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Some of you may have seen some of my recent YouTube videos that have been promotional pieces for upcoming workshops (For example, the Mike and Misty promo, for a forthcoming Stretch Teacher workshop) or explanation pieces,  so background to the work that I do (like the What is stretching, really?).

What I want to discuss today is what equipment I use for this. On the hardware side, I use a NEX 6 body, with either the Sigma 30/2.8 lens, or the Sigma 19/2.8 lens (these have an “EFOV” (equivalent field of view) as 45mm and 28mm lenses, respectively.

I set the camera up on the tiny–mighty Benro MeFoto travel tripod (silly name; great tripod), and then fit the amazing ikan 5″ field monitor (this runs out of the HDMI port on the NEX 6), and the ikan sits in the camera’s hot shoe. It is powered by one of the many small Panasonic batteries I have for the HMC-152s we used for our “real” videos.

And last but very definitely not least, I record ‘second system sound‘, which has been how film has had its sound recorded for the majority of its existence (and this is what the slate or clapper board is for: to sync the sound to the vision). I use a hand clap in vision for this; more on editing below. To record sound, I use either a Roland R-05 or a Sony PCM-M10 recorder. Both are tiny and excellent. This is an image of the setup:

2 Kg video kit, including tripod

2 Kg video kit, including tripod

The coins are there for scale: this setup is tiny! (The coins are loonies and toonies, the Canadian one and two dollar coins, smaller than our 20¢ coins).

I set the Sony NEX 6 up to auto focus, Manual shutter and aperture, and get the exposure I want via the ISO control. This latter only allows single stop exposure changes, so I refine exposure for the look I want by making 1/3 EV changes to shutter speed, usually. I record in 1080p/24 AVCHD format. I have ordered the Sony remote control which will mean I can lock focus and start recording from where ever I am sitting to make the video and that will make the process even simpler.

After I have finished shooting I ingest the files onto the Macbook Air (and LaCie ‘Rugged’ USB3 HDD) and then convert to Apple priories 422 LT using an excellent program called ClipWrap.

Editing is done in the excellent Final Cut Studio suite. This is where I make any colour or exposure changes, add the typewriter effects at the beginning and the end-title effects at the end, and any titling in between. FCS is overkill for this kind of work but I know the program fairly well now and I am simply disinclined to learn a new software.

When I am travelling, I usually pack the sound recorder in the check-in bag, and carry the NEX 6 with one or two lenses in a very small pack that I take on board with me as hand-carry. The tripod which packs up into an extremely small bag fits in the same carry on bag.

What this all means is that I now have the capacity to do broadcast standard video and sound where ever I am in the world and the entire equipment including the tripod only weighs a couple of kilograms. Compare this to the Panasonic professional video camera I used to own which weighed 9 kg and needed to be packed in a Pelican hardcase—the whole thing weighed over 24 kg. This single case alone made travelling difficult and more expensive than it needed to be—imagine wheeling the 24 kg hardcase and my checked-in bag (with clothes, etc.)  at the same time through a busy airport like Miami. This has more than a whiff of dukkha about it!

Setting this tiny kit up the first time did take half an hour, and I still need to calibrate te ikan field monitor, but I am now confident that I can get excellent results and as I become more familiar with the rig it will be very fast to deploy.

I do have a second NEX 6, too, and will write about the elegance of two-camera shoots another time.