I recently created a promo video for a local organization with which I am involved to help promote one of the courses they offer.

The final video was pulled from three different recording sessions.  Two sessions were set up specifically for this video, while the ending segment came from a live event I recorded.  I was given free reign to edit the video as I saw fit, so editing time was relatively minimal.  About 4 hours of recording and 6 hours of editing.

My wife, Linda Missad, created the music to go with this video.

While this video shows some of what I can do when creating a promo video, the fact that I was one of the presenters in the video limited what I could do with the cameras.  As such, there are a number of technical issues with it, which would not happen if I were actually running the cameras like normal.

If you're looking to have something like this created, expect to pay around $750 for non-commercial use, or about $1125 for commercial use.  That includes the recording sessions, editing, plus custom music.

I'm adding a new video to my portfolio here to showcase how a PowerPoint presentation may be converted to an online presentation.

The challenge with doing videos of a live presentation using PowerPoint is that often, the lights are dimmed so the audience can see the screen, and rarely is is possible to get a clean video of the material projected.

Not much can be done about recording video in a dark room.  You either have enough light to get a good image, or you don't.  And while the videographer may have lights to compensate, not all presenters are comfortable with video lights.

In this video, I did have a 3rd camera set to record the screen by itself.  Luckily, I didn't need to use that video because the presenter was willing to export a set of image files and give me to source videos, which I could easily import into the video editing software.

In the end, we came up with a fairly decent final video which includes both the presenter and the presentation.

BTW - many of the images and video in the presentation came from my trip to Egypt in 2016.

For those who may want a similar presentation recorded, my rate on this project would be around $250, or $375 with a commercial usage license.  (I recently restructured my pricing.)

Enjoy!

A nephew of mine brought in some fireworks to a family get together, and it was a perfect opportunity for me to test out my ability to capture quality video from such a display.  I think we all did rather well -- Jeff, myself, and my DVX200.

Video was shot with VLOG, at UHD 60fps and 1/120 shutter speed, at base ISO (500).  First part was shot with the iris wide open (F2.8), and about half-way through I stopped it down to F5.  Minimal post-processing, with some simple contrast and saturation adjustments, as well as cutting some of the pauses between displays.  Otherwise, straight out of camera with no cropping or noise reduction.

Audio is heavily compressed, to bring down the loudness of the fireworks and allow the ambient sounds to come through more clearly.  Sound recorded with the DVX200's built in mics.  Kind of interesting how the tree frogs came through, even when the fireworks are going off.

Edited in Magix Vegas Pro 15.

Here's a recent project I worked on, doing both videography and editing for a video intended to elicit donations and volunteers to help out with continuing efforts to support those affected by a recent flood in the area of Niles, MI.

I've pulled out the contact info for this version, but otherwise, it's essentially what was delivered to the client.

What was originally expected to be a short project ended up taking about 12 hours of editing to complete.  As such, future clients may expect to be quoted in the range of $850 (non-commercial use) / $1275 (commercial usage)  to get a video like this.  Even at this rate, I believe I'm still on the low end of the market for this type of work.

Just finished editing and uploading a video which used a new piece of equipment — a Flycam stabilizer.  This is a "steadi-cam" type of tool, which helps to keep the camera steady when moving around.

Since this was my first time using it, I wasn't as steady with it as I'd like, so I also ran the footage through a piece of stabilizing software — Mercalli V4.  This was a nice combination, and one I'll be using in more videos.

Editing time was minimal, as I included everything and didn't fuss too much with color correction.  (I was told the whole event would be outside, but the first part was inside, with a different color of light.)  As a result, this is a "low budget" piece that would run about $200, or $400 for commercial use.  The title sequence is a combination of 2 basic templates, with one minor edit to help them blend together.  The final result looks like it took a lot more time than it did.

While this video is relatively simple, and the audio isn't the greatest, I'm adding it to my video portfolio for a couple of reasons.

First, it highlights the flexibility of the new DVX200 I bought a few months ago.

For whatever reason, I wasn't happy with the default color matrix, as many skin tones turned out a bit too yellow for my tastes.  From what I read online, this was a problem with earlier firmware versions, but was supposedly fixed along the way.

After watching a few YouTube videos, and reading Barry Green's excellent book on this camera, I was able to tweak the color correction settings within the camera.  As I was recording the video below, I could honestly say I was truly happy with the colors I saw on the LCD screen.  I saw the same colors on my calibrated computer monitor, so there was very little work to be done in post to fix problematic colors.

I also used a feature in the camera to extend the dynamic range captured in the file, and was able to quickly tweak the highlights, shadows, and mid-tones for a pleasing presentation with good contrast.

This video also features an early attempt at creating my own custom titles.  Still a LOT to learn in that department!

