Here’s my interview with Daisy Olsen of WPMama.com:
Here’s my interview with Daisy Olsen of WPMama.com:
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Forgive me for the swaying and amateur video camera operation and focus on the great content that Carl shares!
Here’s the interview with Carl:
We have had our studio up for about two months now, and during our live shows people have asked us about our setup.
What equipment do we use? How long did it take? How much did it cost?
The planning for the studio took about a week for us to put together a list of everything we would need or want. Ordered it all. Got it delivered. And we built it in a day.
All in all, we figure we spent somewhere about $1,500 on everything in our studio.
Here’s a quick list of the products we bought with links so you can see them, as well as a little bit of information to go along with the products and why we chose these particular products:
Our Video Camera: Canon Vixia HG21
We went digital on our camera. We debated between tape and hard drive and finally chose the hard drive-only for the sake of speed in getting it in Final Cut Express.
I had always used tape cameras and was therefore familiar with the workings of a tape camera and wanted the control I had using a professional grade camera. I like having manual exposure, zoom, focus, etc. And most digital cameras that we found didn’t offer all of those options.
This camera did and that was a big winning point for it.
To capture video, I use the Log and Transfer in Final Cut Express 4. The camera comes with the necessary connection. It still takes a little bit of time to transfer the video files into FCE, but still much faster than if we had done tape and had to capture in real time.
We’ve been pretty pleased with how the camera has performed overall! And getting it for the price we did was a steal. The camera is listed at about $1200, but we got a bargain sale on it for only $700 which allowed us to get a few more other pieces without feeling over-budget.
Getting Better Output on the Live Stream: Canopus ADVC 110
This is what we use to stream live from our nice, digital video camera. One thing we didn’t account for when we bought the Canon was live streaming. So when we got the idea to do live shows we realized that our camera didn’t allow for streaming. Bummer! It has all the bells and whistles I wanted, but we didn’t think about streaming.
We temporarily used the in-sight camera on one of our Mac laptops, but we weren’t totally pleased with that solution. For one thing the quality of the computer cameras are pretty low, and for two (which is related to number one) we’d bought this nice $700 camera and now couldn’t use it to do live streaming!
Well, as Cory was helping our church to do live streaming of their annual Winter Bible Study, he found a potential solution for that. They have very, very nice cameras. In order to stream with their professional-grade cameras they used this cool thing called “Canopus.” They just hooked it all up and viola! Cory took some pics with his phone to show me the setup. (We were pumped!)
Turns out the Canopus was extremely affordable! Only cost us $200 from Amazon. The Canopus basically just allows us to hook up our camera to the computer and have the computer recognize it as a video/audio input option (DV video & DV audio on uStream). The Canon came with the first cable we needed which was an RCA connector from the camera to the Canopus. The Canopus came with the necessary firewire cable (6 pin) that you plug from the Canopus into your laptop. And just like that we were streaming with our Canon. It was so easy to setup and pretty much worked after turning it on.
Note: On our Mac laptop, we found that if we plugged the firewire in from the Canopus, then opened uStream that it would crash the browser. The fix? We fire up uStream first, THEN we plug in the firewire port. That’s on a Mac. Also, sometimes you won’t get sound but you’ll get video … switch the settings back to the laptop, see if you get audio, then back to DV Audio and DV Video and see if that fixes it.
Our Lighting: Westcott unite 2-Light Digital Photo Lighting Kit
If you’re doing professional video, you want good lighting. In my opinion, there is no point in buying a nice camera if you don’t want to also help the video look nice. And one of those things that helps it look nice is lighting.
This kit comes with 2 lights, 2 soft boxes, 2 stands, and a green screen.
There are lots of options when you shop for lighting, and your camera needs to be able to white balance.
We went with the soft boxes because they don’t require much work or precision. Other lights you have to set up just so to get the lighting. Soft boxes are so big and so bright you just point them in the general direction of the area you want lit, and it’s probably going to look fine.
We noticed these lights were actually super bright and sometimes we wish we could dim them a bit, but it hasn’t caused any major issues for us. If you find your lights are too bright, just back them farther away from the subject until it’s better.
And of course, we found an unusual use for our green screen if you’ve ever watched iThemes.tv for our live show. It makes a very nice sofa cover.
Our Microphones: MXL Lavalier Interview Microphones
We went with two lavalier microphones that can clip onto your shirt for our professional videos and interviews. For our off-the-cuff kind of videos we just use the mic that’s on the camera. But for really nice audio, mics are recommended.
Matt, one of our developers, has a very musical background and he owned a audio mixer board and a few XLR cables. So we were fortunate to save money there as he brought them up from his home for us to use.
Like lighting, there are lots of microphones out there and various audio setups you can do.
We edit our audio in a free online software called Audacity. We record our audio on those program and then do our audio sweetening in Audacity before exporting to use with our video.
There are a few other items that are not listed here, but are not as crucial. Things like our cloth background (bolts of fabric from craft store), the couch (from a local furntiure megastore), and the tripod are not listed.
We built our own sound-proofing based on materials we bought from Home Depot and Guitar Center.
Pretty much we tried to get the best deal for the best quality on everything.
If you would like to know anything about our studio, please leave a comment to ask or share your own DIY studio ideas!
There are a lot of things I love about WordPress. Cluttered page layout with irrelevant information is not one of them.
Trend Central points out how so many web sites are moving toward a more image-heavy navigation, magazine style. Typical web site navigation and blog design are changing. Larger, higher-definition screens and faster downloads open new doors.
However, be careful not to use this flexibility as an excuse to overdesign. Jonathan Ive, lead designer at Apple, calls for a new approach to design, focused on heightened functionality, rather than visual clutter.
