Individual Project

360 Degree panoramas as a background Plate

For my individual project, I will be experimenting with 360- degrees panoramic images rotating as a background video plate. This plate will be constructed using a DSLR camera with an 8ml fisheye lens taking four High Dynamic Range images at 90 degrees horizontal from each other. The images will then be merged to form a 360-degree panoramic JPEG and uploaded to a website that allows continuous rotation. Whilst the image is rotating, I will convert the file to a video using Quicktime. I will then have my background plate as a video file. The foreground images will be either stills or an additional video file to complement and interact with the background.

Noise cancelling Headphones

video production audio monitoring headphones
Bose noise cancelling headphones


These Bose headphones have a distinctive enticing factor, and thats Noise Cancelling. When ambient noise no longer interferes with the music your listening to, naturally the sound is going to be better.There may also be occasions when you want complete silence. Turn the microphone thats positioned at the earpiece on, and you have eliminated ambient noise. The microphone records the external sounds and produces a sine wave. The headphones electronics creates an opposite sine wave of peaks and troughs. This sine wave cancels the incoming  wave out, and you have Noise cancellation.

They fit very comfortably, however they may not be the best solution for audio editing on a digital platform such as AVID Pro Tools.They do certainly have a place in audio monitoring in either video,film or television production.If your looking for a distraction free environment that allows you to be more productive than noise cancellation is the answer.

Video production using professional audio equipment

video production using the audio control room
The audio control room of a Television studio

Audio is a key component in a successful video production for web. It is unfortunate that many consumer cameras cannot deliver good quality audio without the use of accessories and additional microphones.

Microphones come in three main types

  • condenser
  • dynamic
  • electret

within these three types there are different polar patterns for picking up the signal

  • Cardioid
  • Omni
  • Bi-Polar
  • super cardioid
  • shotgun

We then have microphones that can be hidden, such as the Lavalier and mics that are wireless.

Having full control of the audio recording often means pugging into a mixer and monitoring the recorded signal.This is where you get to make use of your expensive headphones that may cut out background noise. However this is not always desirable as a sound recordist needs to have two ears working. One for the recording and the other to monitor whats going on around the set.

Video productions using lavalier microphones
Lavalier Mics are concealed on the talent

After the connection to mixer or camera , a setup procedure occurs. This is where many people with less experience become confused. The levels must be set correctly.  Do we connect into “mic or line” on the camera?  Well in short the “line” input is for a mixer. If your not using a mixer then plug into the “Mic” input and set you levels to auto. If your more experienced you may set your levels to manual and make adjustments during the production as the need occurs.

video production using professional audio equipment
concealing a lavalier microphone on the talent as they go to air allows for good recording of dialogue

Floor Manager in film & Television

video production with the floor manager
The floor manager uses signals to communicate to the talent

The Floor Manager ensures that the production runs on schedule. They are responsible for ensuring the cameras are properly set-up and that all the equipment is working  properly.

The  Director works closely with the floor manager as the countdown to record begins.Hand signals are used to indicate to the talent the directors intentions. The Floor manager receives the instructions through the headsets worn and relays the signals by hand.

video production in the control room
The control room is where the Director gives the instructions to the Floor Manager.

The floor manager is also responsible for ensuring safety, particularly when a set is constructed.

The Floor manager must be able to manage individual personalities with an air of authority that enables the crew to work in a harmonious way. He must also have a calm persona that can solve problems quickly and anticipate any that may arise.

Addavideo can provide content for your website that speaks to your audience through clear audio and crisp images. Video is a better way to communicate than the hand signals a floor manager uses. Does your website need a communication upgrade?

video production with the floor manager  addavideo
The floor manager makes sure the equipment is working properly and the production is on schedule.

The Camera Control Unit Operator

In a Multi Camera Setup

The operator has the technical control of the cameras. They make sure each camera is set up correctly for production. This involves matching the colour and exposure. A single camera  operator carries this task out themselves either in the studio or in the field.

Camera set up ready for production
Camera set up ready for production

In this image we can see the operator pointing to the screen that has the set up information.The wave form makes sure the exposure is within technically correct levels and within the legal limits for broadcasting.

Re-creating scenes from the Movies

The re-creation of movies scenes often involves the use of correct lighting units and their placement. Accessories such as gels, cookies and smoke machines may also need to be utilised. The scene below is from ” The departed” with Jack Nickolson and Matt Damon in  the X- rated movie theatre. We used a Kino to light our faces and another from behind to provide separation from the background. A spot with a green gel was  the projector and an exit sign permanently  located in the studio was our other prop.  A black curtain in the background was used to add the infinitive depth.

lighting a scene from "The Departed" starring Jack Nickolson and Matt Damon
An exercise in lighting: here we re-create a scene from “The Departed” with Jack Nickolson and Matt Damon in the movie theatre.
spotlight with a green gel
A spotlight with a green gel was used in the background to give the impression a projector was operating in the movie theatre.

