I now have most of the pieces in place to record, edit, and publish videos. I'm fortunate as I did learn some things almost four years ago when I first explored the idea of making videos with my camera then, a Canon 60D. I also have many of the accessory pieces of equipment one needs to produce video with good audio and good lighting. So, this week, after getting my DIY teleprompter all put together, I started recording.
Whoa! Not so fast! Recording video is not that difficult now in 2015. Millions of people do it all the time with their smartphones. However, those spur-of-the-moment videos are different from when you really want to provide people with quality videos that give them value in return for their taking the time to watch. So, as I look at the two main videos I posted to my YouTube channel this week, I think, "Booz, these are bad!" Why? Because the lighting sucks! The audio isn't bad and the quality of the video isn't bad, but, heck, if people can't see what you're showing, what's the point?! And that dialogue (guess, really, it's a monologue, as I'm not talking to anyone!), what's up with that? Yeh, learning how to read naturally from a teleprompter is going to take some practice, I guess!
Content is, of course, the first thing to focus on, but you can't ignore the other parts. I have the content covered, I think, because I intend to create videos that serve as follow up information for my tutoring sessions. I also want to do the occasional video on equipment I own personally and find useful in my pursuit of photography. Right now, however, as I spin up my video producing skills again, my content will be centered on the learning process to master video recording with a micro4/3 camera (Olympus OM-D E-M1). I plan to show my mistakes and how I might have done something better. And this is why I went ahead and posted these poorly lit videos. One lesson learned. So, "content." Check!
Next are the technical elements: the video itself, audio recording, and lighting a "set." My E-M1 records very decent video, so I have that covered. I have a great tripod (using the MeFoto RoadTrip) and I can, when necessary, record video with either my Olympus PEN E-PL6 or Olympus Air A01. So, "video recording." Check!
I've heard it said that you can have the greatest recorded video but if the audio is bad, no one will watch the video. I know that's true for me. If I can't hear or understand the audio of a video clearly, I'm done! I click on. When I started my video adventure in early 2012, therefore, I invested in a quality external audio recorder, the Tascam DR-40. I also got a good mic to use with my 60D, the Rode VideoMic. And, finally, I bought a decent wired lavalier microphone, the Audio-Technica ATR-3350. These all still work fine.
However, technology does improve in three years, so I purchased a new mic from Rode, the Rode VideoMicro. It is much like the VideoMic, but it is much smaller yet captures great sound. Being smaller than the VideoMic, the VideoMicro fits nicely in the hot shoe of my E-M1. And, with the addition of another short cable, I can use it with my iPhone 6 if I want to. Quite frankly, the audio I got from my E-M1's built-in mic was not bad. I was pleasantly surprised. However, adding the VideoMicro with the wind screen that comes supplied with it is better. So, "audio." Check!
That leaves lighting. When recording video in a low light situation, you do need good, continuous light. I have several speed lights to use for my flash photography, but they're useless for video. Since I will usually shoot my videos at night or in my basement studio where windows do not provide much natural light, I need to have some dependable constant light sources. My solution three years ago was to use daylight rated fluorescent light bulbs in inexpensive clamp light mounts. They worked. Recently, LED light sources have become popular as constant lights for video recording since their output quality has improved and their prices have dropped. I bought the ColorRight Lumenator LED solution and started experimenting with it a few months ago for lighting for still shots. That is what I've used for the first new videos I have recorded and, though bright, it's not enough. I am looking at other LED lights to try but, in the meantime, I need to blow the dust off my clamp light fixtures and put them back into service. So, "lighting." Still solving that one, but I'm close.
There are, naturally, other aspects of creating videos, such as the software I'm using on my iPad for teleprompting and the software I've chosen for editing my video recordings. I'll address these topics - and others as they come up - in future posts. So, stick with me as we, together, conquer this whole video production "thing!"
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