 

I was recently asked to record a concert given at the Coptic Center I've been working with a lot lately.  The concert was performed by Mark Handler, who may be found at http://www.tibetanbowls.org.

There were a couple of challenges in getting a good recording.  While the audio portion was relatively easy — a generally quiet audience and relatively loud sound source — most of the light came from the windows BEHIND the performer.  Luckily, I already knew about the other main challenge, which was that the opening presentation would have him standing, but he would be sitting for the main concert.

Having 3 cameras covering the event, I was free to be a little more creative with the main camera, knowing that the stationary camera would be getting a good image even if I messed something up.  The only time this became necessary was for a few seconds as I was adjusting focus.

Overall, I think the final recording came out just fine.  As with most video recordings, there's lots of room for improvement, which could be implemented with more time in the editing phase.  With a larger budget, I could spend more time on this, but as it was, this came out to be a $350 video (personal use) or $700 for royalty-free commercial use.

Here is a short, 20-minute video I put together describing the basics of Harmonic Prayer.

This is the first video I’ve produced with a new piece of equipment — a teleprompter! For those interested, a Glide Gear TMP100, to be precise, which requires a tablet to display the notes/script. For the tablet, I’m using an old Asus Transformer T101, with an app called “A Prompter for Android.”

I already had the script, and had been working on it for a few days trying to memorize it, and noticed that when I had the script in front of me, it was SO MUCH EASIER to speak the words with feeling and personality than when I was focusing on just remembering the words themselves.

A few minutes of practice with the teleprompter itself, and I was comfortable enough to sit down and do a quick test video. The test video came out well enough, and as they say, it doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect, it just has to be done. So I went with what I had, and here’s the result.

For those interested in having a video like this done, the pricing depends on how well prepared you are, and how many "takes" you need to present your material well.  With quick recording and minimal processing (as done here), I can produce a similar video for around $500 with a royalty-free commercial usage license.  For personal use, the same video would be priced at $250.

I've never been afraid to try something new.  I've just been cautious to avoid wasting time.

Perhaps in the end, these are the same thing?

Either way, I do try different things from time to time, especially when I feel it's a good opportunity to experience something fun, or a way to improve what I'm doing.

A couple of years ago, after having been asked to video record a number of live events with my Nikon D800 (a stills camera with some video capability), I decided it was time to get a "real" video camera — one that didn't have a 30-minute time limit per recording.  I selected the Sony AX100, as it seemed to be the best balance between quality, cost, and portability.

At the time, I reasoned that having such a camera would not only allow me to better serve my customers, but it would also give me a way to create educational videos for my online community.  The first time out, I had hooked it up with an external audio recorder, and forgot to press the record button on that external recorder, so when it shut down, I lost audio to the video camera.

Whoops!  Guess I can't use THAT recording.

After that, I set up a space at home to serve as a recording studio, and try as I might, I just couldn't get comfortable talking to a camera with no other people around.  I would hem and haw around, start speaking, realize that I said something a little off of what I would like, start over, and eventually get so flustered I decided I needed to try a different tactic.

I was much better in front of a live audience.

So, I started recording short talks I would give here in the local area (Grand Rapids, MI), and while they turned out okay, and I felt comfortable publishing them to YouTube, they just didn't seem like the type of video I was after.

So, I put the whole idea on the back burner for a while.

Recently, I realized that what would make my "studio recordings" much easier was if I could write out a script, memorize that, and then I could focus on the script without having to "feel" the audience and respond to that, which is how I normally give my talks.

I wrote out a script, started working on memorizing it, and realized that it was going to take at least a week before I was ready to deliver it as I would like to do.  However, I also noticed that when I had the words in front of me, it was relatively easy to speak them with the proper tone and inflections, and my biggest problem now was just memorizing a 3000 word script.

And then it hit me.  Teleprompter!

I knew about them, had heard they were expensive, and even saw a few YouTube videos talking about cheap alternatives, such as printing out 20-30 seconds worth of script on a piece of paper and hanging that close to the camera.

But I had tested the idea some time ago, by recording myself talking while looking at the LCD screen on the side of the camera, and even that made it clear I wasn't looking into the lens of the camera, and therefore, not looking directly at the viewer.

So, I decided it was time to look into this further.

What I found was that there are relatively low-cost devices (around $200) that sit in front of the camera lens, and reflect the screen of a phone or tablet, which can run a teleprompter app (free or low-cost) and serve my needs perfectly.

So, I ordered one of these devices (a Glide Gear TMP100, for the interested readers), checked out a number of Android apps, and put a system together.  (BTW, it looks like the app called "A Prompter for Android" is the best fit for me.)

You know how when you make a decision, and then you get a feeling in your gut about that decision?

That's your deeper mind speaking to the wisdom of the decision your conscious mind just made.

