Zacuto Z-Finder And Rode Mic Installation On A Canon 7D
If you find it difficult to shoot video with a DSLR (aka HDSLR) straight out of the box, then I've got some accessories that will help out alot. DSLR camera bodies were designed for photo shooting so the ergonomics are far from ideal for video production. My experience with the Canon EOS 7D has been a challenge at times but I’m still learning new techniques with the camera.
I know many of you are considering switching to a DSLR, but if you've only shot with video cameras in the past, here are some of the things to consider before using a DSLR for video production:
Canon 7D vs HDCam – Preliminary Test
Update: I've revised the original video and did some color correction to it. So after you read this post and watch the video, see Canon 7D vs HDCam - Preliminary Test Revisited. The difference is quite amazing!
The other day, we took out a Canon 7D and a Sony HDW-700/1080 to compare HD video shot with both cameras. This is a preliminary test and we're going to do another one sometime soon. One of the problems we had was that the 7D was on a photo tripod with a grip release on the head so panning/tilting was very difficult to keep ...
Create Professional Looking Videos Without Any Software Or Editing Experience
Now anyone can become a video producer and sell awesome looking videos without any editing experience or knowledge of any editing software! Yes, it's true! Anyone can create slick, professional looking videos while investing relatively very little time in front of the computer with Animoto!
I am jealous to say that even I cannot recreate the quality of videos produced by Animoto without spending hours and hours in an editing program layering graphics, images and videos.
Before I get into too much detail about Animoto, check out this beautiful full-length wedding video produced by SchmidtPhoto.com which incorporates photos and HD video shot with a Canon 5d ...
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 750GB Ultra-portable Hard Drive Review
We're storing more and more files on our computer these days. And not only are we storing more... files are getting bigger and bigger. Music, videos and email attachments quickly eat up hard drive space, especially when you're working with HD video. When you're running low on space on your desktop or laptop computer, the 750GB Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Ultra-portable Hard Drive can help. It is super compact and offers
Creating Reflections in Photoshop
There are many ways to create reflections in Photoshop. In this tutorial, I’ll go through the method I used when working on graphics for an automotive related TV commercial.
Open your image in Photoshop. This happens to be a
I remember a few years back I was shopping for used lenses and I kept running into Canon lenses with an FD mount. At the time, I thought who would buy these old lenses from 35mm film cameras? Well today, I am one of those who bought and is still seeking out old Canon FD lenses. If only I had made the realization that FD lenses could be used on DSLRs, I could’ve gotten some incredible deals on these lenses. But the cat is out of the bag and demand for FD lenses is increasing!
While the prices have gone up on FD lenses, they’re still dirt cheap. I do not make many impulse buys but I came across an eBay listing for 3 FD lenses for $100 and I immediately pulled out my credit card. Here are the lenses I got:
FD 28mm f2.8
FD 50mm f1.8
FD 50mm f3.5
Because these lenses are old, they had scratches and scuff marks on all of them. However, the physical appearance doesn’t really matter. But on the 28mm, I noticed a few scratches read more…
I have been wanting an optical viewfinder for my Canon 7D ever since I got a chance to use a Zacuto Z-Finder. The Z-Finder really helps with focusing when shooting video. It made all the difference when shooting handheld. But the high price of the Z-Finder has kept me from owning one myself!
But now, I’ve found a suitable alternative for the Z-Finder at half the price with the Carry Speed VF-3 Universal DSLR Viewfinder. When I saw the VF-3 and the price, I purchased it right away. I have not been disappointed with my impulse purchase… and I never buy on impulse! This is a relatively cheap viewfinder but I wouldn’t call the quality cheap.
The Carry Speed VF-3 works superbly and my bank account didn’t take a major hit! I don’t shoot with my 7D as much as I’d like… so its reassuring that I don’t feel like I invested in a super expensive accessory that just sits around gathering dust. However, I will use it when I’m out shooting events, especially when outdoors or handheld.
On the day I shot my video review, I just happened to have access to a 5D Mark II and a Rebel T3i in addition to my 7D. You’ll be able to see how the Carry Speed viewfinder fits on each of these camera bodies.
The great thing is that the Carry Speed VF-3 uses a mounting plate with a frame so I don’t have to stick anything to the LCD screen on my camera. A lot of viewfinders in this price range do use the sticky frames. This was definitely a feature I didn’t want.
