Schedule

Schedule

Thursday, April 24

Friday, April 25

1398445200 Tech News Today
1398448800 This Week in Law
1398466800 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, April 26

1398535200 The Tech Guy

Sunday, April 27

1398621600 The Tech Guy
1398636000 This Week in Tech

Monday, April 28

1398704400 Tech News Today
1398708000 Triangulation
1398713400 iPad Today
1398726000 Tech News 2Night

Tuesday, April 29

1398785400 Marketing Mavericks
1398790800 Tech News Today
1398794400 MacBreak Weekly
1398801600 Security Now
1398808800 Before You Buy
1398812400 Tech News 2Night
1398816000 All About Android

Wednesday, April 30

1398871800 FLOSS Weekly
1398877200 Tech News Today
1398880800 Windows Weekly
1398888000 This Week in Google
1398898800 Tech News 2Night
1398900600 The Giz Wiz
1398906000 Ham Nation

Thursday, May 1

1398963600 Tech News Today
1398967200 Know How...
1398970800 The Social Hour
1398976200 Coding 101
1398979800 Home Theater Geeks
1398985200 Tech News 2Night
1398988800 OMGcraft

Friday, May 2

1399050000 Tech News Today
1399053600 This Week in Law
1399071600 Tech News 2Night

Saturday, May 3

1399140000 The Tech Guy

Sunday, May 4

1399226400 The Tech Guy
1399240800 This Week in Tech

Most Recent Episodes

Know How...

Project Ara is a modular smartphone concept, viewer feedback from our G+ community, Heartbleed in action, and more!

Home Theater Geeks

Scott chats with home theater legend Yves Faroudja about his career and research.

Tech News 2Night

The FCC proposes new rules some say will end net neutrality, Facebook buys Moves, Amazon beats estimates then takes on FedEx and UPS, Microsoft beat earnings, tech giants fund OpenSSL, Google+ loses its chief, and Google Glass is NOT on sale for everyone.

Coding 101

We learn about for loops, if then statements, and get modded before Dale Chase gives us the lowdown on using external data.

The Social Hour

Amber & Sarah chat with Mightybell's Gina Bianchini, Google+ head Vic Gundotra leaves the company, Facebook buys Moves app, is Famatic rad or fad? And more!

Ham Nation

Joe Walsh(WB6ACU) returns to the show to talk about how he started with Ham radio, Field Day, questions from the chat room and more!

Tech News Today

The FCC chairman proposes rules that critics say ends net neutrality in the US, big tech companies unite to prevent the next Heartbleed, Facebook acquires a fitness tracker and launches a breaking news service, and more.

OMGcraft

Chad demonstrates Minecraft Bingo!

The Giz Wiz

The horseless eCarriage, a crazy concept car from Toyota, a t-shirt with heart rate monitor, and more!

This Week in Google

Apple and Facebook quarterly results, Google I/O to focus on design, FCC proposes new net neutrality rules 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