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BASIC EQUIPMENT ACCT-BVP1-4. Students will be able to demonstrate proper set-up and use of basic production equipment. Demonstrate steps necessary to set-up, turn on ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • ACCT-BVP1-4. Students will be able to demonstrate
    proper set-up and use of basic production
  • Demonstrate steps necessary to set-up, turn on,
    and operate equipment according to instructors
  • Load, record, and play video/audio equipment.
  • Demonstrate the use of a computer in
    broadcast/video production applications.
  • Demonstrate proper picture composition
  • Demonstrate proper camera movement.
  • Demonstrate proper use of microphones.
  • Identify qualities of a technically acceptable
    audio track.
  • Demonstrate mastery of aesthetics to include
    composition, coordination, balance, and color
  • Demonstrate basic lighting techniques.
  • Explain the care, storage, and use of media
    hardware and software.
  • Determine proper cables for set-up and operation
    of production equipment.

Basic Operations of a Video Camera
  • A camcorder is a portable camera/recorder
    combination. To operate a camcorder
    successfully, you need to understand four
    essential controls
  • Power
  • Record
  • Zoom
  • White balance matches the camcorder to the
    overall color quality of the light in which you
    are shooting. All camcorders have an automatic
    setting for white balance. For now, use the
    automatic setting to let the camcorder read the
    incoming light color and adjust itself
    automatically. Always check to make sure your
    camcorder is set to automatic white balance.

Camera Work
  • These tutorials are designed to provide you with
    knowledge and skills to improve every aspect of
    your camera work. They begin at the absolute
    novice level and work through to professional
  • They are also applicable to any type of camera
    work.  It doesn't matter whether you aspire to be
    an amateur movie maker or a career camera
    operator the same basic principles and
    techniques apply to all.
  • To get the most out of these tutorials, you
    should have two things
  • Access to a video camera. You should know how to
    turn it on, load a tape, press record, etc. If
    you're having trouble with these basic functions,
    refer to your camera manual or supplier.
  • Patience. Camera work is a skill which requires
    lots of learning and practice.
  • Initially it won't really matter what sort of
    camera you use, but one with a good range of
    manual functions is preferable. You can get
    choosy about your camera later.
  • Although the only equipment you really need is a
    camera, if you're serious you might want to
    consider buying a few extra toys. To get started
    the best accessory you can buy is a good tripod.

  • It's unavoidable if you're serious, you've got
    to know some jargon. Fortunately, it's not too
    complicated. This page contains a few essential
    terms to get you started.
  • Shot All video is made up of shots. A shot is
    basically from when you press record to when you
    stop recording. Like the individual photos which
    make up an album, the shots get put together to
    make a video.
  • Framing Composition The frame is the picture
    you see in the viewfinder (or on a monitor).
    Composition refers to the layout of everything
    within a picture frame what the subject is,
    where it is in the frame, which way it's
    facing/looking, the background, the foreground,
    lighting, etc.
  • When you "frame" a shot, you adjust the camera
    position and zoom lens until your shot has the
    desired composition.
  • There is a general set of rules in the video
    industry which describe how to frame different
    types of camera shots, such as Wide Shot (WS),
    Very Wide Shot (VWS), Close Up (CU), etc...

  • Transition Shots are linked (edited) in a
    sequence to tell a larger story. The way in which
    any two shots are joined together is called the
  • Usually this is a simple cut, in which one shot
    changes instantly to the next. More complex
    transitions include mixing, wipes and digital
    effects. A moving shot (e.g. pan) can also be
    thought of as a transition from one shot to a new
  • The transition is very important in camera work,
    and you need to think constantly about how every
    shot will fit in with the ones before and after
    it. The key is not so much how the transition is
    achieved technically, but how the composition of
    each shot fits together.
  • Here are few more important terms. They will be
    explained in greater detail later
  • Pan Side-to-side camera movement
  • Tilt Up-and-down camera movement
  • Zoom In-and-out camera movement (i.e. closer and
    more distant)
  • Follow Any sort of shot when you are holding the
    camera (or have it mounted on your shoulder), and
    you follow the action whilst walking. Hard to
    keep steady, but very effective when done well.
  • Iris (Exposure) The opening which lets light into
    the camera. A wider iris means more light and a
    brighter picture
  • White balance Adjusting the colors until they
    look natural and consistent.
  • Shutter Analogous to the shutter in a still
  • Audio Sound which is recorded to go with the

  • This is the most important step, and perhaps the
    most difficult to master. It should be where most
    of your energy is directed.
  • Camera work is only one skill in a larger process
    the goal of which is usually to produce a
    completed video, TV program, or presentation of
    some kind. To be good at camera work, you must
    have a clear picture of the whole process, and
    some idea of what the finished product should
    look sound like.
  • If there's one thing that separates the amateurs
    from the pros, it's that amateurs "point and
    shoot", whereas pros "plan and shoot". Obviously
    there are times when you don't have time to
    prepare before having to record sometimes the
    action begins unexpectedly, and you just have to
    go for it. In these cases, as far as possible,
    you plan as you go. It can't be stressed enough
    planning is everything.
  • For general camera work, you can divide your plan
    into two parts The "Shoot Plan" and the "Shot

  • In this case, the word shoot refers to a shooting
    session. If you think of everything you record as
    being part of a shoot, and have a plan for every
    shoot, then you're well on the way to having
    better organized footage.
  • First of all, be clear about the purpose of every
    shoot. Generally speaking, everything you do
    should be working towards a larger plan. Exactly
    what this is will depend on many factors.
  • If you're making a feature film, then the
    long-term plan is to gather all the shots
    required by the script/storyboard.
  • If you're making home videos, the long-term plan
    might be to create a historical archive for
    future generations (for more suggestions on this
    topic, see our tutorial on Home Video
  • If you're making a one-off project (such as a
    wedding video), you still have to bear in mind
    the long-term implications for the shoot.
  • Planning means adopting an attitude in which you
    take control. When you get out your video camera,
    instead of thinking "This will look good on
    video" and starting to shoot whatever happens,
    think "What do I want this to look like on
    video?". You then shoot (and if necessary,
    direct) the action to achieve your goal.
  • Plan the approximate length of the shoot How
    much footage do you need to end up with, and how
    long will it take you to get it?
  • Have a checklist of equipment, which could
    include camera tripod tapes batteries/power
    supply microphones and audio equipment lights
    and stands pens, log sheets and other paper work.