According to Carry Speed, the VF-3 is priced at an introductory rate of $120. That special introductory pricing ends on October 31, 2012.
Even if you miss out on the introductory price, you’ll find that the price is still half of Zacuto Z-Finder. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to someday increase prices equal to the Zacuto. The quality of the VF-3 could certainly match that of the high-end DSLR optical viewfinders!
If you want to get an inexpensive viewfinder for your DSLR, the Carry Speed VF-3 is an excellent choice for the budget video producer (like me)! If you own the VF-3, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
Light weight on-camera lighting can sometimes be hard to find but the CN-160 definitely fits into that category. One of the great features of the Neewer CN-160 is that it contains 160 bright LED lamps with a dimmer dial. This means that if you’re shooting up close to someone, you can easily reduce the intensity of the LEDs so your subject’s face isn’t blown out!
The Neewer CN-160 can be attached to any camera with a hot-shoe mount but it does not take power from the camera. Instead, the CN-160 is powered by a 5 different types of battery sources.
If you have the listed Panasonic or Sony camcorder batteries lying around, you’ve already got a great source of rechargeable power. If not, you can purchase those camcorder batteries or just go with standard AA batteries. So this LED light is really flexible when it comes to power. There’s also a read more…
I love seeing what people are doing in motion graphics and design. That’s why I got into After Effects and use it for probably 90% of my productions. In some cases, I only use After Effects without needing to open up my regular video editing program. Since I mainly produce television commercials for a living, I also like to see examples of cool commercials that utilize motion graphics.
Lately, Kia has been creating some good looking car commercials utilizing computer generated hamsters in various situations. One that I like is the hamster commercial featuring the hit song Party Rock Anthem from LMFAO with dancing hamsters set in a sci-fi setting. Then today, I found a cool parody of some computer generated Stormtroopers shakin’ it to the same beat.
I find it fascinating what people can do with 3D modeling these days. I’ve pretty much given up on learning a 3D application these days. 3D Invigorator is pretty much the extent of my 3D usage in my productions. Anyways, I thought I’d put the 2 videos here side by side… and mainly so I’d have a place on my blog so I can watch these 2 videos again at some future date.
Here’s the Kia Soul hamster commercial:
Below is the Stormtrooper Shuffle video. Watch what they do with Darth Vader’s lightsaber:
Doesn’t it make you drool when you see all those cool DSLR video accessories that make your camera more like a true video camera? What do you think when you finally realize that you’re going to need another $1500 on top of the $2000 you just spent on a Canon 7D to get it to shoot decent video? That’s just a typical dilemma all of us DSLR video owners go through.
One accessory that makes shooting stable shots easier is the Zacuto Striker. It’s basically a series of metal tubes, handle and shoulder brace that gives you additional points of contact with your camera to help stabilize hand-held shots.
The Zacuto Striker is well built and comes with their famous Gorilla plate used for mounting a Z-Finder. The Gorilla plate also can be used to attach other Zacuto accessories to it. This is nice if you’re going to be buying more Zacuto gadgets.
However, the price of the Striker is $800! I don’t know about you but that’s the price of a Canon Rebel T3i with lens kit! If that seems a bit steep for your production budget, I’ve found a solution that is under $100 and works just as well. read more…
When I produce widescreen commercials for television, I have to frame or compose everything in a way so that important visual information is not lost on 4:3 television sets. This also applies to shooting in the field and in projects that are solely motion graphics based where I don’t use any video footage. Luckily, the cameras I use have built-in center cut markers so there are no surprises when I view the footage back in the edit room. The software I currently use to edit video also has built-in 4:3 center cut title markers that are easily activated.
The 2 non-linear editors I use the most right now are Grass Valley Edius and Adobe After Effects. Both have 4:3 center cut markers pre-built into their interface. Now that I’ve upgraded to Adobe Production Premium CS5.5, I’m starting to get back into Premiere.
