Audio & Video Production Basics

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This is a very basic overview of some audio and video production situations to be aware of. Specifically, this slideshow addresses some basic microphone and lighting tips.

Text of Audio & Video Production Basics

  • Audio & Video Production Basics Brett Atwood
  • Microphones
    • Microphones can be extremely fragile
    • Do not blow or tap into them
    • Do not drop them or throw them around
  • Popping the Ps
    • Announcing words that emphasize p, b, or t sounds naturally produce a sharp puff of air
    • This can result in a pop or thumb in your recording if you speak too close to the microphone
    • A windscreen on the mic can help
  • Windscreens
    • Foam ball-shaped accessory for the microphone
    • Used to reduce unwanted sounds
  • Dynamic Microphones
    • Contains a mylar diaphragm attached to a small coil surrounding a tiny fixed magnet.
    • When sound wave strikes, the diaphragm vibrates.
    • A tiny voltage is generated based on the interaction between the magnet and coil.
  • Microphone Pickup Patterns
  • General Mic Tips
    • Get your microphone as close to the source as possible.
    • Even directional microphones pick up a little sound from most directions, so the closer the better - as long as you're not getting negative effects (plosives, mouth noises, etc)
  • General Mic Tips
    • Eliminate the Competition: Think about the OTHER sounds in the room where you are recording. Two main sources of unwanted sound are:
      • noise : this can be the noisy air conditioner, traffic outside, crowds in the hall.
      • ambience : may be the "live nature" of the room you're in, the unwanted echo.
    • Do what you can to eliminate the problem and place your mic as close to your subject as possible.
  • Lighting
    • Three purposes of lighting:
      • Provide adequate illumination for the picture to be processed correctly by the camera
      • To tell us what the objects on the screen look like, including space/depth relationships and time of day
      • To establish the mood of a scene
  • Hard and Soft Light
    • Hard Light Very pronounced; Directional ; Casts strong shadows
    • Soft Light Light is diffused /spread out; less shadows
      • People look better with soft lights
  • Directional vs. Diffused Light
    • Example:
    • Directional Diffused
  • Directional light
    • Hard light casts a sharp, clearly defined shadow.
    • When hard light is used to illuminate a face, imperfections in the skin stand out. The result is less than flattering.
    • But in other applications, such as bringing out the texture in leather, or the engraving on a piece of jewelry, this can be an advantage.
  • Diffused light
    • Soft (diffused) light has the opposite effect.
    • It tends to hide surface irregularities and detail.
    • Diffusers are used over the front of lights to soften and diffuse their beams. At the same time, diffusers also reduce the intensity of light.
  • Soft Lighting
    • Since soft light is more scattered, you may need more light
    • Soft light may be created using bounced lighting
      • Light source hits subject indirectly since it bounces off a reflector
  • How the Camera Works
    • White light reflected off the subject is picked up by camera lens
  • How the Camera Works
    • A beam splitter fragments light into Red, Green, and Blue signals
      • Each signal is sent to a respective color pickup tube or chip
  • How the Camera Works
    • Camera converts light into electrical signals that reproduce original image
      • Bright parts of the image create a larger charge
      • Darker parts of the image create a lesser charge
    • Photosensitive imaging device within the camera encodes the scene into stream of electric impulses that become the video signal
  • Imaging Devices
    • The heart/guts of your camera is the Imaging Device
    • Imaging Device = transducer that converts one form of energy into another
      • Example: CCD
  • Imaging Devices
    • Imaging device in studio cams usually based on pickup tube or CCD (charge-coupled device )
    • CCD is usually cheaper than pickup tube
      • Amount of CCDs or pickup tubes determines the qualityand price
      • 3CCD vs. CCD cameras
  • CCD
    • - An integrated circuit (computer chip)
    • Contains photosensitive pixels on the surface of the chip
    • Light hits the rectangular pixels
    • Each pixel emits electric signal when struck by light
  • White Balance
    • White Balance Used to balance the color of your shot.
      • Point the camera at a white object (piece of blank paper or white wall)
      • Object should be in the same light that you will use in shooting
      • Press white balance button to adjust the sensitivity of the camera to the current light source
  • White Balance
    • An improperly white balanced camera can cause your video to appear yellow, greenish or reddish or yellower than it should.
    • Example:
      • Bad (Top image)
      • Good (Bottom image)
  • White Balance
    • If you move the camera into different light or the light source changes, then you will need to redo the white balance setting
    • Some cameras do automatically re-balance the white
  • Establishing Shots
    • Many directors follow this simple formula:
      • First scene shot: Wide, establishing shot to orient the viewer
      • Second scene shot: Closer proximity to main subject
      • Third shot: Main subject
  • Camera Angles
    • Use angles to keep the production interesting
    • Angles can be used to manipulate audience perception
  • High Camera Angle
    • Positions the camera above eye level
    • Camera shoots down at subject
    • Used to show overview of area
    • Used to make subject appear smaller
  • Low Camera Angle
    • Positions the camera below eye level
    • Camera shoots up toward the subject
    • Used to give sense of power to subject
  • Canted Angle
    • Camera is tilted on a horizontal plane
    • Used to convey sense of excitement or instability
    • Simply tilt the camera to achieve this effect
    • Use this sparingly
  • Subjective Camera Angle
    • Places the camera in the place of a character to show us a scene from their viewpoint
    • Also known as point-of-view shot (POV)
    • Used to engage viewers in the action
  • Capturing Motion
    • You should always consider the path of moving subjects and, generally, leave space in front of them into which they can move.
  • Capturing Motion
    • If you don't, here's what can happen! This jogger looks like she's going to run right out of the frame.
  • Capturing Motion
    • By placing the subject in the lower-left position, we've used the rule of thirds and given the jogger plenty of room to run within the frame.