Many homeschoolers like to give glimpses into what curriculum they're using in the coming year. For media people--like me--it's similarly interesting to know what kind of equipment people are using to do their stuff.
Almost two months ago I posted a picture of my filming location in Sonlight's back warehouse. It's the best place we've got because I could take up 300 square feet of space without getting in too many people's way. It's not the most ideal filmming location, however, because we had to work around the noise of people... well... working.
Just this morning, we were back there again, grabbing a wild line for the video coming out on Wednesday.
How did I use all the space? Well, as pictured below, I had my subject sit twenty feet in front of the bookcases. Then, I placed my camera another ten feet in front of them. This let me zoom in on the subject's face, while throwing the bookcases out of focus behind them. I didn't like how everything was all on the same "plane" in the 2011 What's New video. So assembling my own set was a big priority for me this year.
I used four lights on set. One had barn doors to cast a diagonal beam of light across the bookcase in the background for interest. Then I used two soft boxes to adjust the amount of shadow cast on my subject's faces (trying to have slightly harder shadows on the guys). Then, I put one last light about ten feet behind my subjects to illuminate the edge of their hair and give more separation from the background.
For audio, I used a shotgun microphone pointed up at them from the floor. In the past, I've used a lapel mic, but I like the sound I get from a directional microphone in noisy locations, and it's easier to have a microphone in front of the person rather than on their body.
I shoot 1080i HDV, edit in Vegas Movie Studio HD (about $80 for the older version I have), and clean up the sound in Audacity (free). I render it out as a 1080p .mwv and upload to Sonlight's YouTube channel.
Works pretty well, and I'm very happy with the results.
If you have somehow missed the 2012 What's New videos, check them out. If you, or your children, have any other questions about this production, please ask!
And if your kids are interested in learning how to make media, have them swing by Digital Flatline on the Sonlight student forums. I'm there, ready to answer questions about their media productions.
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester