Archives For Video Tips and Tutorials


Know Your Camera – Part 4: Frame Rate and Resolution

Frame rate and resolution are two features that affect the image quality your camera produces. Today cameras are capable of producing images in stunning HD up to a whopping 1080p in sixty frames per second. But what do these numbers all mean?

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Setting Proper Camera Exposure

In a previous post I went over some of the differences between using auto exposure and using manual exposure. Knowing how your camera will react in manual mode vs. auto mode is important, but being able to set a proper exposure in manual mode can be tricky. There are many considerations when setting an exposure.

  • Every camera has limitations.
  • When bright parts of your video are overexposed it is referred to as being “blown out”
  • When dark objects in your video are underexposed it is referred to as being “crushed”.
  • Dynamic range is the difference between what will appear completely black and completely white in a video.
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Know Your Camera – Part 3: Focus and Zoom

We’ve all been in the situation where we are waiting around for the auto mode to focus in on something. This is not only frustrating, it can be scary. If you’re getting paid to produce a video you can’t afford to have out of focus shots. Letting your camera autofocus is one solution, but knowing how to access manual focus controls is another.

Just pick a location zoom in to get your desired framing, hope the camera focuses on what you want and hit record.


  • In auto mode your camera will continually search for something to focus on.
  • Most camcorders and cameras have a manual focus feature. Most webcams and phones do not. Consult your operating manual or the web to find out if you do, then learn how to access that feature.
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Know Your Camera- Part 2: Gain/ISO-Aperture-Exposure

Gain, aperture and exposure are the three elements that together determine how bright or dark your picture will be. In addition to brightness, these three elements affect image quality, depth of field, and smoothness. Once you’ve recorded your video, you can make minor adjustments in post, but getting it right the first time produces the best results. In general there are some basic rules to follow.

  • Gain should be kept low
  • Aperture should be set to achieve the desired focus range
  • Exposure should be kept at around 1/50 of a second
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Know Your Camera
Part 1: Auto and Manual Settings

Shooting video is easy, just point and shoot, right? But cameras are jam packed with features that are there for one reason, making your pictures and videos better. There’s nothing wrong with auto mode, in fact in a lot of situations it works. But hidden deep inside most cameras are manual settings that can help take your videos to the next level. This 5 part series Manual Settings will go over the basics, but first:

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Audio Recording For Videos: On-Board vs. External Microphones

The modern camera is truly an ingenious device. The image quality that cameras produce is continuing to grow exponentially. But recording audio is a whole different ball game. The microphone on your camera, or on-board mic, works, but if you really want to get serious you’ll have to explore other options.

There are many things that affect audio recording.

  • Low Quality Mics

    While most cameras have decent audio recording capabilities, many do not. These include still cameras that also shoot video, webcams, and camera phones.

  • Proximity

    If your microphone is not close enough to your subject, audio will suffer. That’s why you see those big boom poles in the movies. They want to get that microphone as close to their subject’s lips as possible.

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There’s good news and bad news. If you’ve happened to change your name on YouTube, you can revert back to your old name pretty easily. And if you’ve recently joined YouTube you can also choose a new channel name, rather than using your real name. Just use the link below and follow the directions. For me choosing a YouTube channel name is pure magic; it’s like having my very own TV channel, only better.

Changes are always happening over at Google, and YouTube, a subsidiary of Google is no different. You may find these changes cumbersome and annoying.

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Don’t Forget to Frame Your Subject

The video is a classic study on framing and scene composition.

Philip Bloom does some very cool, very detailed gear reviews. I’ve been a fan since his Christmas Showdown Special a few years ago. Besides from doing great gear reviews and having an awesome accent, he produces a lot of neat videos. While I was writing about framing and scene composition, I kept thinking about a music video he made for a band called Olly Knights, entitled “Bitten By The Frost.”

Bitten By The Frost from Philip Bloom

The video is a classic study on framing and scene composition…

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There are a lot of great resources for video makers out there on the web. Over the years I’ve subscribed to many blogs and YouTube channels. Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Philip Bloom

I love this guy. He has a marvelous accent and his short films are definitely worth watching, especially because he usually follows them up with a behind the scenes. He also does gear reviews. If his videos aren’t enough he gives workshops in many locations.


I subscribed to these guys recently. They have a ton of stuff on their website including tutorials and news about film projects and gear. If you are interested in DSLR cinematography definitely check them out. They offer a free 114 page guide.

Dave Dugdale

This guy is all about DSLRs. In addition to nice gear reviews he offers in depth DSLR tutorials. Although he charges for some tutorials his thoroughness and almost scientific precision is a value for the price.

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If you haven’t heard by now, Vine, Twitter’s latest acquisition is a new way to share with followers and friends. It offers a totally new twist on video. With the new app for iPhones, six second videos are shared like tweets, and although the videos can’t be edited, recording can be paused and restarted. The app works with both video and stills, and unlike Cinemagram audio is included. Vine is an interesting platform for expression and although it won’t put YouTube or Vimeo out of business I think it will serve a function.

Here’s what I like about it.

  • It’s neat. At first I was skeptical about the six second limit, but now I am convinced it has real value.
  • It’s creative. Yeah there are plenty of boring six seconds videos, but it also challenges us to be precise and thoroughly plan what we want to communicate to our audience, and how we want to do it.
  • A lot can happen in six seconds. Anyone who has edited videos knows that. At 24p, six seconds equals about 144 individual frames. Even if the frame rate is slightly lower there is still a lot of possibility.
  • Unedited video. I think this is the fun part. While you can pause recording, the Vine app does not allow for uploading videos edited in other programs. This may change in the future, but I hope not. I like the idea of cinema vérité in a six second clip. Don’t worry, you can play your royalty free music on a boombox in the background and have it in your video.
  • It’s so cool I might buy an iPhone.
  • Even if videos are deathly boring they only last six seconds!
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