Apr 22, 2009

YouTube HD for Sharon McKay Writer Interview

We have been shooting HD for years now, but have posted to YouTube in SD because that is all that YouTube handled. The new YouTube HD features provide a better viewing experience, and we posted a recent interview with Sharon McKay about her war related children's book in HD. The original 1080i video (edited in Adobe Premiere) was resized to 1280x720 and encoded in the Adobe Media Encoder into the h.264 codec for upload. The 2:30 minute, 101 mb, encoded file was further encoded by YouTube to end up as a 35 mb file. Looks great within the YouTube web page, and not bad at full screen on a 22 inch monitor. Interestingly, the cached mp4 (not flv by the way) looks absolutely amazing when played through the VLC Media Player. See the HD version here.

Apr 17, 2009

New fluorescent video lights greener for interviews

We recently purchased 3 SLS fluorescent light banks to use on video shoots. The daylight balanced fluorescent lights reduce white balance problems caused when daylight creeps into a setup lit by standard incandescent lights, and keeps the setup cool enough to be comfortable in front of them. The two 55 watt tubes in each fixture appear much brighter ( still need to verify this with a light meter ) than a 250 watt Lowell Pro with an umbrella. And the soft light seems to fill the room and be much easier for the subject to look into. We used one with diffusion clipped to the big barn doors on a green screen interview shoot to light the green backdrop, but that seemed superfluous in the end. And, at 110 watts per fixture, the current draw is a lot less than incandescents and much more eco friendly.

There is a downside. Compared to a Lowell Pro and umbrella, the SLS light is heavy and bulky. It needs a heavier light stand as well. Nevertheless, these lights have become part of our interview video light kit. It seems only 5 years ago that we lugged 800 watt and 1K Redheads around.

Photos by Francis Fougere. Photos 1, 2, 3 taken in Charlie Pachter's artist studio and gallery. Photo 4 taken in Ben McNally Books in Toronto