A lot of what we seem to be doing … is getting design out of the way. With that sort of reason, it feels almost inevitable, almost undesigned and it feels almost, like of course it is that way. Why would it be any other way?
Design should always be second to usability and content.
Information Architects say, “Technology often develops from primitive to complicated to simple.” They stress better interaction design and less graphic design.
This reasoning is best represented by the enormous success of sites like Facebook who rely on content sharing rather than clutter. MySpace is the antithesis of this simplified style. A classic example of overdesign, MySpace is falling out of mind to the cleaner, simpler user interface of Facebook.
Last night in about an hour I put together a quick child theme using the versatile iThemes Builder theme for my sister’s photography blog. She wanted a wider layout to display her photos, so I kept it simple with a wide content area. That is all it needed. Add a few simple pages for bio, contact and pricing and it’s done. Maximum of three hours including the header design and the site is done. (I used the new iThemes rotating images plugin for the header.)
Just clean lines and clean typography. It has been stripped to the essentials. I realize that this project demanded simplicity and some projects will have much more complex requirements. But the principle is the same. Eliminate excess. There are no sidebars with recent post widgets, or space-sucking category lists because they are redundant for this site. When these elements are helpful and necessary, they can add value to the design. But don’t feel like they are essentials to smart web design for every project.
Read what I’ve been reading about web design and usability trends here:
1-21-10: YouTube introduces simplified user experience.
Google is quietly rolling out a new minimalist design for its YouTube video player pages, which it claims will be more appropriate for a wide range of content from the user-uploaded content that has always been a staple to feature-length films. By muting the “voice” of the old design, YouTube hopes to make videos stand out from everything else on its pages.
Read the rest of this article on Wired’s Epicenter Blog.
Have you ever wanted to learn some killer design hacks that will make your websites rock? Then WebDesign.com has got the course for you!
On Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, James Dalman will be doing a LIVE webinar called Design Hacks that will show students the theory and tricks behind basic design and how to implement eye-catching graphics for websites and blogs.
The topics that will be covered include:
Please Note: This is not a course on learning Photoshop or other design programs, but a crash course in the essentials for professional design that will sell your services to clients!
How much will it cost?
The cost for this LIVE WEBINAR via your computer is $47 per person and will be no charge for any of our WebDesign.com University Annual Members.
What time will it start and how long will it last?
The Design Hacks webinar will start at 9:30 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) and conclude by 2 p.m. Depending on the attendee questions and interaction, we estimate the course will be 3 to 4 hours in length.
Will there be a recording?
We will record the entire webinar so if you have to leave or can’t catch the entire broadcast, we will make it available to all of our attendees and WebDesign.com University Members.
How to Register:
Signup for the Design Hacks Workshop here by making payment, then you will be sent to the WebDesign.com Member’s Only site where you’ll get details for the online workshop.
Today on the WebDesign.com live show, Cory and James talked about conversation, content and community. They also recommended a lot of books that have really helped us build a community around our products and services. Here is the list of books and their Amazon links.
Here is a video we shot this morning after we got a new toy in for our studio.
People have asked us about our setup and what equipment we use. Well, Cory did a network worthy interview of myself answering those questions.
I’ll be posting a list later of the names and links to the actual equipment we use, but we mention them here in the video.
It’s a little silly and quite raw… but we hope you enjoy it!
The next Live Show at WebDesign.com will be Monday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time (check times with World Clock).
For this show, James Dalman and I will be discussing the 3 C’s: Conversation, Content and Community.
Here’s what we hope to discuss and interact with you about …
I’ll also be previewing my next course for WebDesign.com University titled 4 Steps to Successful Marketing with Your Website.
As Japan’s Information Architects famously say, “Web design is 95% typography.”
A firm grasp of typographic style is essential for any type of design. Even with experience in print design, it can be difficult to reproduce the same look on the web, especially across all browsers. Here are some great resources for learning principles of typography and how to apply them accurately to your designs on the web.
Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style is a seminal text that has set the professional standards for print typography for decades. Richard Rutter adapts the concepts of the book to web typography and shows you how to apply these rules to your stylesheet.
Another classic typographic treatise is by Massimo Vignelli. His free PDF, The Vignelli Canon was the first work I ever read about typography. It isn’t focused on web design, but like The Elements of Typographic Style, the solid principles can be applied across all disciplines.
Antonio Carusone of AisleOne supplies a great resource for learning about grid systems in graphic design and provides tools for applying them to the web.
Typography Served is a collection of the best type from the Behance Network. The Served e-mail newsletter is probably my most looked-forward-to e-mail of the week. Always inspired work. Never a dull post.
Typesites takes a more analyzed approach to showcase type sites. “Whereas galleries simply post generic designs by the bucketload, [Typesites] strive to showcase only design that can inspire and teach—and then explain it.”
I Love Typography is the best typography news blog out there. If you want to know about new developments in print or web type design, this is the place. Their Week In Type posts provide a fresh look at what’s going on in the world of typography.
From the same crew that runs I Love Typography, plus some very qualified contributors, We Love Typography is a gallery showcase constantly updating with the freshest type from all over the web. It’s a great one to add to your RSS, with small, thumbnail posts to spark your creative interest.
I dare you to play this font recognition game just once.
Ever need to quickly insert a cent symbol? Or an Apple logo? Use Copy Paste Character.
This Monday on WebDesign.com LIVE, Cory and I will be discussing the finer details of pricing your products and services. We’ll be using the iThemes Builder Theme as a case study and it’s going to be a VERY memorable story and experience. You don’t want to miss it!
We will also address the topic of outsourcing for design and programming needs – something that we’ve been talking about in our WebDesign.com University forum.
So join WebDesign.com LIVE for FREE on Monday, January 11th, at 11 a.m. Central Standard Time.
Get access to 3 great webinars that offer a glimpse of the value of WebDesign.com training:
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