It fascinates me that I’m becoming a bit of an icon for my video capture skills! I didn’t think I was that good to be honest, but apparently what I’m doing with very simple kit is actually quite an achievement.
So here we go, a little update on how I catch my stuff.
The camera I use is my Galaxy Fold 3. It’s quite clever in that you can use the front screen as a monitor whilst using the main cameras. Occasionally I do use the under screen camera, but the less said about that the better.
Now for lighting, as I’ve said multiple times, with video lighting is massively important. If you have ever done any SLR photography you’ll understand the relationship between F ratio, exposure time and ISO values. Even through it’s hard to comprehend, these relationships still exist in video; but the exposure time is now capped at the frame rate 1/50th or 1/25th of a second because otherwise you wouldn’t get video!
So the only thing you can influence is F ratio and ISO value, and the easiest one to fix is the ISO value – the higher this is, the hotter the pixels have to run to capture light, and thus the higher the noise level; so it stands to reason that you need to get this down as much as possible.
The easiest way to achieve this is using lots and lots of light – just look at some of the huge lights Hollywood movie makers use and you’ll see what I mean – but this light has to be of a certain quality to be usable. It’s no good buying loads of floodlights from eBay for £5 each, because you’ll get harsh lighting with really rigid edged shadows. No use to anyone!
What we use then, is soft light. Softly focused so it doesn’t create really bad hard shadows. This is usually achieved by using a flat large light source – the larger the better – like a softbox.
These are usable with video as well as photography, and using a couple will really quench the shadows in a scene.
The problem is though, that these things are huge! So how do we reduce the size? Well we use more lights, smaller lights, but still diffuse lights.
Around £30 gets you the Ulanzi. It’s a battery powered light. Rechargeable from USB C, and it has approximately a 2″ square diffuse LED panel on the front; colour tuneable.
A little more money (£55) gets you the Andoer. My model has since been replaced but they all work the same sort of way. These are a little larger than the Ulanzi, and they have more colour blending options so you can add in a little pizazz when you want to.
Finally, ring lights are useful if you want to avoid face shadows; or if you want to neutralise a face to a flat light form before then enhancing it using side lighting, but ring lights have their disadvantages too – the model’s eyes will have circles cast on them from the light, and the flat look isn’t too everyone’s liking.
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