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Cushion Tripods for Travel & Other Vidcasting Tips

JO/CF Reader question #1: Tell me more about Vidcasting Reader question #2: How do I submit "Take 20" videos for critique?

Video Transcript

Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson. Morgan Paar: I’m Morgan Paar. Brian Peterson: We’re having way too much fun here. Morgan Paar: She’s not even on camera, on camera, she’s cracking us up. Brian Peterson: We have to stop. We’ve got Tips and Letters here, we’ve got serious stuff here. In fact, Matt you saw in the open, he was giving us a little bit more than we wanted to know. But we’re going to tell people a lot more than they want to know. Morgan Paar: That’s right. Brian Peterson: Shoot us. What’s this tip on today? Morgan Paar: About underwear. Ben Torry from Huntington, New York, writes in and says, I travel a lot by plane to places I’m going to videotape. And I have a soft tripod case made out of canvas. I first wrap my tripod with a blanket before placing it in the bag, and then stuff the remainder of the tripod bag with socks, underwear and t-shirts. It’s not only super pet my tripod, but leaves room in my case for other gear. So, really smart idea. Brian Peterson: Smart idea. Morgan Paar: I know from my, I had a canvas bag quite some time ago, and I know, when you put your tripod in there, there’s a lot of extra room, and tripod is got a lot of places, it gets thrown around by the baggage handler, just like they do, and it could very easily crack. So… Brian Peterson: Yeah, not a bad idea. And I think you talked about putting a blanket around it first, because there’s obviously sharp spots on most heads, at least, so that keeps you from destroying your, either tighty whities, or boxers, depending on your preference. I suppose, well, let’s see, which one takes more room? Morgan Paar: Probably boxers. Brian Peterson: Probably. Morgan Paar: Those depend on like clad, or like silk. Brian Peterson: Oh, yeah. So which ones would you really recommend here? Probably Haynes boxers. Is that the kind? He didn’t say what he used. Morgan Paar: Actually, you can get shorts that you don’t, you don’t have to wear any underwear, it comes with these little underwear built in. I’m actually wearing it right now. Brian Peterson: Okay, that is what we said, more than we needed to know. I’m going to take the next one, okay? Take it with, you. All right. This one’s about green screening, and it comes from Charles Henson, and it says, recently I needed a green screen for simple imposit view shooting. He says, I was ready for the bullet, I ordered one, that sort of thing isn’t available locally where he’s at. So he was really shocked to find out that the shipping is actually more than the screen itself. So since the link for the role demands the extra mailing charge. So I improvised with the $20 lying green bed sheet from JC Penny. He states, the length to some molding in his house, duct taped the rest of it, and voila. He said the shoot was finished, he saved at least a $100 or so dollars on at least the shipping charges alone. Now he also adds that he picked up the jersey sheet which is cheaper apparently, and it wrinkles less. I don’t know my materials well enough to know what the difference is there. But there’s a couple of pints there. Number 1, great idea. Number 2, just be careful because in some compositing applications, depending on how sophisticated they are, you may actually have to go off with a standard setting. Some just have blue and green settings in them. And they’re pretty much set and designed for Chroma key green and Chroma key blue. So if you have somewhat non standard color, you’re going to have to have a bit more sophisticated composing software package. Morgan Paar: Yeah, and that just means that you’ve got to check yourself way before hand. Because I know from Final Cut Pro, I mean you can key any color. You can pick any color you want, any shade, any type of light coming off of that color and key it out. The reason that they use blue, and then green, is because the green, the color green isn’t found in our skin tone very often. Brian Peterson: Right. Morgan Paar: Maybe in eye color. Brian Peterson: Yeah, in some of us. Especially after a late night at JB’s bar. Morgan Paar: Right. So that’s, you can use any color, and that’s a great idea to go out and buy a green sheet, or dye a green sheet, I guess. Brian Peterson: Yeah. Another tip is to try to make sure your lighting is as even as possible, either you can invest in a lot of lights. You can kind of grow a style, but you’ve got to really make sure that lighting is