Aug 7 12

Cheap LED Camera Light for Canon 7D and DSLR Video

by Harlan Yee

I’m always on the search for inexpensive products to enhance the functionality of my Canon 7D. In the past, I’ve reviewed cheap external monitors and cheap DSLR stabilizers. In this article, I want to continue that money saving trend! So I’m happy to share the details of the Neewer CN-160 Dimmable LED Camera Light. 

cheap LED camera light

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!

Battery Friendly!

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…

Apr 27 12

Stormtrooper Shuffle – LMFAO Star Wars Parody (Party Rock Anthem)

by Harlan Yee

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:

Apr 20 12

Cheap Camera Stabilizer For Canon 7D – Not Zacuto Striker

by Harlan Yee

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.

Zacuto Striker - Cheap camera stabilizer

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…

Feb 23 12

How To Set 4:3 Center Cut Safe Title Markers In Premiere CS5

by Harlan Yee

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.

Adobe Premiere Center Cut SD Title Safe

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…

Jan 26 12

My Three Most Viewed YouTube Videos Of 2011

by Harlan Yee

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…

Jan 4 12

Niche Site Duel 9 – One Year Anniversary Stats and Earnings

by Harlan Yee

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.

Wedding Slideshow Ideas

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.

Earnings

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…

Dec 19 11

Cheap HDMI External Monitor For Canon 7D And DSLR Video

by Harlan Yee

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…

Dec 13 11

Copy DVD with Edius 6 Disc Capture

by Harlan Yee

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:

Edius 6 DVD Disc Capture

Step 1: Click on VIEW>Source Browser

Edius 6 DVD Disc Capture is now 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…

Oct 31 11

How Pat’s Niche Site Duel Kept Me Motivated

by Harlan Yee

Over the past year, I learned some great skills to help me get into internet marketing… resulting in generating my first dollars online. I had been a fan of Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog and I soaked up everything I could about blogging and internet marketing. When Pat’s Niche Site Duel challenge was presented, I knew I had to follow along either in public or private. I decided that I’d do it publicly and present my updates on Pat’s site along with all the other participants.

Smart Passive Income

At the time I started, I had not made any money online. I had one website… the one you’re on now. I had never performed any keyword research or SEO for that matter! So I made up my mind that this was going to be an excellent learning opportunity. Something profound Pat said was that by documenting his progress, it made him accountable to see the project through… and that’s the attitude I took. It was the motivation behind my entire niche site project. Whether I made any money or not was not my goal. The real goal for me was to learn new skills and actually take action.

I knew this would be a launching platform for future online projects. I had taken this type of approach in other things in the past and it has benefitted me greatly… mostly in my career, but in a different way. I am constantly learning new skills in my job to stay on top of current trends and software in my profession. In documenting my journey of creating my first niche site, I thought I could go back and review what I did and possibly be able to repeat the process. Now it is a year later and I am getting ready to post my one year results. Looking back with what I know now about niche sites, there were some things that I didn’t do right in the beginning. But that didn’t matter. This whole process gave me a year to get “hands on” experience to make mistakes and figure what I could’ve done better. A year is way too long to spend on just one site but I needed the time to get to where I’m at now.

And you know what? It paid off! I haven’t touched my niche site in about 4 months but it’s making a consistent income right now. You can see my most current Niche Site Duel updates here. I will work on the site again in the future and plan to occasionally document the evolution of the site.

Wedding Slideshow Ideas

I’m very satisfied with the results from my first monetized site but it is only the start. But how do I continue this momentum? This month, I am creating 3 sites simultaneously using a new strategy I learned and I will be documenting it in a series I call the Niche Video Challenge. The reason I’m keeping a journal of this new project is to help keep me motivated like it did in Pat’s Niche Site Duel. However, this new challenge is not being published anywhere except here on this site. I’m not documenting it for the publicity necessarily; it’s to keep me personally accountable for what I said I’m going to do and to keep me on the task.

Am I going to do this for every project? No. But I will do plan on doing it every once in awhile when I need the extra motivating factor to see my projects to completion! In conclusion, one of the biggest lessons I took away from the original Duel was the documentation of the task which is my biggest motivator in my online endeavors. Everyone needs motivation to get things done at times and I’ve found mine when it comes to my online projects!

Oct 19 11

Niche Video Challenge 1: A New Challenge And Keyword Research

by Harlan Yee

What This Challenge Is All About

Today, I am starting a new challenge for myself. After some success participating in the Niche Site Duel, I’m ready to use what I’ve learned in the past plus methods from a recently purchased training course to create a new income generating niche site. I will be following the methods described in the Niche Video Tycoon training course.

Niche Video Tycoon

What makes this training so unique is that the keyword research tactics in Niche Video Tycoon goes against what every other online marketer teaches. What I mean is that usually, you’d want to build a website that has a lot of search volume for keywords that you want to rank for in Google. In this challenge, I am going to be targeting low (extremely low) search volume keywords. As you’ll see shortly, the keywords I’m going for have less than 1000 searches a month!

