Schedule

Schedule

Thursday, January 29

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
1422828000 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

Thursday, February 5

1423159200 Tech News Today
1423162800 Know How...
1423166400 Marketing Mavericks
1423171800 Coding 101
1423175400 Home Theater Geeks
1423180800 Tech News 2Night
1423182600 The Giz Wiz

Friday, February 6

1423245600 Tech News Today
1423249200 This Week in Law
1423267200 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, February 7

1423335600 The Tech Guy

Sunday, February 8

1423422000 The Tech Guy

Most Recent Episodes

Tech News Today

Facebook reports some big numbers and more.

Ham Nation

Don Wilbanks and George Thomas show what they found at Capital City Hamfest, Jackson, Mississippi.

This Week in Google

Police want Google to turn off a Waze feature that tell drivers officers are nearby.

Android App Arena
Episode #30: Travel Apps January 28th, 2015

Skyscanner, Tripit, Hungry?, Facebook Lite

Tech News 2Night

3D Printed Tracheas

Windows Weekly
Episode #398: This is Spartan! January 28th, 2015

The new Spartan browser and Xbox One controller getting an update.

iFive for the iPhone

Use Calendar to set a future alarm, Siri to ID music, Skype bug

FLOSS Weekly

Avni Khatri and Kids On Computers.

Tech News Today

Apple reports higher quarterly profits than any company ever.

All About Android

Google's mobile network, Yota Phone's screen, and Blackberry's App Neutrality.

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

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Runtime: 01:35:05

People: Leo Laporte