even, within, you know, about a half to, even a fifth of the stop accuracy. That’s very, very critical for good green screen or blue screen. Go outside! If you can just take it outside, on a sunny day, or even an overcast day, with non-directional lighting, you at least guarantee yourself for a very even lighting that way. A real cheap way to do it. All right, what’s next? Morgan Paar: We have, let’s see, this one is kind of spl-, oh, okay, it’s here. This one comes from Theodore Gleeson in St Louis, Missouri. She writes about the sky cam with pilot’s license. I’ve read your magazine and the importance of getting different angle shots like low angle or high angle. I recently bought a telescoping monopod to make it gone, to take on run-and-gun shoots because my tripod is heavy and cumbersome. I discovered that if I extend a monopod to its full length and plant the foot of it at my waist, I can hold the camera relatively steady at about 12ft in the air. Though my 2’’ LCD is difficult to see at that height, I can see it just well enough to frame my shots. Brian Peterson: Okay. Morgan Paar: Great tip. Brian Peterson: Yeah, if your arms aren’t 45ft long, that works pretty well. Morgan Paar: Yeah, and, we have a monopod somewhere back here, and yeah, I can see that. You can hold it pretty steady, you can get, not only you can get high shot, but you can get an overhead shot, too. Brian Peterson: Right, right, with just using the head on the monopod. Now, if you don’t need to do that, you can do something even more guerrilla. People usually, if you’re on location, you’ve got light stands. Quarter inch thread usually screws right through the bottom of your camera. If you don’t need that much tilt to it, you don’t need the head at all. Stick it on a light stand. Morgan Paar: Yeah. Brian Peterson: Of course, if it drops, it’s your fault. So. Make sure you screw it on really well. Neat idea. Morgan Paar: Yeah. Brian Peterson: Neat idea. Morgan Paar: Great tip. Brian Peterson: All right, our last tip comes to us from Alice Dolluts, from LA. And it’s called back to tape. Now, we talked about tape and the fact that it really isn’t dead yet, and this is another really great example why it’s not dead yet. I mean, we just announced the fact that they are shipping BluRay burners, so that’s a huge advance. And we’ll see how the cost works. But for right now, she says, whenever I edit a video on my computer, I always make sure to save a copy back on DV tape, at full resolution, even if my final product is going to be VHS tape, streaming video, CD-rom, whatever. Why? Because video files take up so much space, as we all know, to keep on a hard drive for very long. DV tapes make a great archival format. You know, this is one of those things that’s kind of a, Doh. You know, it really is. But even us here, we were really trying to come up with a way to save even our vidcast on a non-linear format, like DV, or DVD, even hot swappable hard drives. And all becomes very expensive still. What have we come up with finally? Morgan Paar: Back to tape. Brian Peterson: Back to tape. Morgan Paar: Yea, it makes sense, you know. All of my source tapes, a tape costs $3.50 a tape, even cheaper now. I’ve been saying that now for a couple of years. If you buy it online, it’s really cheap. So, people always ask me, you know, could I reuse tapes? Yeah, you could probably reuse tapes a couple of times before you see drop put, but don’t, it’s cheap. You know, label it pretty well, put it on a shelf. It’s there, forever. But this is a good point, too, that we’ve come across as we can put back to tape our finished product for storage, so… Brian Peterson: Great. Morgan Paar: $3.50 per tape, it’s a great storage medium. Brian Peterson: So, just another great reminder. Thank you, Alice, it is obvious, and still, tape has a lot of life left to it. so, archival medium, absolutely. All right, that is it for Tips. Thank you very much for sending these in, folks. Please, continue doing it, we will put them up on vidcast when we’ve got some time. And to get it to us, send it to, or you can visit us on our blog, at, and of course, we encourage you to visit us here up for the vidcast. And if you’re watching us via RSS, you might not know, you can actually see us via streaming at Just click on any one of the segments. If you like Morgan with or without hair, you can go into the back, actually see us out here, you can’t click on the feature yet. Morgan Paar: No. Brian Peterson: So we’ll see what it will look like in the future. Morgan Paar: Yeah. We’ll see, we’ll be here. I get furl like this big. Brian Peterson: Sweet. Stay tuned. All right, see you next time.