Category Archives: Equipment

What the new iPhone 6 camera and video features mean for real estate

They said it wouldn’t be done. Late Apple founder Steve Jobs, specifically, said his company would never develop a larger smartphone like those rival Samsung and others were deploying, because, in his words, “No one’s going to buy that.”

Equipment Review: Kyle Hart’s Rhino Slider for DSLR Cameras

Before I tell you what the Rhino Slider is, you should probably know what a plain ole slider is, right? Right. So a slider is simply a slimmed down version of a dolly that usually just mounts on a single tripod. It’s purpose is to give you more dynamic shots with the least amount of effort, and allow you to get that camera moving in tight spaces where you can’t get big, bulky equipment.

The downside to affordable, friction-based sliders though is that they stick. They’re cheap, yeah, but you get what you pay for. Getting smooth motion out of sliders like this is a gigantic pain. On the other end, smoother sliders are much more expensive and even for the price they tend to be loud, making it impossible to collect audio during your shots.

How To Use the F-Stop: Depth of Field #2

Previously, we gave you a brief rundown of how to crush that depth of field. Now, let’s focus on one of those elements:

The F-stop.

On a lens, the f-stop number affects the size of the lens’ aperture by controlling the iris.

Here’s a simpler explanation:

Imagine your eye is the lens and the pupil is the aperture, or size of the opening letting light into your eye. Your iris changes size in different situations to make sure your retinas don’t get fried from too much sunlight. On your eye, the iris controls itself automatically, but on a camera it’s controlled on a scale of numbers called the F-Stop scale. And it’s very important to understand how the scale works in order to keep control over your image.

So let’s take a look at it, shall we?

The scale starts down here at one and can go all the way up to 32 on a normal scale, with the amount of light decreasing as the number rises. So an f/2.4 will let in more light than an f/11. Smaller numbers equals more light, which you know from our last depth of field video equals shallower depth of field.
You may think the numbers on this scale are arbitrary, but they actually represent the ratio between the size of the aperture, and the focal length of the lens, which is the distance from the aperture to the film plane where the image is captured.

Using a DSLR to shoot gives you a lot of simple options for maximizing your aperture so you keep that depth of field nice and slim. First, put the camera on Manual. Putting the camera to manual let’s you first control the f-stop, which for now we’ll assume you want as wide open as the lens will allow, letting in as much light as possible. From here, DSLRs have a handy dandy feature that let’s you select what ISO or sensitivity you want to shoot at.

Pay attention… This can get tricky.

While the lower the f-stop the more light you get, the HIGHER the ISO the more light you get. So with the f-stop all the way open, you’ll likely need to lower the ISO to keep your shots from being blown out. It’s a simple process, but it will take some tweaking.

For the newbies out there, most DSLRs have what’s called Aperture Priority Mode. This allows the camera to make changes to your settings automatically, but tells it to ignore the aperture. So if you want an aperture of 2.4, your camera will adjust the other settings such as ISO and shutter speed in order to achieve proper exposure.

That was a lot of information, but once you process all of that mess you’ll have a better understanding of f-stop, aperture, and iris, and ultimately will achieve ultimate control over your image.

Read our other Video Production Tip blogs, watch the videos, and give us feedback about what you would like to learn next!

What Is A Neutral Density Filter?

The first video of our Advanced Lighting series taught you how to place some gels on your lights and keep your color temperature in check. This time around you’ll be placing even more gels on your lights to keep their intensity in check. We’re talking about ND or Neutral Density filters and their job is to keep parts of your scene, or your whole scene as we’ll get into later, from being too bright.

ND gels work a lot like color temperature gels in that you just clip them onto your lights for them to do their job, but obviously we’re dealing with brightness, not color, so they have very different functions. These gels are available most commonly in three grades, .3, .6 and .9, each getting darker as the number rises. So the higher the number, the more it’s going to knock down the intensity of the light. If your backlight is putting too harsh a rim on your talent, stick an ND on there to help bring it down a notch.

But, what if your whole scene is too bright?

There’s a solution for that too! There are ND filters available that screw right onto the end of your lens bringing the brightness of your entire scene back from that “surface of the sun” look we’re trying to avoid. The ND lens filters come in the same intensities as the gels, though you can find different grades if you try.

In one of our videos about depth of field, we tell you that one of the factors that determine your depth of field is your aperture. So if you have to close down your aperture to knock down the brightness, you start to deepen your depth of field and lose that filmic look that blurring parts of your scene gives you. Sticking an ND filter on your lens saves you from having to do this and preserves that deliciously shallow depth of field all amateur movie makers are looking for.

If you want to get real fancy, you can even find gradient ND lens filters that start at a certain intensity on one side and taper off at the other. These are perfect for keeping your skies from being totally blown out when filming a landscape or any scene where you’re seeing a lot of this bright blue dome around the Earth. When it comes to exposure, the name of the game is CONTROL. If you can’t control your light, it will control you and let me tell you, it will NOT be gentle.

Read our other Video Production Tip blogs, watch the videos, and give us feedback about what you would like to learn next!