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Basic Editing: Video Tutorial of Adobe Premiere

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog post. I decided to do something different in this post. I made a tutorial educational video. It’s a short video about the basics of editing in Adobe Premiere CC.

02ad615cde2b9a3cb8428c4c4d243e51_400x400This is my preferred program for editing videos and I think its straight forward and easy to use and understand. It has a ton of easy to use, effective, tools, effects and features that make it a powerful, customizable, program and ideal for beginners and professional alike. I hope that this will make sense and be a source of help to you. Let’s get started with the video.


Premeire Tutorial from Sean Photo & Design on Vimeo.

In finish now it is time to Export the video. Each export is going to be different. Why? Because each project result is going to be different. Some of you may be exporting to burn to a DVD, still others may be broadcasting the video, still some like me are going to be uploading to YouTube or Vimeo.

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If you are exporting to Vimeo, you need to follow these steps. Choose “Mark In” and “Mark Out” on your Sequence to select what will be exported.


Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.12.13 PMThen choose File, Export and a menu will pop up.

  • Format: H.264
  • Prest: Vimeo 725p
  • Output Name: Choose Name and select where you want to save it.
  • Check the box: Use Maximum Render Quality
  • Then choose Export

Now you have a finished video that you can load to Vimeo.com. I hope you liked the video that I made and please let me know of other videos that you would like to see made.






The Little Things Make the Big Things

When it comes to media, art, photography, film and editing it should be noted that the little things can make the biggest difference. You’ve heard the expression that it’s all in the details. Well, that’s true on almost all accounts; especially in the world of the arts. In the film world in particular the details make the film “pop” and stand out amongst the completion. The competition in the church world being the secular media. If you are shooting, make sure the focus dial is precisely tuned in to the eye of the subject. People look at the eye of the speaker. Move that light a little more to get the shadow blended perfectly or removed from the face. When editing look for ways to go the extra mile to ad the extra spark. How can you make the image or sound that much better? I recently had a similar experience happen to me as I was editing for our churches #ATM2016 or At The Movies series.


We rented a lighting kit that could only output white light. Due to the lighting kit we rented the image turned out a little white and cold. The image looked sterile and we really wanted a warmer look. Lighting is key and this lighitng made Pastor Caleb look pale. Not only that but our background images were lost in the dark. I needed something bring those images out. Otherwise we would have just a talking head in the dark. My solution was to ad in more light. How do you do that once the video has been recorded? There is a great video effect in Adobe Premiere CC that allows you to ad more light to your selected image. Simply click on the Effects menu and then the Video Effects tab. Below you will see a folder called Adjust. In that folder is an effect option called Lighting Effects.

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  • Video Effects
  • Adjust
  • Lighting Effects

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Once in the Effect Menu you can see there are several lights to choose from and all of them  are customizable. You can move them all over your image, change the radius, intensity, color and much more. For my “light1” I wanted to use it to lighten up the camera props in the background. In the original image the camera is lost in the darkness. But by adding some light I was able to bring some clarity to the image and you can now see the prop. I used my x and y axis and moved the “Omni” light over the image I wanted to illuminate. I chose a white light to match the lighting we had chosen. Originally the light was to intense and it distorted the image of my Pastor. Therefor; I lessened the radius and the intensity until I was happy with the over all result. Finally I had a background that was viewable and did not distort any of the foreground images.

But what about the foreground? Pastor still looked pale and the lighting cold? I went back to my Lighting Effect and choose a second light. The second light, I positioned to the right of Pastor Caleb. But instead of even more white light I chose a warmer color. I then played with the radius and intensity until I was happy with the result. It’s simply a give and take and trial and error to get the light the right color and put it in the right position. Now we have a natural looking image that looks great! Next we went through and added these same effects to all the preaching clips so that we would have a even looking video. Now all the preaching effects look the same and natural to the eye.  The coldness has been taken out in post production. Now that’s awesome!

One other area that we fixed in post production was in the sound. When we recorded, there was a slight fuzziness to the audio. The over all quality of the sound was tainted by this “FFZZZ” static. My strong suit is not audio engineering, but with a little guess-taamating, Pastor and I found the solution that we needed.

Audio DeNoiser

Just playing around with the options we decided that we really liked the effect “DeNoiser”. Once in it we played around with the options and arrived at the custom arrangement of “Init 5” with the Reduction and Offset to be at -6.8 .

Often times if you don’t know what effect to use or how to go about using it, you just need to jump in and play with your options. Sometimes the best solutions can come through trial and error. Learn to Google or Youtube for your answers and if you can’t find them, then trouble shoot with your options. I find this is true every day. If something does not work look at it from another angle. Often with a clear mind the solution presents itself.



A Brief Review of Nikon v Canon

camera-691907_1280I just recently started to learn about the world of Nikon DSLR camera. Some of you at this point may be saying “welcome to the party!” Others at this point might be saying “traitor!” I know of people who started with Nikon and switched to Canon and still others who switched from Canon to Nikon. Some of you right now are saying, “The heck with that I love Sony or Panasonic”. I’ve been informed that Nikon is a photographers camera and Canon is better for those who want to use a DSLR for videography. I don’t have any proof to back that statement up, that’s just what I’ve heard. All in all I think it comes down to personal preference. You have to know yourself and the type of work you will be doing. For church photography I don’t think it really matters which you use. Therefor I will be sharing my experience.

