Schedule

Schedule

Thursday, December 18

1418941800 Home Theater Geeks
1418947200 Tech News 2Night
1418949000 The Giz Wiz

Friday, December 19

1419012000 Tech News Today
1419015600 This Week in Law
1419033600 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, December 20

1419102000 The Tech Guy

Sunday, December 21

1419188400 The Tech Guy
1419202800 This Week in Tech

Monday, December 22

1419271200 Tech News Today
1419274800 Triangulation
1419280200 iPad Today
1419292800 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, December 23

1419357600 Tech News Today
1419361200 MacBreak Weekly
1419368400 Security Now
1419375600 Before You Buy
1419379200 Tech News 2Night
1419382800 All About Android
1419391800 Padre's Corner

Wednesday, December 24

1419444000 Tech News Today
1419447600 Windows Weekly
1419454800 This Week in Google
1419465600 Tech News 2Night

Thursday, December 25

1419530400 Tech News Today
1419534000 Know How...
1419537600 Marketing Mavericks
1419543000 Coding 101
1419546600 Home Theater Geeks
1419553800 The Giz Wiz

Friday, December 26

1419616800 Tech News Today
1419638400 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, December 27

1419706800 The Tech Guy

Sunday, December 28

1419793200 The Tech Guy

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Marketing Mavericks
Episode #35: Game of Drones December 18th, 2014

Taking an idea and taking off with it

Know How...

In case you didn't know this is Episode 123

Tech News Today

Hollywood caves in the face of threats from the Sony hackers.

Ham Nation

Ham Emergency Radio Operations(H.E.R.O) lends aid in the recent Philippine typhoon.

This Week in Google
Episode #280: Sony Pictureless December 17th, 2014

Project Goliath: Inside Hollywood's secret war against Google

iFive for the iPhone

New Instagram filters, iMovie vertical video fix

Tech News 2Night

Netflix Says No to Offline Viewing

Android App Arena
Episode #26: App Launchers December 17th, 2014

Hangar, Lazy Swipe, App Swap, and SUPER.

Windows Weekly
Episode #393: Crap Patch Fever December 17th, 2014

Sprint Windows handset, Office Sway preview, and Windows 10 Build 9901.

FLOSS Weekly
Episode #319: Fedora 21 December 17th, 2014

Fedora 21 release, Mathew Miller, and cats.

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