Reader Profile - Dwight Douglas

Name: Dwight Douglas

Cameras: Canon VIXIA HF10, SONY HDR-FX1000

Editing System: HP Dual Core 8GB RAM

Editing Platform: Adobe CS5

Microphone: Azden wireless, Audio-Technica AT2020

Support Gear: Lowel V-Lights, Targus Tripods

One morning I woke up to the sounds of thousands of crows out my window. The next thing I knew, I was grabbing my $99 Kodak camera and walking down the street. In a “Ron Burgundy-esque” delivery, I made my first YouTube video called CROWFEST 2007.

After a suggestion from a co-worker, I took a couple of videos and created a web site called WHACKO-TV. The site is a take-off on a small town TV station website. I worked in radio and in TV, forty years ago on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, so I’ve met a lot of “whackos” who have inspired the various characters I’ve created.

I decided to get serious about my video comedy and update my equipment. My first real digital camera was the Canon HF10 and I was able to do some pretty good HD work with that little baby. It fits right in my pocket, so I’m always ready to shoot; like the time I was in Times Square and found a PETA protest in front of the M&M store. To date, it’s become our most watched video.

When my girl friend asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told her a green screen. She looked at me like I was crazy. Now I own two green screens and two blue screens.

HD cameras handle light much differently than those old cameras back in the 70s. When I first started, I pointed the lights at everything; BAD IDEA. I found that aiming all the lights away and bouncing the light off the white walls worked better. I picked up a couple of Lowel V-Lights which get a bit hot, but give a good blast of light. I use a few smaller lamps to fill in.

I love the way the Audio-Technica AT2020 sounds for voice-overs. Plus, its USB interface allows me to plug it directly into my laptop. I also have two wireless Azden lavaliere systems that work well and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

I also made the deep-pocket investment in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 with absolutely the best keying software: Ultra Key. And some tips: keep your YouTube files in the H.264 codec at the size 1280 x 720 resolution, always use progressive rather than interlaced, keep the audio AAC at 192k to avoid nasty sync problems and keep the files small.

I recently added a second camera, the SONY HDR-FX1000 which shoots better in low-light than any camera I tested. I am not in love with the mini-DV tape system, but I generally use FireWire out right into my laptop using Adobe OnLocation.

With over 240 videos to date, I must say I learn something new every day and I am quite motivated to push the envelope because of Videomaker magazine. Your ads and reviews make me want to be a millionaire. The best part is the fact some of the characters have become mainstays of WHACKO-TV. I am still amazed at the fact that Tony Facovia, a sleazy imaginary back-alley attorney, has become a real person. Google him, you’ll see.

Dwight Douglas – WHACKO-TV

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