Category Archives: Video

Recreating the DJTV Set From Scratch Electronically

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solardave-set

I really liked the DJTV studio they created from real materials, so I did a screen capture of it and then broke it down in to parts and then rebuilt each part electronically.

  • The corrugated metal texture on the left side is different, I liked having the red tone on the bottom of the metal.
  • The blue vertical strip is done with a gradient, I liked it just a little lighter.
  • The plate glass window is done with another gradient and I put my logo back behind it by changing it to gray scale and then making it very transparent.
  • The large TV monitor is also redone. Notice how there is no red reflection off of Eric’s red shirt on the right side of the monitor.
  • I used a white screen for my chromakey and you can notice a very small amount of white fringe on the right side of the monitor with my shirt – but I think it works well.
  • I used my Vegas software track effects “Levels” to lighten up my face a bit more so I fit on the set better in terms of lighting.

I hope DJTV doesn’t mind me recreating their set. I think the DJTV guys have amazing products – some of them I own. If you guys at DJTV have any issues with me recreating your set let me know and I can make it look different – but I really like the way it looks now. I am totally cool about providing a link to the DJTV web site for credit.

AVCHD Video Card


I own a Sony HDR-SR7 and have been using it for about 6 months.

Well the hard drive is getting full.

What I would like to do is transfer the AVCHD files (.mt2 extentsion) to a computer near my HD TV and play them back.

The only problem is even with a super fast computer and a super fast video card, playing back AVCHD does not work well.

Why can’t Sony or a video card manufacturer place the small AVCHD playback chip that is in my Sony HD camcorder on a video card?

Or why doesn’t Sony make a hard drive AVCHD playback device (similar to a TIVO).

Update: Looks like they do build a card for this now, see comment below!

[South Bend Rentals]

Tech Know Episode 304 Intro Remake

To better understand how Eric Franks does his read on the Tech Know Show and how Charlie Burket does the editing, I thought I would remake the beginning of Tech Know show 304.

Note: I am missing the audio bed and sound effects, I still have not purchased the Digital Juice products yet. I also have not tweaked the audio yet either.

I learned a ton of stuff from both Eric and Charlie. I gotta say Charlie has the more time consuming process of the two. Editing that 50 second spot took hours! I am sure Charlie could hammer it out much faster than I can.

This started out as a test to see how well my laptop teleprompter using free software would work. I think it appears I am looking into the lens when I am actually looking at the laptop right below the lens. Does this look like it to you?

teleprompter.jpg

I am 6′ 3″ so I couldn’t use my tripod to get the camera to my eye level so I used the shelves and put the camera and laptop on blocks.

I learned:

  • Smiling more than you think you should is a good thing
  • Reading it a little slow and hitting the words you want the viewer to take in is a good thing
  • Squinting to see the teleprompter is not a good thing.
  • It is a good thing to get the read just right and then edit around the timing of the complete audio track (thanks to Charlie for this).
  • I was a little out of focus on my last test I published (thanks Charlie for this)
  • Bouncing my head up and down is not a good thing – nervous habit?
  • Charlie loves to have movement is all b-roll no matter what it is!

I need to learn:

  • Keyboard shortcuts on Vegas to make my editing life better.
  • I have to play with the smoothness parameter on the event pan and zoom, but I think it looks pretty good in this test.
  • I need a better preview window on Vegas, working with the AVCHD files suck because you have to put it in draft mode to get the audio to sync and when you do that the preview window looks like crap! Anyone have any suggestions on this? I have a very fast computer that is 5 months old with dual graphics cards in tandem.
  • I placed all the b-roll on the top “Text” layer, I am sure that is not right – but it worked. I need to know what is correct.

I am looking for comments on how to improve my editing skills, any comments are welcome.

Please keep in mind that I have spent $2,000 on creating these videos, I still need to buy stuff from DJ too so I can’t spend too much more $.

So I am thinking of using the same jump back intro and audio bed for my new show, I just need to figure out how much it is going to cost.

I am doing online training videos for property related web sites. My target audience is real estate agents and property managers to better improve their sites. Just like DJTV I will be pushing my property templates that they can use to get their sites looking more professional.

I am using SnagIt 8 for the screen captures. I think I have it set to 15fps and I am not sure how to change that to 30fps.

Some of you might be wondering what is up with the solar blog. Well this is my play site and not where the training videos are going, I could find another place for it so I stuck these posts here.

Here is the video below, just click anywhere to play it:

[bliptv Dugdale-TechKnowEpisode304ReMake581]

Learning By Imitating Tech Know’s Eric Franks On Digital Juice

When I want to doing something really well I find out who is doing it the best, copy them down to the smallest detail and then after I have that perfected I then get creative and do my own thing. I always learn a ton this way.