The smoke machine was rather difficult to control and as a result the intended affect differed from that of the original.

Getting started in film & television

The best way to get started in Film & TV is to get a camera, sit in front of it and start talking. When you look back at the footage you will see what needs to be improved. Some of the most obvious elements will always be:

  • The lighting
  • Sound quality
  • composition or framing
  • image quality when enlarged
  • acting or presentation

These items can easily be improved with some research and study. Make the improvements and do the same shoot again.  Add an additional camera angle and then you will explore some editing techniques. Getting started and setting some time aside is the strategy for the development of an exciting adventure.

Lighting adds drama to the scene and separates the subject from the background
Lighting adds drama to the scene and separates the subject from the background

You don’t need to have an expensive camera. Knowing what you need will only come from experience and some study. Build upon what you have. This allows you to acquire knowledge that leads to developing a good technique.

House of cards
re-creating a scene from “The house of cards”

Learning the crew roles in a film production

Flying battens
Producing a film or video requires a skilled team of professionals.

An awareness  of crew roles  is helpful in achieving a successful result for film, television or video. It assists in bringing the project in on time and budget. The size of the production will determine what crew roles are needed. A production can be executed with just camera man and talent. The camera operator sets the audio levels and does the monitoring. He has the lighting configuration in place and directs the production. The next step is the editing in post production. In a basic presentation where talent is speaking to the camera, this may also be a simple procedure.

It is possible for a production crew of any size to achieve a professional result at a minimum cost if the team are multi skilled. In the early stages of training, students are required to assess the various crew roles and perform each role in a production. With this experience and the access to equipment, the creative process can begin. It requires planning, which involves marking up the script and  producing a shot list. These are the two  basic requirements of a director no matter how small or large the production is.

The Director –  what role does he perform

  • Marking up the script
  • Assembles a shot list and camera card for the cinematographers
  • Chooses the cast
  • Gives instruction to crew and cast
  • Schedules the shooting timetable

Some directors choose to appear in their own films while others write the screen play, edit or shoot their film. Multi- tasking  roles can lead to errors that may be inadvertantly  overlooked. It requires an experienced director with good communication skills to perform duel rolls. Non verbal communication is just as important as this sends signals such as confidence or inability. If your just starting out as a director, keep a professional distance from your crew. You don’t need to have fun on a production, you need to maintain control. To much fun often leads to a noisy and raucous environment. Its difficult to concentrate, and loose sight of the objective. Celebrate  a successfull production with fun, but get the result first.

 Tips on Directing

  1. Confidence: This comes from planning and familiarity of crew roles.
  2. Visualise the outcome: Viewing the work of others inspires creation
  3. Do some acting: Helps connect and communicate
  4. Listen: But don’t get to involved in a discussion that could lead to an argument
  5. Get a producer or a Directors assistant
  6. Associate in a film community
  7. Write a short script : Learning to type is an enormous help!
    Dr. Who
    Dr. Who started over 50 years ago, a time travel epic for television

    Directors have the good fortune of working  closely with different characters and personalities. They can block the movement of actors and camera to achieve shots and scenes that will cut together well. They oversee the flow of the program bringing all creative elements together in a meaningful and creative way.

Superwoman & Johnny Depp
Directors have the good fortune of working with many different characters

How to use a Green Screen , Cloth or Paper ?

Green Screen  Cloth or Paper
Close up of  Cloth and  Paper

Using a Green-screen can be an important part of a work flow. Knowing which type of material to use can reduce the time spent on post production. One issue that most users face is of colour fringing. This occurs from  light rays being reflected of a hard surface such as paper. Looking at the image of the cloth ( left ) we can see a close up of the structure of the material. The light rays do not have a hard surface to bounce off and therefore the result using this material will be less likely to cause spill around the edges of your subject matter. This type of fringing which occurs from spill can be reduced in post using various methods. Using cloth has some worthwhile benefits in this regard, however there are some downsides.   The cloth can be difficult to keep flat and seamless. The Green-screen cloth I use is held together in a flexible frame that stretches from end to end and is portable. It is large enough to accommodate one head and shoulders, where as paper roll can accommodate at least 5-6 people  from tip to toe. Having both paper and cloth as part of your equipment is essential for anyone doing composites with green screen.

Reflection and the varying degrees of the angle of incidence

This is the difference between a rough and a smooth surface such as the cloth and paper. When the light strikes the cloth the rays are reflected at different angles and may also pass through the gaps in the cloth. Light that strikes the paper will be reflected back at a more consistent angle and intensity toward the talent positioned in front of the Green-screen.The result in most cases will be a green fringe around the talent. I say in most cases; as the cause can be reduced if the talent is brought further away from the point of the reflected light.

Light angle reflection
Light angle reflection
using the sony F3 for a green screen composite
Using the Sony F3 for a green screen composite


The Sony F3 was used for the Green Screen composite above. The studio was lit with Two cyclorama lights on the green cloth. The couple were lit with two Kenos and three Dedo for effect.

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