  • This is critical. If you think that this doesn't
    applies to you, then you're wrong. Everything you
    capture must be shot with editing in mind. There
    are two basic ways to edit Post-production and
  • Post-production (or just "post") editing means
    taking the shots you've recorded and
    re-assembling them later using editing equipment.
    This is how the professionals work it gives you
    much greater flexibility when you're shooting and
    much better finished results. To do simple post
    editing, all you need is your camera, a VCR, and
    a few connecting leads. What it means for your
    shooting plan is that you can collect your shots
    in any order, and you can get as many shots as
    you like. At the editing stage, you discard
    unwanted shots and assemble the good ones however
    you like. This can be a time-consuming task
    (especially if you don't have much editing gear),
    but it's usually worth the effort.
  • In-Camera editing simply means that what you
    shoot is what you get there is no
    post-production. The point here is that you're
    still editing. You still must decide which shot
    goes where, and which shots you don't need at
    all. The difference is that you're making these
    edit decisions as you shoot, rather than in post.
    This isn't easy, and it isn't possible to get it
    right all of the time. It requires planning,
    foresight, and experience.
  • Note There is one other situation which should
    be mentioned the live multi-camera shoot. This
    is where a number of cameras are linked to a
    central vision mixer, and a director cuts between
    cameras (for example, a live sports
    presentation). In this case, you can think of the
    editing as being done in real time as the shoot
  • Whichever method of editing you use, there are
    fundamental rules to follow. Since understanding
    these rules requires some knowledge of shot types
    and framing, we'll leave them for now and come
    back to them later.

  • Once you have a plan for your shooting session,
    you're ready to begin planning individual shots.
  • First of all, have a reason for every shot. Ask
    yourself "What am I trying to achieve with this
    shot? Is this shot even necessary? Have I already
    got a shot that's essentially the same as this
    one? Is my audience going to care about this
  • Once you're happy that you have a good reason to
    get the shot, think about the best way to get it.
    Consider different angles, framing, etc. The art
    of good composition takes time to master but with
    practice you will get there.
  • Ask yourself exactly what information you wish to
    convey to your audience through this shot, and
    make sure you capture it in a way that they will
  • Take the time to get each shot right, especially
    if it's an important one. If necessary (and if
    you're editing in post), get a few different
    versions of the shot so you can choose the best
    one later.
  • Also, for post editing, leave at least 5 seconds
    of pictures at the beginning and end of each
    shot. This is required by editing equipment, and
    also acts as a safety buffer.
  • Finally, one more piece of advice Before
    planning or shooting anything, imagine watching
    it completed.

Camera Settings
  • Many cameras have a menu function with many
    different functions.
  • On camera editing
  • Date Time functions
  • Color Effects
  • A default setting on a camcorder is an action or
    condition that is automatically chosen by the
    equipment, unless you actively select a different

  • Most domestic camcorders can do just about
    everything automatically. All you have to do is
    turn them on, point, and press record. In most
    situations this is fine, but automatic functions
    have some serious limitations. If you want to
    improve your camera work, you must learn to take
    control of your camera. This means using manual
    functions. In fact, professional cameras have
    very few automatic functions, and professional
    camera operators would never normally use
    auto-focus or auto-iris.
  • This is where most beginners ask "Why not? My
    auto-focus works fine, and my pictures seem to
    look okay." There are two answers
  • Although auto-functions usually perform well
    enough, there will be some situations they can't
    cope with (e.g. bad lighting conditions). In
    these circumstances you may be faced with
    unusable footage unless you can take manual
    control. More commonly, your shots will be
    useable but poor quality (e.g. going in and out
    of focus).
  • Your camera can't know what you want. To get the
    best results or obtain a particular effect it is
    often necessary to over-ride auto-functions and
    go manual.
  • As you learn more about camera work you will
    begin to appreciate the better results gained
    through manual functions.
  • The most common camera operations are briefly
    explained below (they are covered in more detail
    in other tutorials). Starting at the beginning,
    learn and practice one at a time, leaving the
    others on auto-function.

  • This is the function which moves your point of
    view closer to, or further away from, the
    subject. The effect is similar to moving the
    camera closer or further away.
  • Note that the further you zoom in, the more
    difficult it is to keep the picture steady. In
    some cases you can move the camera closer to the
    subject and then zoom out so you have basically
    the same framing. For long zooms you should use a
  • Zooming is the function everyone loves. It's easy
    and you can do lots with it, which is why it's so
    over-used. The most common advice we give on
    using the zoom is use it less. It works well in
    moderation but too much zooming is tiring for the

  • Focus is the state of an image when the lines of
    contrast appear as sharp as possible in focus.
  • Auto-focus is a common feature on consumer
    cameras that keeps only the center of the picture
    in focus. It is strictly for amateurs. Unlike
    still photography, there is no way auto-focus can
    meet the needs of a serious video camera
    operator. Many people find manual focus
    difficult, but if you want to be any good at all,
    good focus control is essential.
  • Professional cameras usually have a manual focus
    ring at the front of the lens housing. Turn the
    ring clockwise for closer focus,
    counter-clockwise for more distant focus.
    Consumer cameras have different types of focus
    mechanisms usually a small dial.
  • To obtain the best focus, zoom in as close as you
    can on the subject you wish to focus on, adjust
    the ring until the focus is sharp, then zoom out
    to the required framing.

