Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review: Aspen Lav Mic (unbalanced)

Every time I sit down to record a YouTube video, I use a lav mic. This is a small microphone that clips to your clothing, near your mouth, that allows you to easily capture sound from the person it is attached to. It is much easier to use than an boom mic and you don’t need an operator (or stand) to implement it properly. It’s a perfect microphone for one-man-band YouTubing.

The microphone I’ve used ever since starting the Frugal Filmmaker has been the Radio Shack Tie-Clip mic, probably because it used to be so easy to get one (especially before RS closed half of their stores). It was an affordable $30 and produced decent sound for an unbalanced (non-XLR) microphone. It has been happy partners with my Zoom H1 Handy Recorder for some time now.

Aspen Mics recently contacted me and asked if I would review one of their lav mics and I agreed. Similarly priced, I was curious to hear the difference between this new mic and my old one, and looked forward to doing an A/B comparison.

The above video is a finding of my results. The Aspen is a well-made mic that sounds identical to my Radio Shack model, but needs no batteries. It’s a good looking mic, with a great cord length for mounting to a concealed recorder. It’s about $12 more expensive than the RS version, but that may be negligible when the price of batteries are added in.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Q&A: Can I use a satellite dish as a reflector?


Creating a Small Studio, Part 2 - Lights!
Knoptop talks scissor clamps
22" 5-in-1 reflector (eBay : Amazon)
The Importance of Hair and Makeup

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Creating a Small Studio, Part 2 - Lights!

In continuing the short series about turning small spaces into "usable" studio space (last episode was about improving sound), today's video is all about simple area lighting. One of my goals for any sized studio was to have lights preset and ready to go, no matter when I needed to shoot. Creating even lighting was an issue, as was a window in the room.

Area lighting covers your shot more evenly (and thus, flatter) than something like three-point lighting which provides more modeling and nuance. The trade off is that area lighting can be very simple and much easier to setup, giving you decent lighting for little cost.

As shown in the video, the main component for my setup is the frugal "bug light". This consists of a light stand, compatible light fixture with standard socket, dual socket "Y" adapter, and two LED bulbs that are close enough to daylight color temperature. I go into more details in the video, but it's safe to say that these work just fine for small studio purposes.

I have two of these units raised off of the floor (they are sitting on other objects), which brings them pretty close to the ceiling. Placed in opposite corners of the room puts them in optimal positions and the white surfaces they are near help to reflect light back into the studio. The dual LED bulbs on each stand not only provide plenty of light, but also run cool to keep the "laundry room studio" from becoming an oven.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my new lighting. The best part is that it completely eliminates almost any setup/teardown time required when I had no space at all. It's functional, frugal, and fast.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Q&A: How do I control that work light glare?

Today's questions cover topics such as my accidental mirror image in the last video, project organization, the "to 4k or not to 4k" question, DIY fails, and glare caused by the hacking the old hardware store tungsten work lights.


Top 5 Camera Rig Parts
How to turn one camera into two angles
Lowel Day Blue Lighting Gel Set
What is a cucoloris (aka "cookie")?

Friday, October 9, 2015

DIY: Top 5 Camera Rig Parts

As you may be aware of, I've built a lot of camera rigs in the past. In the process I've found myself using the same parts over and over when I go to attach things to said rig. In the above video I go into more depth about these parts, but below are listed all said parts for your quick perusal. I hope they can help you affordable build your own camera setups in various configurations.

mini ball head
1/4-20" to camera shoe adapter (male)
camera shoe receptacle
1/4-20" coupler (female-to-female)
combo camera shoe adapter/coupler deal
1/4-20" male-to-male adapter
neoprene fender washer (1/4" hole) - hardware store
7" magic arm clone
11" magic arm clone


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