The problem now is that Premiere’s safe title areas are preset for only 16:9 full screen safe areas. When you activate the safe title markers from the program monitor on the right you’ll see what I mean. See image above. I looked all over in the menus to see if there was a 4:3 option but there wasn’t… At least it isn’t labelled or classified as something that is easily recognized. But I’ll show you how to get your markers so you’ll know where to place your graphical information on widescreen projects so they won’t get cut off when broadcasted. read more…
I produce video on a daily basis for clients wanting to advertise on television so I know a lot of people see my work whenever they turn on their TV. But as I get more into blogging and internet marketing, I’m trying to find time to produce my own videos for YouTube to use as additional content on my websites. Overall, I’ve probably published about 20 videos on YouTube between 2010 and 2011.
Now it is 2012 and I thought it’d be interesting to see which of my YouTube videos got the most views last year. The 3 videos were all shot with digital cameras… either with my Canon Powershot SX200 or my Canon 7D. No more camcorders for me. I’ll start with the video with the 3rd highest views and go up. read more…
I had been meaning to post my one year report back in October when my site was actually a year old. Now it is exactly one year and 2 months since I created my site. Overall, I am extremely happy with what I was able to accomplish on my very first niche website. If this is the first time you’re reading my Niche Site Duel updates, then I encourage you to read my first update where I explain that I had no experience creating or monetizing websites.
The image above is a freeze frame of one of the videos I made for the niche site with my Canon EOS 7D shot on a green screen.
Like many people getting into internet marketing, I had almost quit at one point. But after a few months of letting the site sit dormant, I decided to really put in some effort before throwing in the towel. I ended up finishing the site and monetizing it about 5 months after I initially installed WordPress. My previous updates explain in detail what I’ve done so far… so with this report, I’m going to show you current stats after one year online.
I have to say that I am pretty happy with the earnings for now especially because this site runs on autopilot. My only method of monetization is through a single affiliate program though Animoto. As you can see from the screenshot of my Animoto account, the monthly income fluxuates but there are a few months read more…
A few months ago, I posted a how-to video on how you can connect a Canon 7D or other DSLR camera to a portable DVD player and use it as a cheap external monitor for shooting DSLR video. While the solution was both effective and inexpensive, it did not achieve the ideal results. It was usable but not as good as a dedicated HDMI external monitor because I had to use the analog output of my camera.
In another review, I demonstrated a better solution: the IKAN VX9 HDMI external monitor. You can see my video review here. It’s a nice monitor and offers many professional features. However, it is expensive. At $1000, you’d better be shooting lots of decent paying gigs to pay this one off!
Lilliput 668GL 7-Inch External HDMI Monitor
While the above solutions will do the job, there are drawbacks to each. The DVD player solution only offers analog monitoring while the IKAN VX9 is quite expensive. In between those two options is the Lilliput 668GL 7″ on-camera Field HD Monitor for DSLRs with HDMI Y/PbPr and Composite Input.
Why is the Lilliput monitor a great choice? First, it costs about the same as a portable DVD player. The Lilliput 668GL costs $200. 2nd, it offers HDMI input as well as composite and Y/PbPr inputs. It offers the most flexibility at the lowest cost. If you only shoot projects on a part-time basis, you can put this monitor to work in other situations until you need it for a shoot:
Use this as your external DSLR monitor
Connect directly to a DVD player
Use in your car as part of an entertainment system
Connect your video gaming system
Use as a CCTV monitor
Use as a 2nd mini computer monitor
Audio Video Connections
Even though this is a fairly inexpensive external monitor, the Lilliput 668GL does offer some professional features like read more…
A while back, I posted instructions on how to copy a DVD in Edius 5. Today, I am updating the instructions for how to copy a DVD with Edius 6 Disc Capture. In reality, the Disc Capture function doesn’t exist in Edius 6… or at least it’s not called Disc Capture anymore.
Here are the step-by-step instructions to rip or copy DVD video files so you can edit with them in Edius 6:
Step 1: Click on VIEW>Source Browser
Step 2: Insert DVD into your computer. Your DVD will mount and you can see it under the Audio CD/DVD folder. On my computer, the optical drive is labelled E:
This DVD has 4 tracks and you’ll see them appear on the window to the right. read more…
The Render Q offers tips and tutorials for DSLR video and HD digital cameras. Our main goal is to demonstrate the fact that you don't need an HD camcorder to shoot HD video. Are you a pro or just starting to shoot video with your camera? We'll show you what we're doing with our cameras and teach you step by step!