I feel some people treat sound as a secondary source of information when it comes to video. Video is all they think about. How will it look? did you get that shot I was looking for? Don’t get me wrong video is quite essential sometimes more than video.
This short blog is to help educate people on sound and why you need different tools for different situations. Down below is a video I shot to demonstrate my point of view. I wanted to show how using a microphone placed on top of the camera is inferior to that of a microphone placed above the talent (12 inches above) just out of camera frame. You would use this method when you interview someone.
Simply using a microphone that is placed on your camera to record your talent’s audio will sound hollow. The farther the mic is from your talent the less signal (his/her voice being the signal) you will get. This is called the signal to noise ratio. The farther away the voice is, the more noise will be introduced into the audio signal. You want the voice to be as close as possible without causing a proximity effect, this is when the microphone is very close to the talents’ mouth which in return creates a more bass sound response.
So, for an interview setup, I prefer the mic to be as close to my talent as possible. You can clip a lavalier microphone on your talent’s shirt or jacket and that will yield satisfactory audio. However, you will more than likely see the little microphone pinned to the talent’s shirt. I like to use a boom mic and place the microphone just about 12-18 inches above my talent. This allows me to record their voice without showing the microphone. Another reason I like this approach is you do not have to place anything on your talent. Sometimes that can be awkward, especially if you are a male videographer and have to place the lavalier microphone on a female interviewee. Plus, you must hide the cord if you are not wireless.
They make a variety of boom mics for conducting interviews. I use a hyper cardioid mic which works great indoors. There is less room reverb with a hyper cardioid. You can use a boom stand to hold your microphone or a light weight microphone tripod stand. These are just few things to consider when recording an interview.
1.Microphone on camera not good
2.Lavlier microphone on interview decent
3.Boom mic place above interviewee best option in most cases
Here is an audio example of me recording audio with a mic on the camera vs a hyper cardioid placed above me. Listen with headphones, you will hear the difference.
Remember when we had to pull out the old yellow pages to contact a business? We would call them to ask questions about what they sell, and get an idea of the general business.
We no longer have to do this chore. Now days we have the internet to explore which business we want to do business with. More than that, video is a huge component for businesses to get their message out. If you are a business, a nonprofit, or a start-up company, you would be crazy not to use video on your website. Video is king now, and is only growing in popularity.
Let’s say you want to tell the story about your organization. You could write about it sure and place it on your website. But who will read it? No one has time to read a large amount of text, but they are willing to watch a quick two-minute or so video about what your message is, what you stand for, and what you are selling (If you’re a business selling product or services). People tend to identify with a business, or organization when they can hear and watch their story. If the video is done right, it can be as entertaining as it is educational for the viewer. Many times, great videos get shared with others which only expands your audience. Videos are seen on smartphones, tablets and laptops more than they are on traditional television sets. The future of video marketing is here, grasp it and be creative.
There are some things that can be better understood if you see it. For instance, you may be a local business which deals with lawn care, and you want to give valuable tips to those who visit your website or Facebook page. If you show and demonstrate these tips people will remember them more, and understand them better. These tips on lawn care will be appreciated, and because you have out great content people will remember you and your business. Who do you think they will go to when they need fertilizer or some type of nursery product? You that’s who.
Maybe you’re a small business owner and you want to celebrate your store’s anniversary by having a sale. You can hire a local videographer to produce a well thought out promotion. This promo doesn’t need to air on tv. You can save money by placing it on Facebook and Instagram. Television viewership is decreasing year by year, and the internet is where promotion is. You can have a stunning video created for your business or nonprofit and place it on YouTube and send out the link, or place it on Facebook and run Facebook ads.
What’s cool about Facebook ads is that you can create the ad yourself. As a business owner you know your business better than anyone, so it only makes sense for you to dive deep into the Facebook and target the audience you want to target the most. You can target age, interest, male or female, location where you want the ad to appear and more.
Video is where it is right now, and we really have the internet to thank for this. As a videographer, I am very pleased to see how well businesses are profiting by using video strategically. Place your video ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo for more exposure. To tell the truth, video marketing is endless. What is coming to an end is the old way of distributing content….by television.
I have added my own promo as an example of how you too could market your business, nonprofit or start-up company.
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.
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.