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"How to Make a Whiteboard Vlog Part 2 - Audio and Lighting"

  Hey welcome back to Tonal Trends dot com.

  This video’s called How to shoot a Whiteboard Vlog Part 2: Audio and Lighting.

  Okay, this is a Sony Digital Flash Voice Recorder: $60

  This turned out to be a must have, at least for my tastes. See, the “zoom” audio recorder on the Sony Handycam is decent enough, but there’s just no substitute for having a microphone right next to your yapper. The major benefit is that you won’t get the “room hiss” noise and the bassy-boomy reverb that comes from having your mic several feet away from you.

  The only problem with using a pocket digital recorder is that you have to splice the audio file together with the Video file in post production—kind of a pain, but totally worth it, as it graduates your sound quality out of the amateur/beginner stage, and into the hey-take-me-seriously stage.

  When splicing, one word to the wise is to make sure to compensate for latency—what I mean by that is: you may need to splice your audio track waveforms a little bit ahead of your video itself’s waveforms.

  The best way I’ve found to get a real good sync of separate audio and visual files is, before you shoot a take, clap a couple times and then line up the files based on the clap sound and clap visual. This is better than trying to get your reference point from your lip movements. I’ve found that lip movements can play tricks on your brain, so watch out.  

  And, if you’re wondering, the Sony Handycam doesn’t have a direct mic input. I realize this is a bummer. And, if I had it to do over again, I might have looked harder for a camcorder with that feature. Though, keep in mind that if you do find a camcorder with a mic input within your budget, you’re still not guaranteed to be free from latency issues, and: you’ll also have to buy an extension cable long enough to reach from you to the camcorder.

  Also, keep in mind that your movement will be limited by this particular tether, and there’s a danger that you might accidentally yank the camcorder off its tripod! I know! Yikes!

  Alright, last tip about digi-audio recorders is: make sure you set them to their “voice-notes” mode. This mode is calibrated to pick up sound close to the mic, and not sound far away. The other modes, like “lecture” mode and concert mode, are calibrated to pick up sound from farther away, sound that’s louder than the human voice.

  Next up is the mic for the recorder:

  Neewer Lapel Digital Microphone: $1

  Seriously, these are a dollar. You can get more expensive ones, but from what I’ve read you’re only gonna get a 5% improvement over what these little guys can do, so get a more expensive kind if you want, but I’ll vouch for these things, they’re fine. Make sure to clip it in the middle of your shirt about 10” down from your mouth, and when doing takes--try not to move your head too much from center.

  If you have to turn, move your shoulders a little bit with your head, and you’ll get a more consistent voice level. I’m not talking like robot motions here or anything, just that a little bit of mic awareness will be appreciated by those with keen ears for this kind of thing.

  Next up: Lighting:

  The Highest Rated beginners lighting apparatus on the market is:

  3-Piece Cowboy Lighting Kit: $60

  This comes with three stands and three 45 watt bulbs. Most reviews testified that this rig gives off “enough” light for their needs, though you should know, it’s less than half as much as a pro set up. If you get this and you’re disappointed by the light level, you can still upgrade to some better wattage bulbs and still use the stands.

  What I did to get some more shadow-diminishing power was replace the two top lights with big old honking 85-watters and then re-use the replaced 45s by screwing them into a bulb splitter for use in the floor light!

  2 Brighter Bulbs/Bulb Splitter: $20+20+10= $50

  Careful not to drop any of these bulbs though because I think they have like vitamin D in them or something, and if they shatter, the dust could like, kill you, or give you superpowers, something like that.

  OK let’s talk about placement:

  One thing that’s hard about recording ‘white board’ blogs, as opposed just ‘talking head’ blogs, is the glare from lights. Unlike the traditional Three-Point Lighting System (btw, you should google that if you don’t know what that is), you can’t have anything too near the camera’s sight angles or you’ll get a big white splotch on the board that washes out whatever’s written on it. The best setup I’ve found so far is to have two upper corner lights and a floor light somewhat opposite where you like to stand.

  If you need even more light, you can improvise:

  I found an extra work light, dropping me 45 more watts in the bucket: that was effectively Free, but you could probably get one cheap.

  Also! Now let me talk about this guy over here:

  Designers Edge 1000-Watt Halogen Work Light with Stand: $35

  Halogen Work Lights are a lot of wattage for the price, but they are really stinking hot, and their lighting is pretty uneven and it has mild shadow streaks in it from the safety cages and reflectors. That’s why I’ve placed it so far away, and at such an extreme angle to the board.

  I originally bought it because it was 35 bucks and I was mesmerized by the two 500 watt bulbs (as opposed to the three 45 watt bulbs from the Cowboy Kit. I’d read on most of the online forums that you really should have around 1,500 watts total for a pro looking set-up, and I figured this would get me there for cheap.

  All said and done, I appreciate the extra light, but I wouldn’t recommend other people buy this style of “work-light” for video production; it’s really not what it’s made for. But, if you already have one lying around in your garage or something, they sure don’t hurt. Just make sure to always use the safety cages, and never leave the light on unattended, cause you know, hotness.

  Okay well, Thanks for watching Part two of “how to make a whiteboard vlog,” and we’ll see you next time for part 3: Little Extras and Software.