation where the same person is seen talking or doing
something for some time.
1. Look at whole viewfinder/picture frame. What do background, surroundings
convey about the person and message? Do they enhance the picture
and point of the program or distract from them?
Move things around in the background if it would improve the picture
and message (and you have permission and time). Be aware of and
include complementary or repeated shapes and colors (again, if there's
time!) in the composition.
2. Position person some distance from background for separation.
3. Move camera close to subject if out-of-focus background is desired.
(Depth of field or focus is less at closer distances.) Or use a
more telephoto lens setting. The “longer” or more telephoto/close-up
the lens, the less depth of focus and the more out-of-focus the
background will be.
4. Set camera lens at eye level of person speaking. Looking down
or up at people has connotations of a superior or inferior position
and viewers may unconsciously be affected by such perspectives.
Also, people don't look great when staring up their nostrils or
down at the top of their heads.
5. Place interviewer as close as possible to the lens on one side
or the other of the camera and at the same height as the subject.
Ask the interviewee to look at and talk to the interviewer instead
of the camera. It's weird to stare into an unresponsive lens and
people feel more comfortable talking to a person - like a real conversation.
6. Usually, frame person off-center for a dynamic picture, with
more space on the side toward which she/he is looking and talking
(called "speaking room"). Centering the person may be
desirable if the person is looking straight at the camera, but it's
a more static composition.
7. Change the shot periodically, from close-up to medium or wide
shot. (A good opportunity is when questions are asked, so the camera
movement happens in a part of the tape that won't be used.)
a) Make these changes for variety
b) This also allows editing shots next to each other without an
apparent "jump cut" (an abrupt change or jerk between
c) The framing can also match the feeling of what the person is
saying or how you want the audience to feel about them. Close-ups
are appropriate if you think the person will say something emotional
or more personal. Wide shots are good for establishing, general
points, like where a person works. Framing can connote a distant,
aloof relationship or can strengthen a feeling of intimacy or comradeship
in a close-up.
d) You also need some shots with enough room at the bottom for a
text I.D. in the edited show, without covering the speaker's face.
C. INTERVIEW AUDIO
1. Clip or pin a lavalier mic as close to the person's mouth as
possible on a shirt, tie, scarf or jacket lapel. Try to place it
where the cord can be hidden. It's OK for the little mic to show
(it gets muffled under clothes, though this sometimes can work and
may be necessary if there's lots of wind). Position on the side
closest to the interviewer, if not centered.
2. If using a shotgun, use a pole and be careful not to move it
a lot to create noise. Point at person's mouth and coordinate with
camera person so the mic is as close as possible, but not in shot.
D. INTERVIEW LIGHTING
Recent digital cameras work much better in low light than previous
equipment, so you can usually get away without extra lights. However,
for a visually pleasing and, more importantly, engaging shot of
a person talking, lights can enhance the look and impact of the
video. If you have access to light, here are some pointers.
1. Main light – shines the most light on the subject, either
by being closer to the subject or being stronger.
a. Set above head level pointed at subject at about 45 degrees off
center, on same side of person as interviewer.
b. Diffuse the harsh direct light (i.e. soften by spreading it out)
through translucent material or bouncing off an umbrella, wall,
ceiling or board. May need to adjust for glasses reflection by raising
or moving light further to side of person..
2. Back light
a. Important to visually separate person from background by the
halo caused by refraction (bending of light around edge).
b. Should be further away and appear less bright than main light.
c. Position behind and on opposite side of person from main light.
d. Usually use diffusion or bounce light off a wall or ceiling.
e. Part of the light can be used as "fill" on dark side
3. Fill light/reflector
a. If a softer look is desired a light or reflector (even a sheet
of white tag board or Styrofoam will do) can be positioned to the
opposite side of the main light to lighten shadows and reduce contrast.
b. Room lights are usually enough to do this and also to light the
background. It depends on conditions, how big a crew and time you
have and how fanatical you want to be.