  • This is an adjustable opening (aperture), which
    controls the amount of light coming through the
    lens (i.e. the "exposure"). As you open the iris,
    more light comes in and the picture appears
  • Professional cameras have an iris ring on the
    lens housing, which you turn clockwise to close
    and counter clockwise to open. Consumer-level
    cameras usually use either a dial or a set of
  • The rule of thumb for iris control is Set your
    exposure for the subject. Other parts of the
    picture can be too bright or darks, as long as
    the subject is easy to see.

  • White balance means color balance. It's a
    function which tells the camera what each color
    should look like, by giving it a "true white"
    reference. If the camera knows what white looks
    like, then it will know what all other colors
    look like.
  • This function is normally done automatically by
    consumer-level cameras without the operator even
    being aware of it's existence. It actually works
    very well in most situations, but there will be
    some conditions that the auto-white won't like.
    In these situations the colors will seem wrong or
  • To perform a white balance, point the camera at
    something matt (non-reflective) white in the same
    light as the subject, and frame it so that most
    or all of the picture is white. Set your focus
    and exposure, then press the "white balance"
    button (or throw the switch). There should be
    some indicator in the viewfinder which tells you
    when the white balance has completed. If it
    doesn't work, try adjusting the iris, changing
    filters, or finding something else white to
    balance on.
  • You should do white balances regularly,
    especially when lighting conditions change (e.g.
    moving between indoors and outdoors).

  • Virtually all consumer-level cameras come with
    built-in microphones, usually hi-fi stereo. These
    work fine, and are all you need for most general
  • Getting better results with audio is actually
    quite difficult and is a whole subject in itself.
    We won't go into it much here you just need to
    be aware that audio is very important and
    shouldn't be overlooked.
  • If you're keen, try plugging an external
    microphone into the "mic input" socket of your
    camera (if it has one). There are two reasons why
    you might want to do this
  • You may have a mic which is more suited to the
    type of work you are doing than the camera's
    built-in mic. Often, the better mic will simply
    be mounted on top of the camera.
  • You might need to have the mic in a different
    position to the camera. For example, when
    covering a speech, the camera could be at the
    back of the room with a long audio lead running
    to the stage, where you have a mic mounted on the
  • The level at which your audio is recorded is
    important. Most cameras have an "auto-gain
    control", which adjusts the audio level
    automatically. Consumer-level cameras are usually
    set up like this, and it works well in most
    situations. If you have a manual audio level
    control, it's a good idea to learn how to use it
    (more on this later). Gain is the strength of an
    audio or video signal.

  • If possible, try to keep the background (ambient)
    noise level more or less consistent. This adds
    smoothness to the flow of the production. Of
    course, some shots will require sudden changes in
    ambient audio for effect.
  • Listen to what people are saying and build it
    into the video. Try not to start and finish shots
    while someone is talking there's nothing worse
    than a video full of half-sentences.
  • Be very wary of background music while shooting
    this can result is music that jumps every time
    the shot changes, like listening to a badly
    scratched record. If you can, turn the music
    right down or off.
  • One more thing... be careful of wind noise. Even
    the slightest breeze can ruin your audio. Many
    cameras have a "low-cut filter", sometimes
    referred to as a "wind-noise filter" or something
    similar. These do help, but a better solution is
    to block the wind. You can use a purpose-designed
    wind sock, or try making one yourself.

  • At the beginner level you don't really need to
    use the shutter, but it deserves a quick mention.
    It has various applications, most notably for
    sports or fast-action footage. The main advantage
    is that individual frames appear sharper
    (critical for slow-motion replays). The main
    disadvantage is that motion appears more jerky.
  • The shutter can also be used to help control

  • Many consumer cameras come with a selection of
    built-in digital effects, such as digital still,
    mix, strobe, etc. These can be very cool, or they
    can be very clumsy and tacky. They require
    dedicated experimentation to get right. Like so
    many things in video, moderation is the key use
    them if you have a good reason to, but don't
    overdo it.
  • You should also be aware that almost every effect
    you can create with a camera can be done better
    with editing software. If at all possible, shoot
    your footage "dry" (without effects) and add
    effects later.
  • Any in camera effects you use will permanently be
    saved to your video and you will not be able to
    take them off later, so make sure you really want
    them on your film. If you are not sure that you
    want a specific effect wait until you can test it
    using the editing software.

  • Although it is sometimes the more practical
    solution to use automatic features, as a general
    rule you should do as many camera operations
    manually as you can AS YOU BECOME MORE ADVANCED

Avoiding Camera Problems
  • Do not move from place to place with the camera
    mounted on the tripod.
  • Avoid Quick movements and zooms in and out
  • Dont pose subjects on backgrounds lighter than
    they are.
  • Film a minimum of 5-10 seconds

  • Shots are all about composition. Rather than
    pointing the camera at the subject, you need to
    compose an image. As mentioned previously,
    framing is the process of creating composition.
  • Notes
  • Framing technique is very subjective. What one
    person finds dramatic, another may find
    pointless. What we're looking at here are a few
    accepted industry guidelines which you should use
    as rules of thumb.
  • The rules of framing video images are essentially
    the same as those for still photography.

Good Quality Video
  • Head Room- means positioning subjects at a
    pleasing distance from the top of the picture.
    Dont cut off the top of someones head.
  • Look Room Center your subject in the center
    from left to right only if they are looking at
    you. If your subject is looking to the left or
    right, leave more room in the direction in which
    they are looking.
  • Lead Room- Allow extra room in front of the
    subject as they are moving left or right.

