In our News & Technology segment with Mark and Derek, It’s the “Battle of the Titans” over video-sharing. Telecom networks, Verison and Comcast, are getting into the video sharing business. Version is in talks with YouTube, while Comcast is hoping its launch of Ziddio.com will cut into the massive YouTube audience. YouTube was recently purchased by Google and we talk some more on what that means to the independent producer. We also provide details about a contest in which you can produce a music video for the band “Moby”.
In our Tips & Techniques segment, John and Jennifer look at some tips to shooting in low light settings and they’ll take a look at some legal and copyright issues you need to know.
This week’s “Take 20” with Charlie and John, they look at a comedic way to make a training video with “How to make a movie” by producer Joshua Moore of Bakersfield California.
In the “HANDS ON” segment, Mark is just back from New York and shows Charlie a new camcorder from Canon, the XH-A1.
John Burkhart: And I'm John Burkhart.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And this is Tips and Techniques. And actually today we have two tips for you today.
John Burkhart: Yeah, first tip is called What's legal. And it's kind of quick and easy guideline to keeping your videos law suit free, as record is not an official legal advice, but little general tips, things to watch out for.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yes, the copyright law is really strict, people have been trying to violate it in a lot of different things, just recently on YouTube and other video sharing sites. We get people who send videos to us, to our contest, who send us videos done with copyrighted music, and we can’t use them. And the basic, actually the real thing is don’t use anything that’s copyrighted, then you don’t have to worry about it.
John Burkhart: Creating it yourself is probably the best way to go, it’s going to give you a lot more representative product of what you hope to achieve with your video. And it’s going to be more relevant to what you’re doing. The music that you make yourself is going to be exactly what you want to go with your piece rather than just picking out something from your CD collection.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And there’s a lot of software out now that you can actually do your music creation, if you have an understanding of what you think it’s supposed to sound like and everything. But, if not, then you have to get it some other way.
John Burkhart: Yeah, and most people end up paying someone else to do it. They, if they can’t quite create it themselves, you can always pay someone else to do it, and you can pay anything from not a whole lot to rather staggarly large sum of money, to get the music that you want.
Jennifer O'Rourke: You know, one way, the nicest way possible, is the local band who is, you know, they’re always struggling, and you can give them an idea of what you might want to hear, and they can make that music right there for you. And it might be cheaper and easier than trying to do it in some sort of video, I mean audio site.
John Burkhart: Sure, sure, and you know, it’s a fairly complicated and involved process in obtaining permissions to use copyrighted music if you’re not sort of dealing it yourself, like a local band, and… a lot of people, it’s so complicated and so time consuming that a lot of people just kind of hope they can sneak it through, and that doesn’t really work so well anymore. Especially with the Internet where anybody can actually see what you’re doing.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And people have been doing that a lot recently even with the video sharing sites, Google, and YouTube, and they’re starting out to have some of those videos of those sights because that is not just music that we’re talking about, copyrighted video, copyrighted photographs, copyrighted images.
Even videotaping, your own videotaping of a public event, you can still have some prompts. If you try to shoot something that is in a public venue, but you’re translating to one person, or perhaps a child, you can get in trouble with someone for that, if you put that on their site, you’re allowed to go to a public venue, and shoot anything, if your child is going to be doing anything, a recital, or play a recital. But if you actually focus on someone else’s child for too long, you can make that family uncomfortable and as a private citizen, we all have a right to privacy, but celebrities don’t have a right to privacy.
John Burkhart: It’s a very grey area and a good way for you to protect yourself is to carry a copy or photo of model release around you. Just a very simple document saying, you know, that this person gives you permission to be in the video that you’re shooting. And that is probably the best and easiest way to cover all your bases.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And it really is true, I’m working on a documentary that I was shooting about a year and a half ago, shooting it for a private company, it was never going to be shown anywhere else. Now they want the venue public, and I have, it was shot in a church, church ceremonies and services, and I have all these people on videotape that I can’t use because I didn’t get any permission from them ahead time, so I’m going to have to go and try to find every individual.
John Burkhart: And if you intend to sell your video to a television station, or a network, they have a copyright insurance and they make sure that every, you know, the copyright insurance provider makes sure that you have the documentation to back up every piece of music and every single person in your piece before they can consider airing it.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Right, right. Now, there are some things that you can use. We have, I just brought a couple of samples of power stacks and video juices, some of the video juices products, they have products, they have videos, they also have music, and they also have backgrounds, and, so, you can purchase these different types of products like that in digital hawk pit. They do a lot of wedding videos, and wedding backgrounds, so you can purchase things like that.
You can also use some fair use video, if you’re doing something for news, or for instance, like we’re doing critiquing, you can show up certain portion of it, and that’s considered fair use, and that’s legal.
And anything, what, before 1922?