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First off I am not a “video guy” I am an “audio guy” so this is all new for me. The web site I own I have been wanting to create some top notch training videos for property web site owners. So I was studying Blip.tv and luckily found Digital Juice TV (an amazing site!). The site has fantastic training videos on how to make you videos better. The one I really like is Eric Frank’s Tech Know so I have been copying it and learning along the way.

I first built my video studio in the basement on a very cheap budget, I think I spent $45 on the green screen and $150 on the halogen lights. I then purchased the Sony HDR-SR7 HD camera for around $1,000. The camera produces AVCHD files on its hard drive so then I needed to find a NLE editor that could edit those files. It came down to Pinnacle Studio 11 and Sony Vegas 8 Movie Studio Platinum Edition $120. After trying them both, I went with Vegas because Studio 11 seemed to crash too many times while trying to do the advance render for the preview window. Pinnacle did not have a free download trial, I had to buy it to test it out which was OK, but I had the hardest time trying to contact them for a RMA # (that really upset me).

I have spent a lot of time experimenting in manual mode on the camera which has been a large learning curve for me. I think I have settled on the following after setting the white balance:

  • 1/60th of a second (can’t control)
  • F2.0 (I control using the exposure level adjustment)
  • Focus 2.4 meters (manual mode)
  • Gain at 0dB
  • AVC HD 15M (XP) mode

To white balance I placed a piece of white paper on a stand where I would be standing, zoom in on the white paper and then set the white balance. I am not sure if I am doing this right or if I should be doing it to the white sheet in the background?

After tons of experiments with my green screen I gave up and went to a simple white sheet (I tried paper like on Tech Know but I couldn’t tape it together well enough). The white sheet has been very easy to key out and also was so much easier to get the exposure where I thought it needed to be.

I set up my Vegas project file as follows using the native video format on import (I had screwed up before and used the native format which has an aspect ratio of 4:3, so I reduced the frame height to achieve the 16:9:

vega-properties-2.gif

Within Sony Vegas I added three filter effects to the video, Chroma Key, Chroma Blur and Color Correction.

I first do the Chroma Key as shown below:

vegas-chroma-keyer.jpg

I then did the Chroma Blur – I turned this off because Charlie at DJ said I didn’t need it.

“Chroma blur is not needed if your backdrop is free of imperfections (no visible seams, deviations in surface) or if your Zebras are reading 100% on the background. This essentially wipes out detail due to the overexposing.”

And then I play with the Color Correction, I tried to do what Charlie recommended:

“In your color correction, click on the eyedropper to the right of HIGH to set a value in your frame of what you want the computer to consider as “white” Try adjusting the LOW Magnitude value down until your blacks seem nice and dark. This is regarded as “Crushing the Blacks” and makes things look better (IMHO). Same with the Black level ( maybe the darkest part of your suit).”

But in the end I just kept playing with it until I felt I had the best look.

vega-color-2.jpg

After I am done editing I render to an AVI file as follows:

vega-render-2.gif

Then I use Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 ($249) to create the FLV file that I upload to blip.tv so Blip.tv won’t re-transcode over what I have already done using the following settings:

squeeze.gif

Now I realize that I have spent less than $2,000 on everything and I am never going to get to the level that DJTV has, but if I can get 95% there then I am happy. I am looking for advice to bring it up another notch.

[bliptv Dugdale-TestCopyOfEricFranksTechKnow958]

I am trying to figure why I do not look in focus like Eric does, my image seems too soft.

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How To Build a Green Screen Chroma Key Set DIY

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The lower lights in the picture above are two 250 watts (500w total) to light the green screen (one stand cost $24), the one in the upper right is the back light (kicker) and the one in the middle is my spot light – but the spot is not working well so I am going to build another softbox for this location.

barn-doors.jpg

I cut out sheet metal barn doors for the back light (kicker) and painted them with high heat grill paint.


backlight.jpg

Then I installed the barn doors on the 500 watt work light that cost around $14.

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Here you can see my microphone and behind it is the other $24 work lights to light the other side of the green screen.

softbox-front.jpg

This is my home made softbox, two 500 watt work lights pointed at a window screen frame covered with parchment paper.

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Front view of the softbox.

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Floor plan. I still have to move some stuff around – I am not happy with it yet.

I am trying out Sony Vegas and was able to key out the green screen really well in my test, so now I need to figure out how to use the manual mode on my new Sony HDR-SR7 HD hard drive camera.

I like to thank Mark Apsolon for his great video instruction on how to do it cheap. And John Beale for his barn door example. Also Izzy for his video lighting tutorials as well. And Keith Hanshaw for his video on green screen as well.