Part of the reason for documenting my process here is to help me stay motivated and stick with my plan. It worked out with the Niche Site Duel and I hope it does the same for me on this project. A secondary reason to keep track of my progress is that later, I could possibly turn these notes into instructions for a virtual assistant to follow so I can automate and repeat the process with future websites. If this course helps generate a $500-$1000 a month income from a single website, then I will definitely be building more of these.

Overview

Here’s a condensed version of the tasks I’ll be performing:

  • Find a low volume seed keyword
  • Find 7-15 related keywords which also have low volume searches
  • Build a WordPress site with pages targeting each keyword
  • Make a video targeting each keyword and embed into the corresponding pages
  • Build backlinks to each page
  • Add an opt-in form on the site with a free give-away
  • Create an email autoresponder series
  • Create a free giveaway to entice subscriptions
  • Create a 2-3 hour video-based training product to sell
  • Create an upsell product for an additional charge

For about a week, I studied the process in Niche Video Tycoon and found a book at Amazon.com that is in my niche. That is one of the “green light” indicators to go ahead and build one of these sites. The niche I’m pursuing is in a growing trend and I only found 2 paperback books on Amazon that are directly related to my niche. At Clickbank, I found one ebook for $27 that is an exact match for my niche and about 15 vaguely related products. The Clickbank product is cheap compared to the price I’ll charge for my info product. That’s the beauty of creating a video based product because the perceived value is higher. I then went to Market Samurai to begin my search for keywords.

Before I go any further, I want to let you know that I will not be revealing my keywords in this challenge as I did in the Niche Site Duel.  Thank you for understanding. One inportant thing to look for in the keyword research is the title competition. In Market Samurai’s keyword research tool, I’ll check mark the SEOTC box to get that info. I’ll be looking for keywords with an SEOTC of 5000 or less… if its less than 1000, even better. Without showing you my keywords, I’ll reveal the stats on the keywords I found in my niche:

Keywords

  1. Searches: 590 – SEOTC: 1410
  2. Searches: 320 – SEOTC: 1250
  3. Searches: 260 – SEOTC: 77
  4. Searches: 260 – SEOTC: 454
  5. Searches: 260 – SEOTC: 35
  6. Searches: 260 – SEOTC: 380
  7. Searches: 210 – SEOTC: 772
  8. Searches: 210 – SEOTC: 59
  9. Searches: 210 – SEOTC: 1830
  10. Searches: 210 – SEOTC: 15
  11. Searches: 170 – SEOTC: 7
  12. Searches: 170 – SEOTC: 1710
  13. Searches: 140 – SEOTC: 8
  14. Searches: 140 – SEOTC: 1910
  15. Searches: 140 – SEOTC: 66
  16. Searches: 1600 – SEOTC: 11000 (might not be used)
  17. Searches: 1000 – SEOTC: 6120 (might not be used)

Each keyword is related to keyword #1. To me, it looks like I should be able to rank at least in the top 10 for my list of keywords. I’m staying pretty conservative on my estimates because I don’t want to get too over-confident in my ranking skills. Here’s a look at the competition of the top 5 keywords in my list:

Top 5 Low Competition Keywords

Some of the keywords have quite a few backlinks to them and higher page rank than I’d normally like to see but the “on page” factors look good and most of the sites aren’t even targeting my keyword. I’m still experimenting with ranking sites so we’ll see if my data analyzing skills measure up in a month or two.

Picking A Domain Name

I don’t know why this is so hard for me but I’m agonizing over the domain name for my site. I keep doing different combinations of the keywords and I’m being very unproductive because of the time I’m spending on this. But I eventually came to a decision. For the domain name, I chose  keyword #1. You might be wondering why I have keywords #16 and #17 in my list. Well, those 2 words are definitely related and I’d love to rank for them but the SEOTC is too high so I’m going to keep those on the backburner for now. In the end, I chose keyword number 1 because I’m able to get an exact match .com domain.

Building This Site Will Be Different For Me

One major thing that will be different when I’m building this site is that I will be outsourcing some of the work. I will not be writing all the articles for this site which removes a huge burden right off the top. This means I’ll have content for my site shortly after I’ve got WordPress installed. I’m also paying a friend to shoot some pictures and video that I will use on the site. The reason is that he lives 5 minutes from the location where I need the images shot… whereas I’d have to drive at least an hour to get to that same location. This saves me at least half a day!

Domain Name Purchase

But for now, I’m off to GoDaddy to get my domain and start the next part of the process.

Let’s Spice Things Up A Bit!

Actually, to compound the income potential and to make this project really interesting, I am not only creating the website I described above… but will be creating 2 additional sites in 2 other niches at the same time. So when I’m done, I’ll have a total of three websites built around the Niche Video Tycoon course. However, I will be mainly documenting the step-by-step progress of the first website. I hope you stay with me and see how this all turns out. See you in the next update!