Good Quality Video
  • Rule of Thirds- People tend to center subjects in
    their picture. A tree is photographed dividing
    the frame vertically. The horizon is placed so
    it divides the image horizontally. The resulting
    picture looks balanced and rather dull. You
    might call this kind of composition the rule of
    halves because the frame is divided in half on
    both sides.

Good Quality Video
  • Rule of Thirds- If you imagine a tic-tac-toe grid
    in front of your picture, you can divide the
    image into thirds instead of halves. The
    resulting composition will be much more

Good Quality Video
  • An axis is the same in video as in graphed
    algebra equations. The X axis is horizontal
    (left-to-right) and the Y axis is vertical

Good Quality Video
  • Everything in your frame is important, not just
    the subject. What does the background look like?
    What's the lighting like? Is there anything in
    the frame which is going to be distracting, or
    disrupt the continuity of the video? Pay
    attention to the edges of your frame. Avoid
    having half objects in frame, especially people
    (showing half of someone's face is very
    unflattering). Also try not to cut people of at
    the joints the bottom of the frame can cut
    across a person's stomach, but not their knees.
    It just doesn't look right.
  • Once you're comfortable with the do's and don'ts,
    you can become more creative. Think about the
    best way to convey the meaning of the shot. If
    it's a baby crawling, get down on the floor and
    see it from a baby's point-of-view (POV). If it's
    a football game, maybe you need to get up high to
    see all the action.
  • Look for interesting and unusual shots. Most of
    your shots will probably be quite "straight"
    that is, normal shots from approximate adult
    eye-level. Try mixing in a few variations.
    Different angles and different camera positions
    can make all the difference. For example a shot
    can become much more dramatic if shot from a low
    point. On the other hand, a new and interesting
    perspective can be obtained by looking straight
    down on the scene. Be aware that looking up at a
    person can make them appear more imposing,
    whereas looking down at a person can diminish
  • Watch TV and movies, and notice the shots which
    stand out. There's a reason why they stand out
    it's all about camera positioning and frame
    composition. Experiment all the time.

  • Position yourself and your camera. If you're
    using a tripod, make sure it's stable and level
    (unless you have a reason for it to be tilted).
    If the tripod has a spirit level, check it. If
    you're going to be panning and/or tilting, make
    sure that you'll be comfortably positioned
    throughout the whole move. You don't want to
    start a pan, then realize you can't reach around
    far enough to get the end of it. If it's going to
    be difficult, you're better off finding the
    position which is most comfortable at the end of
    the move, so that you start in the more awkward
    position and become more comfortable as you
    complete the move. If the tripod head doesn't
    have a bowl (this includes most cheaper tripods),
    it's very important to check that the framing
    still looks level as you pan - it may be okay in
    one direction but become horribly slanted as you
    pan left and right.
  • If you're not using a tripod, stabilize yourself
    and your camera as best you can. Keep your arms
    and elbows close to your body (you can use your
    arms as "braces" against your torso). Breathe
    steadily. For static shots, place your feet at
    shoulder width (if you're standing), or try
    bracing yourself against some solid object
    (furniture, walls, or anything).

  • Frame your shot. Then do a quick mental check
    white balance focus iris framing (vertical and
    horizontal lines, background, etc.).
  • Think about your audio. Audio is just as
    important as vision, so don't forget about it.
  • Press "record". Once you're recording, make sure
    that you are actually recording. There's no worse
    frustration than realizing that you were
    accidentally recording all the time you were
    setting the shot up, then stopped recording when
    you thought you were starting. Many cameras have
    a tape "roll-in time", which means that there is
    a delay between the time you press record and
    when the camera begins recording. Do some tests
    and find out what your camera's roll-in time is,
    so you can then compensate for it.

  • Many cameras have a tape "roll-in time", which
    means that there is a delay between the time you
    press record and when the camera begins
    recording. Do some tests and find out what your
    camera's roll-in time is, so you can then
    compensate for it.
  • Keep checking the status displays in the
    viewfinder. Learn what all the indicators mean
    they can give you valuable information.
  • Use both eyes. A valuable skill is the ability to
    use one eye to look through the viewfinder, and
    the other eye to watch your surroundings. It
    takes a while to get used to it, but it means
    that you can walk around while shooting without
    tripping over, as well as keeping an eye out for
    where the action is happening. It's also easier
    on your eyes during long shoots.

  • Learn to walk backwards. Have someone place
    their hand in the middle of your back and guide
    you. These shots can look great.
  • You'll often see television presenters walking
    and talking, as the camera operator walks
    backwards shooting them.
  • Keep thinking "Framing...Audio..." As long as
    you're recording, think about how the frame
    composition is changing, and what's happening to
    the sound.
  • Press "record stop" before moving. Just as in
    still photography, you should wait until one
    second after you've finished recording (or taken
    the photo) before you move. Too many home videos
    end every shot with a jerky movement as the
    operator hits the stop button.

  • Use the "date/time stamp" feature sparingly. It's
    unnecessary to have the time and date displayed
    throughout your video, and it looks cheap. If you
    must have it there, bring it up for a few
    seconds, then get rid of it.
  • Modern digital cameras have the ability to show
    or hide this display at any time after recording.
  • Be prepared to experiment. Think about some of
    the things you'd like to try doing, then try them
    at a time that doesn't matter (i.e. don't
    experiment while shooting a wedding). Most new
    techniques take practice and experimentation to
    achieve success, and good camera work requires
  • If you want to be good, you'll have to invest
    some time.

  • Use the "date/time stamp" feature sparingly. It's
    unnecessary to have the time and date displayed
    throughout your video, and it looks cheap. If you
    must have it there, bring it up for a few
    seconds, then get rid of it.
  • Modern digital cameras have the ability to show
    or hide this display at any time after recording.
  • Be prepared to experiment. Think about some of
    the things you'd like to try doing, then try them
    at a time that doesn't matter (i.e. don't
    experiment while shooting a wedding). Most new
    techniques take practice and experimentation to
    achieve success, and good camera work requires
  • If you want to be good, you'll have to invest
    some time.

