Schedule

Schedule

Monday, January 26

1422295200 Tech News Today
1422298800 Triangulation
1422304200 iPad Today
1422316800 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, January 27

1422381600 Tech News Today
1422385200 MacBreak Weekly
1422392400 Security Now
1422399600 Before You Buy
1422403200 Tech News 2Night
1422406800 All About Android
1422415800 Padre's Corner

Wednesday, January 28

1422462600 FLOSS Weekly
1422468000 Tech News Today
1422471600 Windows Weekly
1422478800 This Week in Google
1422489600 Tech News 2Night
1422491400 Android App Arena
1422496800 Ham Nation

Thursday, January 29

1422554400 Tech News Today
1422558000 Know How...
1422561600 Marketing Mavericks
1422567000 Coding 101
1422570600 Home Theater Geeks
1422576000 Tech News 2Night
1422577800 The Giz Wiz

Friday, January 30

1422640800 Tech News Today
1422644400 This Week in Law
1422662400 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, January 31

1422730800 The Tech Guy

Sunday, February 1

1422817200 The Tech Guy
1422831600 This Week in Tech

Monday, February 2

1422900000 Tech News Today
1422903600 Triangulation
1422909000 iPad Today
1422921600 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, February 3

1422986400 Tech News Today
1422990000 MacBreak Weekly
1422997200 Security Now
1423004400 Before You Buy
1423008000 Tech News 2Night
1423011600 All About Android
1423020600 Padre's Corner

Wednesday, February 4

1423067400 FLOSS Weekly
1423072800 Tech News Today
1423076400 Windows Weekly
1423083600 This Week in Google
1423094400 Tech News 2Night
1423096200 Android App Arena
1423101600 Ham Nation

Most Recent Episodes

This Week in Tech

Windows 10 everywhere, App Neutrality, HoloLens, space net, and more.

The Tech Guy
The Tech Guy 1156 January 25th, 2015

Elon Musk wants to put the internet in space.

The Tech Guy
The Tech Guy 1155 January 24th, 2015

Is it safe to update Java on Windows XP?

Tech News 2Night
Episode #260: Box's Big IPO January 23rd, 2015

Skymall files for Bankruptcy

This Week in Law

Who should be responsible for determining international cyber law policies?

Tech News Today

Apple Watch battery and Winklevi the NASDAQ of Bitcoin.

This Week in Computer Hardware

GTX 960, Microsoft HaloLens, ECS LIVA X, and more!

Home Theater Geeks

More CES 2015 highlights.

Coding 101
Episode #51: Steve Gibson January 22nd, 2015

Creator of SpinRite.

The Giz Wiz

RX Robots, ChargerLeash, BluBed Holster, and more.

Know How... 46

Make a Home Studio

May 30 2013

If you’ve ever wanted to create your own videos there’s plenty to know. We took a field trip to Tom Merritt’s house in Los Angeles to see what it takes to create a home studio.

Bandwidth

Tom hosts “Tech News Today” from the comfort of his own home via Skype. However, the first thing he considered was bandwidth. Tom managed to find a place served by fiber that gets him insane speeds. His download speed is 300Mbps, and his upload speed is 65Mbps. ISPs like to tout download speeds, but you definitely want to pay attention to the upload speed if you plan on sending video over the internet.

The Hardware Setup

To Skype, Tom uses an off-the-shelf Mac mini that is wired to his home network via Ethernet (again, getting the best speeds is paramount when dealing with streaming online video).

How video reaches the computer: Canon Vixia HF GF10 > HDMI out > Blackmagic Intensity Extreme HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter > goes into Mac mini.

The Canon Vixia HF G10 uses an HD CMOS sensor to output its signal via HDMI. To get that video into the Mac mini, a Blackmagic Intensity Extreme HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter accepts an HDMI input and then outputs it over Thunderbolt.

For audio, Tom speaks into a Heil PR-40, which is the same kind of mic used at the TWiT Brickhouse Studio. The Heil outputs audio using XLR. To get that signal to the Mac mini, the XLR cable is plugged into a Blue Microphones Icicle adapter, which accepts XLR and outputs over USB.

For more audio complex setups, you can choose to use a USB Mixer like Tom’s Mackie PROFX8 mixer.

Lighting

Camera and Lighting Design specialist Brent Bye of OceanStudio.com was called in to make sure the video looks as good as possible. Brent designed the lighting setup at the TWiT Brickhouse studios.

When setting up your studio, survey the entire space. Consider the space as a whole to see where a good shot would be established. Camera framing makes the small brick fireplace behind Tom appear much larger than it is.

Ambient lighting can be problematic when shooting. In general, avoid backlighting like having a big window behind you. For Tom’s setup, Brent closed the blinds to eliminate the changing lighting from the sun.

After the camera was set to isolate the background, Brent first lit Tom from behind using two rear lights to highlight Tom’s hair. The rim lights separate Tom from the background. The lights Brent used are American DJ (ADJ) brand and are called the Micro Wash WWCW. The acronym stands for “Warm White, Cool White,” which means they can produce both outdoor and indoor color temperatures to match existing indoor lights or correctly match any exterior daylight coming into the shooting space.

For the key light, Brent used a single Kino Flo ParaBeam 210. The light is large enough that it lights Tom without the need for a separate fill light. If you’re wondering about that old stand-by three-point lighting, Brent says that three-point lighting is antiquated and was for when people were using hard light sources which creates harsh shadows.

Using diffusion allows for softer lighting and is a heat resistant material tough enough to handle the heat of lights. Diffusion looks like wax paper is placed over the light source to create pleasant shadows on the talent. Also, you’ll need to control your light - can’t have it spilling all over the place. You can use a material called Cinefoil that can be used to direct light. It’s like aluminum foil, but tougher.

The Green Screen Controversy

For the first several weeks when Tom would call in from his home studio, the audience would yell, “Green screen! That’s no brick wall back there! It must be a green screen - just look at it!” We got to the bottom of that. Brent explained that the combination of a lower resolution camera at Tom’s studio (since replaced), in addition to different colored lights in Tom’s studio, and the backlighting fooled people into thinking “That’s a keyed setup!” A more full explanation is in the episode.

Budget Lighting Setup

Everything you just read applies to lighting in general. You don’t necessarily need professional gear to produce good lighting. You can create a key light using a four-foot workshop light that you can pick up at the hardware store. These use fluorescent tube lighting that flicker. That flickering may be picked up by your camera, but you can adjust that using your camera’s shutter.

To replicate the backlights we used, you can use inexpensive clamp lights. They cost about $8 each. If you’re feeling creative, you can attempt Brent’s “Frankenstein Key Light,” which places four clamp lights on a cross beam that sits atop a mic stand. Placing diffusion over the four lights creates a softer light and unifies the four light sources. (If you can’t picture it, that’s why we do a video show).

The money you save on lights can be used to pick up a camera with enough controls (like manual white balance) so you can make excellent looking video.

Wrap up

That’s a lot of material, but now you’ve got the tools to build your own home studio. Good lighting makes a world of difference and can

Connect with us!

Download or subscribe to this show at twit.tv/kh.

Questions, comments, dirty jokes? Send us an email at knowhow@twit.tv Join our Google+ Community and join in the conversation. There are over 3000 of you guys in there chipping in show ideas and helping each other out. It's a fantastic resource.

Don’t like either of those? Give us Iyaz a shout on Twitter or tweet using the hashtag #TWiTKH!

Thanks to Cachefly for the bandwidth for this show.

Runtime: 01:35:05

People: Leo Laporte