Improve your Video and Stills photography lighting

Even with only two or three lights anyone can achieve great looking images on video or stills. A typical starting point for professional camera people is always the basic three point lighting setup, from there you can adapt it to achieve the mood you like on your shoot.

When three point lighting, the lights used are normally Key, Fill and Backlight (Hair light). The Key Light is the strongest light hitting your subject (or Talent), and the main source of light in the shot.

The Fill light is from the opposite side to the Key light and is there to reduce contrast and lighten shadows on the subject. Depending on how much contrast or shadow and definition you want on your subject, the Fill light can be moved closer or further away to vary the intensity (brightness). For a soft Fill light it can be filtered or bounced to diffuse it, or placed further away reduce the light’s brightness hitting the subject.

The Backlight (Hair Light) hits your subject from behind and or above which separates the subject from the background by making the edges of the subject’s body pop.
Continue reading “Improve your Video and Stills photography lighting”

Buying Professional Video Lighting gear

So you are after some new lights to shoot video with. With this comes lots of decisions which will be mainly answered by the video work you are doing or want to do.

Choosing the type lighting for your shoot makes an enormous impact on the quality of your final video. The correct use of lighting allows you to

  • control the mood of your video
  • Direct the eye of the viewer where you want it to go
  • Emphasize and de-emphasize elements within the frame
  • Add texture and color
  • Make people look beautiful, ugly, sinister, or angelic

Continue reading “Buying Professional Video Lighting gear”

Essential Video gear – The C Stand

There is an ever increasing range of camera and lighting gear, new LED lights through to camera gimbals. But the C stand is probably the piece of gear that will be used on almost every shoot. The term ‘Century Stand’ goes back to the early days of motion picture production. Century Stands also known as “C Stands” are one of the most frequently used stands in the film industry. They are mainly used by grip and lighting and can support other things on film sets.

Continue reading “Essential Video gear – The C Stand”

Gear reviews

Coming soon are gear reviews. I will post what gear I use and why I use it. I will let you know how the gear stacks up to professional use on set. I’ll describe the advantages and disadvantages to any of the gear. I work on a wide range of productions, tv commercials, corporate and web videos so can recommend gear that’s versatile and worth considering taking on your next shoot.
Also if you have questions on film and tv gear let me know and I will pass on an industry veteran opinion.
With the range of gear options increasing everyday it’s important to know what works well and why.
First up I will let you know about my lighting gear and will give the pros and cons for HMI lighting.
Happy shooting til then.

At last a really useful drone

It seems every man and his dog has a drone these days. The sad fact is though that the vast majority of these are either not equipped with a decent camera or are flown badly or even worse illegally.
To get great results you do need to get a professional drone crew. On shoots that I have been on by far the best results have been achieved by a two person Drone crew. One person to fly the drone and the second to frame the camera.
The good news is that there are better drones everyday equipped with better cameras giving more options to get the shot. I have to admit though I am old school and can easily see the advantages in shooting from a Helicopter with a stabilised mount. In this type of setup you can choose the camera and lenses you need rather than having to accept a fixed lense that distorts the image from prosumer type drones.

But all that aside, here is the best way to enjoy using a drone I have seen.

Gear gear gear ….

Does it ever end ? No, when it comes to film and TV gear. So with that in mind I have a bunch of new gear. New lighting frames 10 x 10, 6 x 6 and 4 x 4. Also a new Chromakey green 10 x 10 screen as well as some new new textiles for my other frames.

I also have a new monitor stand setup to make having a monitor on set in the right place easier and faster. This is a combination of a few Mathews products specially designed for onset monitors.

I now have a “low boy ” attachment for my Wally dolly kit. This enables the tripod head to be mounted to the T frame on the dolly, making for some really nice low angle shots.

Then there is a load of other new gear, including Shot bags x 4, C stands and more light stands.

All this new gear comes included with all my existing gear as part of my shooting package which means I can handle any shoot.

Is this the future ?

Cameras are getting smaller and stranger shaped, but this one even with its odd looking body just maybe the future or cameras. Say hello to the DJI Osmo, a new handheld camera that lets you shoot 12MP photos and 4K video while being stabilized with a 3-axis brushless gimbal.

The camera system is basically a sleek handheld stabilizer that comes standard with the Inspire 1’s X3 camera, which packs a 1/2.3-inch Sony Exmor R sensor with an ISO range of 100-1600 (100-3200 for video), a 20mm (35mm equiv.) lens with a 94° field of view, and DNG support or You can also choose to buy the grip for a new X5 camera if you’d like a Micro Four Thirds sensor and mount.