  • Types VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, MiniDV, DVD, Hard drive
  • Be careful inserting the video tape!
    Miniaturized camcorders are somewhat delicate.
    You can break them by forcing a tape. If the
    tape does not slide in easily, make sure it is
    facing the correct direction.

Preparing the tape
  • Once the tape is inside the camcorder, it must be
    prepared for use. If the tape is brand ne, roll
    it forward about 30 seconds. Do this by pressing
    the record button with the cap still covering the
    lens. This is done because the first few inches
    of tape will gradually stretch as the cassette is
    repeatedly rewound to its beginning, eventually
    ruining any material recorded there.

Preparing the tape
  • If you have used a tape before, you must prepare
    it by rolling down to raw stock.
  • Tape Preparation is very important because you
    never know who filmed before you and where they
    left the tape. You do not want to accidentally
    record over someone else's or your own footage
    and you dont want someone else to record over
    your footage.

  • Camcorders may be used with an A/C power adapter
    or a battery. If you are around a power outlet,
    use it and conserve your batteries for when you
    are not around a power outlet.
  • Batteries are not indestructible and can be
    damaged by dropping them or leaving them in
    extreme temperatures.

  • Camcorders may be used with an A/C power adapter
    or a battery. If you are around a power outlet,
    use it and conserve your batteries for when you
    are not around a power outlet.
  • Batteries are not indestructible and can be
    damaged by dropping them or leaving them in
    extreme temperatures.
  • Never go out shooting without at least one fully
    charged battery. Batteries usually dont usually
    last as long as they are supposed to especially
    if they are older.

  • Although a skilled camera operator can shoot good
    quality footage by hand-holding, it is difficult
    to obtain steady images without the support of a
    tripod. Shaky pictures are the most obvious
    signs of amateurish production.
  • Your hands are not as steady as you think they
    are. Because many students smoke and drinking
    high level caffeine drinks their hands shake more
    than they should and it is more evident on film.

  • There are two major parts to a tripod, the tripod
    itself and the tripod boot.
  • The tripod boot screws into the bottom of the
    camera. Make sure you do not screw it in too
    tightly, or you may crack the bottom of the
  • In order to insert the tripod boot into the
    camera, make sure to move the quick release
    mechanism so that the boot fits in easily and
    then move the quick release again to secure.

Using the Tripod
  • Make sure the tripod head is level by adjusting
    the lengths of the legs or using the ball head.
  • If the tripod has a center column, try not to use
    it, because it makes the tripod less stable.
  • Point one leg at the subject to be video taped.
    Doing this will let you stand close behind the
    camera, in the space between the other two legs.
  • When you pan the camera (pivot it from side to
    side), stand facing the center of the move. To
    make the shot, twist your upper body to frame the
    start of the shot, the opposite way until you
    frame the end of the shot.

Hand-Holding the Camera
  • You cant always use a tripod, but you should
    always use a tripod if you can.
  • If you cant use a tripod, never use the flip out
    screen. Instead, use the eye piece and both
    hands. This helps to steady your shot.
  • Prop yourself up
  • Hold your breath
  • Dont walk while shooting if you can avoid it.

  • What is "Audio"?
  • Audio means "of sound" or "of the reproduction of
    sound". Specifically, it refers to the range of
    frequencies detectable by the human ear
    approximately 20Hz to 20kHz. It's not a bad idea
    to memorize those numbers 20Hz is the
    lowest-pitched (bassiest) sound we can hear,
    20kHz is the highest pitch we can hear.
  • Audio work involves the production, recording,
    manipulation and reproduction of sound waves. To
    understand audio you must have a grasp of two
  • Sound Waves What they are, how they are produced
    and how we hear them.
  • Sound Equipment What the different components
    are, what they do, how to choose the correct
    equipment and use it properly.
  • Fortunately it's not particularly difficult.
    Audio theory is simpler than video theory and
    once you understand the basic path from the sound
    source through the sound equipment to the ear, it
    all starts to make sense.
  • Technical note In physics, sound is a form of
    energy known as acoustical energy.

  • The Field of Audio Work
  • The field of audio is vast, with many areas of
    specialty. Hobbyists use audio for all sorts of
    things, and audio professionals can be found in a
    huge range of vocations. Some common areas of
    audio work include
  • Studio Sound Engineer Radio technician
  • Live Sound Engineer Film/Television Sound
  • Musician Audio Editor
  • Music Producer Post-Production Audio Creator
  • DJ Field Sound Engineer

  • In addition, many other professions require a
    level of audio proficiency. For example, video
    camera operators should know enough about audio
    to be able to record good quality sound with
    their pictures.
  • Speaking of video-making, it's important to
    recognize the importance of audio in film and
    video. A common mistake amongst amateurs is to
    concentrate only on the vision and assume that as
    long as the microphone is working the audio will
    be fine. However, satisfactory audio requires
    skill and effort. Sound is critical to the flow
    of the program indeed in many situations high
    quality sound is more important than high quality
  • Most jobs in audio production require some sort
    of specialist skill set, whether it be micing up
    a drum kit or creating synthetic sound effects.
    Before you get too carried away with learning
    specific tasks, you should make sure you have a
    general grounding in the principles of sound.
    Once you have done this homework you will be well
    placed to begin specializing.
  • The first thing to tackle is basic sound wave

  • Sound waves can also be shown in a standard x vs
    y graph, as shown here. This allows us to
    visualize and work with waves from a mathematical
    point of view. The resulting curves are known as
    the "waveform" (i.e. the form of the wave.)
  • The wave shown here represents a constant tone at
    a set frequency. You will have heard this noise
    being used as a test or identification signal.
    This "test tone" creates a nice smooth wave which
    is ideal for technical purposes. Other sounds
    create far more erratic waves.
  • Click here to listen to this tone (22KB wav file)
  • Note that a waveform graph is two-dimensional but
    in the real world sound waves are
    three-dimensional. The graph indicates a wave
    traveling along a path from left to right, but
    real sound waves travel in an expanding sphere
    from the source. However the 2-dimensional model
    works fairly well when thinking about how sound
    travels from one place to another.