John Burkhart: Yeah. Any video that you can get before 1922 we’d be interested in seeing. But, yeah, essentially any music that is recorded before 1922, you can use royalty free and copyright free at the moment. Next year it will be 1923.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, it does change. But also, you have to think about also, if that music record, the composer Beethoven made the music before 1922, of course, but if someone wrote that sheet music out that you’re using and it was current, then that’s copyrighted. So, you can use Beethoven music if it was copyrighted before 1922. So it does, it gets really, really great, difficult to find.
So, basically, cover all your bases, be very legal with everything you can, and use your own if you can.
John Burkhart: Yeah, get your releases and your forms, and we actually have something on the website that you can go and take a look at. The big Videomaker book of forms, and it’s exceedingly useful if you’re struggling with a copyrighting.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, you can go there, go to our website and flash at videomaker.com/shopping. And this form, this book of forms is really cool beside legal forms, it has shot lists and storyboards, and who called lists, and just about anything you could possibly want if you’re in video production. And it’s really cool book to get. And you can get that on our website.
And, so, the other tip we wanted to talk about was low light shooting.
John Burkhart: Oh, yeah. This is always a very hot topic.
Lighting in itself is something that can be pretty tricky if you’re solo shooter. You know, it comes with a lot of equipment and set things up. Shooting in low light is always very, very hot topic for our readers.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Hot topic, low light, yeah.
Lux, what is lux, I keep hearing these different things about what lux is and what is supposed to be. Lit by one candle from 3 ft away?
John Burkhart: Something like that, except different manufacturers use different measure elements. So, lux rating you can always use to compare cameras from within the same manufacturer.
Trying to compare lux ratings between manufacturers is a bit, a bit iffy.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And they don’t really want to give you all that information because they know that they really may be low on their lux light ratings. But a couple of tips. Something that our writer Kyle Cassie was writing about in a recent column was, you can light entire room full of, with just candles, if the candles are all spread out. You put all candles in one space, then you have too much light here, and not enough light here, so, that’s the same thing with any kind of lighting which you have. Incandescent or whether you’re using your ceiling lights.
John Burkhart: Yeah. There are two main issues with lights. Obviously the amount, measured in lux that gets to your CDC and makes the image. And then the quality and contrast of that light. If you have a very, very dark spot, and a very, very light spot, how your camera can capture those, those grey tones in between.
As far as tips to shooting low light, you’re kind of limited with your camera. Your camera will record what it records, but you can modify your environment by, you know, first of all, you can get more light.
Jennifer O'Rourke: More light. We were shooting a scene where we were supposed to be trying to find a night scene, night lit romantic scene with candle lights, and a way that we achieved that was, of course, candles, but we had spot lights coming on top of the two people who were in the shot. Just using a little flashlight. Flashlight just filling woman’s face here gave her a little bit more of depth shadows and it made the setting look like it was natural lighting, but we kept the light, of course, outside of the scene. You couldn’t see it.
John Burkhart: Yeah. Another trick to gain a little bit more photons for your camera is to use a low shutter speed. You can go a little bit too far with this. If you use a too low of shutter speed, you get a lot of motion blur and strobing in your image.
But we worked on a shoot at a night ZOO, and we ended up opening up our F stops as wide as they could go, and we still didn’t get enough of light, so we lowered our shutter speed a little bit and it gave sort of dreamlike animal qualities with the animals that we were shooting with it. It actually ended up looking real good, so esthetically it worked out for us. That was a technical deed.
Jennifer O'Rourke: Opening your F stop, that always confuses people. Opening your aperture, I like to call it an iris, because it’s like your eye, your iris when you think about it. I mean, you look at the cat’s eyes and they have more light going into your eyes, and their iris becomes very small, and when they have less light, the iris fills their eye. F stop, the numbers are backwards. F2 to F8, and F8 is the smaller point, and F2 is the larger point.
John Burkhart: Yes. It is counter intuitive, but you want to let as much light as you want, obviously, as you can, into your shot.
Jennifer O'Rourke: And also some cameras have a manual gain, which is a nice feature, but you also have to think about what gain.
John Burkhart: A Gain essentially takes your, the image that’s coming to CDC and artificially enhances it by raising the level, the electronic signal level, and that always adds a certain degree of noise. It’s gotten a lot better, actually, than it used to be. And in some cameras you can raise the gain real high, and still get acceptable image, but it’s something you really have to look out.
Jennifer O’Rourke: Yeah, yeah, and those check, check test on the camera and see which, I know in low lighting there are a lot of situations you can be shooting. I bought a camera for shooting my granddaughter when she was very young, and I wasn’t able to use a lot of light, so I got one that was specifically good for low light shooting. Other cameras might have been a little bit different.
If you want to deal with certain special mood lightings and things, another book that we do sell, I’m selling today, I feel like I’m shopping channel. It’s called Placing shadows, and it’s a really amazing book. We do sell it on our website so go to videomaker.com/shopping, and it shows all the different ways of good lighting instead of that just straight on face filled light that we use here at vidcast. And it’s a really, really great book. I had recommend it.
And I guess that’s Tips and techniques for today.
John Burkhart: It is for now.