Well, my gut is telling me I made a GREAT decision here, and that I'll finally be able to turn all the writing I've done into video content.  I'll just need some practice.

Over the years, I've already practiced reading scripts to produce audio materials that don't sound too much like I'm reading a script.  I now need to practice the physical aspects of reading a script so I don't LOOK like I'm reading a script.

That's my task for today.  I just set it up with my DVX200 (which worked better than I expected), and I've already got a script to work with.

My early testing has indicated that I might want to work on the formatting of the script to adjust the timing in different spots, as the teleprompter app scrolls the text at a fixed speed, so any adjustments in timing need to be done using blank lines and "junk" text to slow it down from the fastest parts of the script.

Overall, my investment here was less than $250, and I think this is going to help both me and my video clients to produce much better videos.

Last night, I had the opportunity to record a workshop in which the "best" shots would be in the middle of all the activity.  This was a new experience for me, as I normally record events from the sidelines where I'm not in anyone's way.

Luckily, no one minded my being there.  Maybe because I moved around from time to time so I wouldn't be in anyone's way for long.

Overall, I think it turned out really well, and am proud to add it to my video portfolio.

The thing I've learned with these videos is that you can always spend more time tweaking things to improve them further.  Where you stop is more a matter of what you're willing to spend on it than anything else.  As it is now, I spent nearly 2 hours editing this 72-minute video.  If I were to quote a fee on this type of project, that quote would be around $250 for personal use / $500 for (royalty-free) commercial use.

The final video includes shots from 3 cameras, including a DVX200 on a tripod, and a Yi 4k action camera on a window ledge.  The main camera was my trusty AX100 on a monopod, which also served as a mock-steadicam for moving shots.  Edited with Magix Vegas Pro 15 software.

While I did have a professional mic on the DVX, most of the audio in the final video came from the built-in mics of the AX100.  In the right situation, they do admirably well.

For the past four and a half years, I've been recording services at the Coptic Center here in the Grand Rapids area, and using this as practice as I develop my skills as a videographer.

I started in 2013 with the Nikon D800 camera I bought for still photography, and then added a 'real' video camera (Sony AX100) to my kit in April 2016 when I saw that I was getting more calls to do video jobs than I was getting for still photography jobs.  Last month (December 2017), I purchased a professional video camera, the Panasonic DVX200.  I also have a small Yi 4K action cam.

Last night, I set up three of my cameras to record the presentation at the Coptic Center, and I have to say I'm quite happy with the results.

What surprised me, though, was that editing the footage together didn't take much more time than editing two cameras.  A little over two hours.

So, for the time being, I'm adding this video to my portfolio as an example of what I can do.  For those looking to hire me, I can produce a similar video for around $200 for personal use / $400 for (royalty-free) commercial use.

This is a first-time interview with someone who is starting a new website and wanted to introduce herself in a more personal way with video.

I asked her a series of questions and edited together her answers to compile this documentary-style promo video.

Original interview recorded on a chromakey green screen, with park footage used as a background.

For those looking to have a similar video created, I can do this for around $200 (personal use, as for a family history recording) or $400 (royalty-free commercial use).

At some point in our lives, many of us make a decision, either consciously or unconsciously, to stick with what we know.

Maybe we're happy with what we have.

Maybe we get tired of figuring out new things.

And maybe we're scared of change.

Whatever the reason, one of the biggest problems I see in most people is a reluctance to change.

For the record, I've been caught in this as well.

Back in the 90s, I had folks suggesting that I get into web design, since I had some skills with page layout programs like CorelDraw.

I resisted, because there was so much I didn't know and would have to learn.

A couple of years ago, when I decided to get back into photography, I considered whether I should stick with stills or get into video.

I resisted getting into video.

With still photography, you only need one good moment to get a good image.  With video, you need a sequence of moments, flowing one to the next to produce a good video.

In both cases, I resisted because of the work I expected each one to require.

As it turned out, a large part of my business is now online, and I've learned a lot more than just web design.  I even learned the PHP programming language and how to write scripts.

And with video, I have people specifically asking me to create video for them, even though I don't promote that service.

So, I've decided to go with it, and I've purchased a good video camera.

I admit, I'm looking forward to using it to create better video products to sell, and to create promotional videos for use on the websites.

There's a quote that says that the thing you're afraid to do is the same thing you need to do.

Not sure I completely agree with that quote, but it is interesting that the things I've resisted are becoming the center pieces of my business.

What about you?

What have you been resisting?

Are you stuck in a "comfort zone", or do you allow yourself the opportunity to stretch your wings and explore new territory?

I encourage you to try something new, today if you can.  Before the end of the week for sure.

It might be scary, but it will help you grow into a more powerful individual.

You can do it.  I believe in you.

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