  • The next thing to consider is what the graph
    represents that is, what it means when the wave
    hits a high or low point. The following
    explanation is a simplified way of looking at how
    sound waves work and how they are represented as
    a waveform. Don't take it too literally treat
    it as a useful way to visualize what's going on.
  • In an electronic signal, high values represent
    high positive voltage. When this signal is
    converted to a sound wave, you can think of high
    values as representing areas of increased air
    pressure. When the waveform hits a high point,
    this corresponds to molecules of air being packed
    together densely. When the wave hits a low point
    the air molecules are spread more thinly.
  • In the diagram below, the black dots represent
    air molecules. As the loudspeaker vibrates, it
    causes the surrounding molecules to vibrate in a
    particular pattern represented by the waveform.
    The vibrating air then causes the listener's
    eardrum to vibrate in the same pattern. Voilà
  • Note that air molecules do not actually travel
    from the loudspeaker to the ear (that would be
    wind). Each individual molecule only moves a
    small distance as it vibrates, but it causes the
    adjacent molecules to vibrate in a rippling
    effect all the way to the ear.
  • Now here's the thing All audio work is about
    manipulating sound waves. The end result of your
    work is this series of high and low pressure
    zones. That's why it's so important to understand
    how they work - they are the "material" of your

  • How Sound Waves Interact with Each Other
  • When different waves collide (e.g. sound from
    different sources) they interfere with each
    other. This is called, unsurprisingly, wave
  • Phasing
  • The following table illustrates how sound waves
    (or any other waves) interfere with each other
    depending on their phase relationship
  • Sound waves which are exactly in phase add
    together to produce a stronger wave.
  • Sound waves which are exactly inverted, or 180
    degrees out of phase, cancel each other out and
    produce silence. This is how many
    noise-cancellation devices work.
  • Sound waves which have varying phase
    relationships produce differing sound effects.

  • Sound Systems
  • Working with audio means working with sound
    systems. Naturally, the range of systems
    available for different applications is enormous.
    However, all electronic audio systems are based
    around one very simple concept To take sound
    waves, convert them into an electric current and
    manipulate them as desired, then convert them
    back into sound waves.
  • A very simple sound system is shown in the
    diagram below. It is made up of two types of
  • Transducer - A device which converts energy from
    one form into another. The two types of
    transducers we will deal with are microphones
    (which convert acoustical energy into electrical
    energy) and speakers (which convert electrical
    energy into acoustical energy).
  • Amplifier - A device which takes a signal and
    increases it's power (i.e. it increases the
  • The process begins with a sound source (such as a
    human voice), which creates waves of sound
    (acoustical energy).
  • These waves are detected by a transducer
    (microphone), which converts them to electrical
  • The electrical signal from the microphone is very
    weak, and must be fed to an amplifier before
    anything serious can be done with it.
  • The loudspeaker converts the electrical signal
    back into sound waves, which are heard by human

  • The next diagram shows a slightly more elaborate
    system, which includes
  • Signal processors - devices and software which
    allow the manipulation of the signal in various
    ways. The most common processors are tonal
    adjusters such as bass and treble controls.
  • Record and playback section - devices which
    convert a signal to a storage format for later
    reproduction. Recorders are available in many
    different forms, including magnetic tape, optical
    CD, computer hard drive, etc.
  • The audio signal from the transducer (microphone)
    is passed through one or more processing units,
    which prepare it for recording (or directly for
  • The signal is fed to a recording device for
  • The stored signal is played back and fed to more
  • The signal is amplified and fed to a loudspeaker.

  • The 3-part audio model
  • One simple way of visualizing any audio system is
    by dividing it up into three sections the
    source(s), processor(s) and output(s).
  • The source is where the electronic audio signal
    is generated. This could be a "live" source such
    as a microphone or electric musical instrument,
    or a "playback" source such as a tape deck, CD,
  • The processing section is where the signal is
    manipulated. For our purposes, we will include
    the amplifiers in this section.
  • The output section is where the signal is
    converted into sound waves (by loudspeakers), so
    that it can be heard by humans.
  • This portable stereo is a good example of a
    simple system.

  • Sources There are three sources - two tape
    machines and one radio aerial (technically the
    radio source is actually at the radio station).
  • Processors Includes a graphic equalizer,
    left/right stereo balance, and amplifiers.
  • Outputs There are two speaker cabinets (one at
    each end), each containing two speakers. Note
    that there are also two alternative outputs A
    headphone socket (which drives the small speakers
    inside a headphone set) and twin "line out"
    sockets (which supply a feed for an external
    audio system).
  • Now imagine a multi-kilowatt sound system used
    for stadium concerts. Although this is a complex
    system, at it's heart are the same three
    sections Sources (microphones, instruments,
    etc), processors and speakers.
  • Whatever the scale of the project, the same
    underlying principles of sound reproduction

  • This section explains the different types of
    audio cable and connectors.
  • Audio Cables
  • There are two main types of audio cable we will
    look at Single core / shielded (unbalanced) and
    One pair / shielded (balanced).
  • Single Core / Shielded Cable
  • In a single core / shielded cable, the single
    core is used for the ve, or 'hot', and the
    shield is used for the -ve, or 'cold'. This type
    of cable is used for unbalanced audio signals.
  • Single core / shielded cable
  • One Pair / Shielded Cable
  • A one pair / shielded cable has one core as the
    ve, and the other core is -ve. The shield is
    earthed. This type of cable is used for balanced
    audio signals.

