Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Travel With Still+Video

The year 2009 will go down in history books as a revolutionary one for photography.
Text & Photography By Mark Edward Harris Published in Shooting
Travel With Still+Video

I used a Singh-Ray Galen Rowell 3-stop, soft, neutral-density graduated filter to harness the bright skies over Chiang Mai’s ancient wall and moat. The rectangular Singh-Ray filter was held in position by a LEE filter holder. The holder itself can be rotated and the filters can be slid up or down. I have a set of adapter rings that fit into the filter holder, so I only need one type of filter for all my lenses.


The architecture of storytelling should begin with a “killer opener.” Don’t save the best for last. A compelling shot will draw your viewer in, whether it be your family members or a theater full of people.

Apple Final Cut Express has plenty of applications that will give videographers polished-looking pieces. For those who want to go further, the full version of Final Cut Pro is the logical next step. For Windows users, Premiere is Adobe’s version of this video-editing software.

The key to mixing sound in your edit is to use your eyes on levels, not your ears on your computer’s speakers. A good starting point is to have dialogue between -6 dB and -12 dB and background “wild sound” and music between -15 dB and -18 dB.

The addition of music is a great way to create an ambience and flow for a travel video. Every culture has its unique music style, so I match the music to the location. If you’re going to have any commercial usage for your final product, make sure to have the rights to use that music. The web is full of sites that offer music at nominal fees.

After your piece is edited together, watch the finished product and write out a script that can be used for a voice-over. Recording high-quality audio into the computer requires an external mic. I record my narration using a Snowball microphone plugged into my MacBook Pro and recorded in Final Cut Pro.

Whether shooting halfway around the globe or in your own backyard, being involved in every aspect of your solo video production will help create a more disciplined eye and make you a more focused storyteller. Be prepared to take your bows.

Portable Light For Video

Measuring 3.3x3.3x1.5 inches, the Litepanels Micro is powered by four AA batteries (runs 1.5 hours on four alkaline AA batteries or seven to eight hours on e2 Lithium AA batteries) for location work or by a 5-12V input jack located on the back of the unit. A flip-down filter holder allows for work with color and diffusion gels. The Litepanels Micro’s housing has a camera shoe featuring an adjustable tilt mechanism.

ikan’s iLED 150, with its built-in battery mount and small size, puts out an impressive 60 LUX, especially when taking into consideration its compact size of 6x3.25x1.375 inches and weight of 0.85 pounds with battery. The iLED kit comes with three color-correction gels, AC adapter, battery and charger, and camera-shoe mount.

Powered by AC or by battery, the Lowel Blender, with a 4x3x3-inch lamphead, is another option. It has two sets of LEDs, one in tungsten and one in daylight color, in one unit that can be blended to match mixed light sources. Rotary dimmer controls for each are located on the back of the fixture. It comes with a set of front diffusers for softening the light output.

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