  • There are a variety of different audio connectors
    available. The most common types are 3-pin XLR,
    RCA, and 6.5mm jacks (also known as ¼" jacks).
  • 3-pin XLR
  • 3-pin XLR connectors are mainly used for balanced
    audio signals. Using a balanced signal reduces
    the risk of inference.
  • Pin 1 is the earth (or shield)
  • Pin 2 is the ve (or 'hot')
  • Pin 3 is the -ve (or 'cold).
  • There are a number of different XLR's - 3-pin,
    4-pin, 5-pin etc

3-pin XLR Male
3-pin XLR Female
  • ¼" Jack (6.5mm Jack)
  • There are two types of 6.5mm Jacks Mono and
    stereo. The mono jack has a tip and a sleeve, the
    stereo jack has ring, a tip and a sleeve.
  • On the mono jack the tip is the ve, and the
    sleeve is the -ve or shield.
  • On a stereo jack being used for a balanced
    signal, the tip is the ve, the ring is the -ve,
    and the sleeve is the shield.
  • On a stereo jack being used for a stereo signal
    (left and right), the tip is the left, the ring
    is the right, and the sleeve is the shield.
  • Jacks also come in various sizes - 6.5mm (¼"),
    3.5mm, 2.5mm. The wiring for all of them is the

1/4" Mono Jack
1/4" Stereo Jack
  • RCA
  • RCAs are used a lot for home stereos, videos,
    DVDs etc.
  • The RCA can carry either audio or video. It is
    wired the same way as a mono jack The center pin
    is the ve, and the outer ring is the -ve or

RCA Male
  • This section aims to provide you with the skills
    to choose the correct microphone and use it
    properly to obtain the best possible sound. It is
    suitable for people interested in any type of
    audio or video work.
  • The microphone (mic) is a ubiquitous piece of
    equipment. Found in everything from telephones to
    computers to recording studios, microphones are
    part of our daily life.
  • Few people think about the microphone in their
    telephone when they use it. Some people think
    about the microphone on their video camera when
    they use it. All professionals pay careful
    attention to their microphones whenever they use
  • Don't make the mistake that many amateurs make
    and use whatever mic is at hand (e.g. using a
    vocal mic for a bass drum). Also, don't make the
    mistake of assuming that using a microphone is
    easy. Microphone technique is a learned skill -
    plugging it in and pointing it isn't always
  • The microphone is perhaps the most critical part
    of the audio chain (assuming that all other
    components are at least acceptable quality). A
    good quality microphone will provide you with the
    basis for excellent audio, whereas a poor quality
    microphone will mean poor quality audio - no
    matter how good the rest of the system is.

  • Choosing the Right Microphone
  • As we discussed in the previous section, there
    are many different types of microphone in common
    use. The differences are usually described in two
    ways The technology they use (e.g. dynamic,
    condenser, etc) and their directionality (e.g.
    omnidirectional, cardioid, etc). In addition,
    microphones have a number of other
    characteristics which need to be taken into
  • When choosing a microphone, the first thing you
    will need to know is what characteristics you
    need. After that, you can worry about things like
    size, brand, cost, etc

  • Things to Consider
  • Work through each of these characteristics and
    determine your needs.
  • Directionality
  • Decide which type of directional pattern best
    fits your needs. Remember that it's usually
    better to use a less directional mic in a
    position close to the sound source, than to be
    further away using a hypercardioid. For more
    information see microphone directional
  • Frequency Response
  • Make sure the mic's frequency response is
    appropriate for the intended use. As a rule of
    thumb flat response patterns are best, but in
    many cases a tailored response will be even
    better. For more information see microphone
    frequency response.
  • Impedance
  • The rule of thumb is Low impedance is better
    than high impedance. For more information see
    microphone impedance.

  • Handling Noise
  • Remember that the diaphragm works by converting
    vibrations from sound waves into an electrical
    signal. Unless the microphone has some sort of
    protection system, the diaphragm can't tell the
    difference between a desirable sound wave
    vibration and any other sort of vibration (such
    as a person tapping the microphone casing). Any
    sort of vibration at all will become part of the
    generated audio signal.
  • If your mic is likely to be subjected to any sort
    of handling noise or vibration, you will need a
    mic which will help prevent this noise from being
    picked up. High quality hand-held mics usually
    attempt to isolate the diaphragm from vibrations
    using foam padding, suspension, or some other
    method. Low quality mics tend to transfer
    vibrations from the casing right into the
    diaphragm, resulting in a terrible noise.
  • Note that lavaliere mics don't usually have
    protection from handling noise, simply because
    they are too small to incorporate any padding. It
    is therefore important to make sure they won't be
    moved or bumped.

  • Purchasing a Microphone
  • If you can afford it, it makes sense to buy a
    range of microphones and use the most appropriate
    one for each job. If your budget is more limited,
    think about all the different things you need to
    use the mic for and try to find something which
    will do a reasonable job of as many of them as
  • For vocalists a simple cardioid dynamic mic (such
    as the Sure SM58) is a good starting point.
  • For video makers, a useful option is a condenser
    mic with selectable directionality, so you can
    change between cardioid and hypercardioid. If you
    can afford three mics, consider a hand-held
    dynamic, a shotgun condenser, and a lapel mic.

  • Comparisons
  • In the end, sound is quite subjective. You really
    want a mic which will provide the sound you like.
    A good idea is to set up a controlled test.
    Record the same sounds using different mics,
    keeping all other factors constant.
  • Make sure you are comparing apples with apples
    for example, don't compare a hand-held cardioid
    and a shotgun in the same position. If you do
    want to compare these mics, make sure each is
    placed in its optimum position.

  • Distance
  • The golden rule of microphone placement is get
    the distance right. In general, place the
    microphone as close as practical to the sound
    source without getting so close that you
    introduce unwanted effects (see below).
  • The aim is to achieve a good balance between the
    subject sound and the ambient noise. In most
    cases you want the subject sound to be the clear
    focus, filled out with a moderate or low level of
    ambient noise. The desired balance will vary
    depending on the situation and the required
    effect. For example, interviews usually work best
    with very low ambient noise. However if you want
    to point out to your audience that the
    surroundings are very noisy you could hold the
    mic slightly further away from the subject.
  • It is possible to get too close. Some examples
  • If a vocal mic is to close to the speaker's
    mouth, the audio may be unnaturally bassy (boomy,
    excessive low frequencies). You are also likely
    to experience popping and other unpleasant
  • A microphone too close to a very loud sound
    source is likely to cause distortion.
  • Placing a mic too close to moving parts or other
    obstacles may be dangerous. For example, be
    careful when micing drums that the drummer isn't
    going to hit the mic.

  • Phase Problems
  • When using more than one microphone you need to
    be wary of phasing, or cancellation. Due to the
    way sound waves interfere with each other,
    problems can occur when the same sound source is
    picked up from different mics placed at slightly
    different distances. A common example is an
    interview situation in which two people each have
    a hand-held mic - when one person talks they are
    picked up by both mics and the resulting
    interference creates a phasing effect.

  • Think Laterally
  • You don't always have to conform to standard ways
    of doing things. As long as you're not placing a
    microphone in danger there's no reason not to use
    them in unusual positions. For example, lavaliere
    mics can be very versatile due to their small
    size - they can be placed in positions which
    would be unrealistic for larger mics.
  • Examples

Guitar amps are miced very closely. This helps keep the sound isolated from the rest of the stage noise. Theoretically the amp will not create any level burst strong enough to distort the microphone. Snare drum mics need to be close to the skin without getting in the way of the drummer or risking damage.
  • An important consideration is the way the
    microphone is held or mounted. A poorly mounted
    mic can lead to all sorts of problems, whereas a
    well-mounted mic can lift the audio quality
    significantly. Things to consider when mounting a
    mic include
  • The mic obviously needs to be correctly
    positioned, facing the required direction. You
    should be able to reposition the mic if
  • The mic must be safe, i.e. Won't fall over, get
    knocked, get wet, etc.
  • The mic must be shielded from unwanted noise such
    as handling noise, vibrations, wind, etc.
  • Cables must be secure and safe. In particular,
    make sure no one can trip over them.
  • There are many ways to mount microphones. Let's
    look at the most common methods...

  • Microphone Stands
  • The most obvious mount is the microphone stand.
    There are three main variations The straight
    vertical stand, the boom stand and the small
    table-top stand.
  • Boom stands are very useful and versatile. If you
    are considering buying a general-purpose stand, a
    boom stand is the logical choice.
  • Some things to watch out for when setting up a
    microphone stand
  • Always position the boom to extend directly above
    one of the stand legs. This prevents the stand
    from tipping over.
  • Don't wrap the lead a hundred times around the
    stand. This serves no purpose except make your
    life difficult and possibly increase twisting
    pressure on the lead. One turn around the
    vertical part of the stand and another turn
    around the boom is all you need.
  • Never stand on the legs. You will wreck them.
  • Never over-tighten clamps. Do them up until they
    are firm - no more. Don't try to adjust clamps
    while they are tightened - undo them first.
  • Note Boom arms are controlled by sound operators.

Boom Stand
Tabletop Stand
  • Clamps
  • Instead of using a dedicated mic stand, you can
    use a specialized clamp to piggyback on another
    stand (or any other object).
  • Advantages
  • Less floor space is used, more mics can be
    squeezed into the same area.
  • Less equipment to carry (clamps are smaller and
    lighter than stands).
  • Can sometimes be useful reaching difficult
  • Disadvantages
  • Can sometimes be tricky to set up and more
    difficult to get exactly the right positioning.
    Also more difficult to move or adjust once set
  • More likelihood of unwanted vibration noise
    creeping into the mix.
  • Clamps are often used in musical situations where
    there are many stands and many microphones. The
    classic example is the drum kit which is
    surrounded by cymbal stands - clamps are well
    suited to this application.

  • Clothing Clip
  • Lavaliere (lapel or lap) mics are usually
    attached to the subject's clothing using a
    specialized clip. Obviously the preferred
    position is on the lapel or thereabouts. This
    provides consistent close-range sound pickup and
    is ideal for interview situations in which each
    participant has their own mic. It also means the
    subject doesn't have to worry about mic
  • If you have time, discreetly hide the cable in
    the clothing. If there is nowhere to place the
    mic on the subject's chest, try the collar.

  • Headset
  • A headset with its own mic works well in
    situations such as
  • When the person talking needs to listen as well
    as speak.
  • When the person talking must be able to move
    around with their hands free.
  • When there is a lot of background noise, likely
    to be distracting the subject.
  • Headsets are ideal for stage performers, as well
    as sports commentators, radio announcers, etc.
    Like lav mics, they provide very consistent
  • Shock Absorption
  • In order to minimize unwanted noise caused by
    vibration of the stand or mount, a shock
    absorption system may be used. This isolates the
    mic from the vibrations, usually with foam
    padding or elastic suspension.

Boom Microphone The boom microphone is very
popular in film and television production. A
directional mic is mounted on a boom arm and
positioned just out of camera frame, as shown on
the right. The cable is wrapped once or twice
around the boom arm. Booms have the advantage of
freeing up subjects from having to worry about
microphones. They can move freely without
disturbing the sound, and concerns about
microphone technique are eliminated. You can
make a simple boom from just about anything which
is the right shape. A microphone stand with