I was at a wedding just strolling around and shooting the decor for practice. As I started to shoot with the Nikon DSLR, I noticed that I had a hard time changing my settings. This may be due to the fact that this was my first shoot with a Nikon and I am not accustomed to it yet. Never the less the speed I normally have was gone and I had to constantly stop and look at the camera to change my f-stop, shutter speed and mostly the ISO. I had to make sure that I wasn’t changing the f-stop when I wanted to change the shutter speed and so forth.

Wow! To change the ISO is the trickiest cat of all. You have to press and hold down the ISO button on the left of the camera, while turning a wheel on the right. I just remember thinking to myself “how very cumbersome and inconvenient”. When your shooting church photography it is necessary to change the ISO a lot because the light is always changing from front of stage to back of auditorium. The lobby light is differ than the auditorium light, classrooms are different from those and of coarse outside is going  to be way different. I said all that to make the point that this process of changing the ISO on a Nikon while “on the go” is way more frustrating than it is to change on the Canon. Perhaps it might be ok, if you’re in a controlled environment such as a studio and you have time to stop and think about that change.

Honestly that’s it for this post. I don’t have much more to grouse at than that major point. Over all I thought most of the changes were very similar. The weight, design, and processes of the camera are not that different than Canon. If you can get over the ISO malfunction mess then I would say that you can be just as happy with Nikon as you are with Canon. Perhaps as I familiarize myself more with Nikon I’ll have more to say, but for now I’ll be sticking with my Canon camera.  This video is very good. It might help you in your decision making. Happy shooting everyone.

How to Film an “At The Movies” Summer Series


Summer is coming. Many churches slump in attendance during the summer. The ATM or At The Movies series is a great way keep or build attendance. The premise is that the Pastor will preach Biblical points from a secular film. The film can be any one they want as long as they can use it tot illustrate moral or Biblical meaning.  Many films have great moral illustrations or are stories about overcoming tragedy and great odds. As the media team it is our job to edit the chosen films to tell the points the Pastor wants to preach from. My church has even gone a step further and we film our Pastor and add the filmed preaching points into the edited film. Basically we show a 30 minute film each Sunday during the ATM series. We create an inviting and fun atmosphere with big props, buttered popcorn and soda. The ATM series can be really fun. This blog post will share with you the secrets to filming a successful ATM series.

Secure Your Location

 IMG_1445It’s important to secure your location. Pick a spot that helps illustrate or gives thematic flare to your film. Maybe it’s downtown with skyscrapers, or in an urban area, at the beach, in the woods, in the park, at an old theater. Wherever it is secure your spot. Why is this important? Say you have a great spot to film at in mind and you decide to “guerrilla” film there without asking anyone’s permission. You could be asked to leave before you finish, or even charges could be pressed against you due to trespassing. I can remember a couple of shoots when I was a student that were going very well, but then we were caught filming without permission there and were asked to leave without finishing the piece. We had to re film everything that we had just did! Trust me it saves a lot of time and trouble to call ahead and speak to the owners or whomever and make sure that you will not be inhibited if you film there.

Location is Key

Make sure that the location you pick is not to close to the road, rail tracks or airport. In other words be sure to not be in a noisy area so as to get the best sound recording. Look for available shading so that your Pastor or talent is not squinting into the sun. Shade is best for filming because it helps keep the aperture down thus helping to blur out the background and give you that beautiful film look. Shade also allows for a smooth clear image. You don’t want blotchy/spotty shade otherwise you will get a blotchy/spotty look on your Pastors face. Some of his face will be in sun while other parts will be in shade. That’s just a bad look. If need be, bring your own shade via a tent.


600-LED-Lights-4If shooting outdoors you may want to rent or invest in a reflector.  A reflector is simply a collapsible circle with a reflective side to it. You use that circle to reflect sun onto the subjects face to brighten it up. If you wanted you could get a lighting kit with 2-3 LED panels. Set up two of the lighting panels near the Pastor. One should be on the right and the other on the left.  If the kit comes with a third light, position it in the back if you can, to create a hair light.  Of coarse the most desirable hair light is to position the Pastor so that the sun is on their back. The sun will create a beautiful golden glow around your Pastor. If this is the case it is imperative that you bring some extra lighting to help brighten up the face due to the shadows created by the sun. It is necessary to blast as much light as you can into their front to match the sun in the back.


Plug the ¾ pin of the Lavaliere Receiver pack into the audio input of the Zoom recorder.  Run the lav wire up through the shirt of your Pastor and have him clip the mic to his shirt at chest level. Clip the mic pack to the back of his belt. Make sure the mic is not muted and that it is set to the same frequency as the receiver pack.  Put a 64GB SD card (or whatever memory card your Zoom takes) into the Zoom recorder. Plug a set of headphones into the headphone slot of the Zoom. Do some volume test and then your ready to record audio. You can also attach a Rode mic to the top of your DSLR for better on camera audio. Be sure to stop recording audio each time you stop rolling on the camera. This will help you to match up audio and video later when editing.

my camera 4Filming Camera “A”

Place camera A, which should be a DSLR of 60D or higher quality, right in front of your Pastor. This is not an interview, this is a sermon; therefor it is ok for your Pastor to preach right to the camera. I would open with a 24 mm wide angle shot to establish the scene. Then use a hip to head shot for the majority of the preaching, and so would use a 50 mm prime lens. Obviously you will need to reposition the camera as necessary.  But I think you’ll be very happy with the results of these two lenses during the shoot.

  • Directions for Camera “A”. Steady straight on shot will work for 65% of your footage. The rest of the footage from “A” camera will be a slow pan from right to left and left to right.  In this instance have your Pastor preach to you and not to the camera so their head and eyes do not move with the panning camera.

My camera 3Filming “Camera B”

Place camera B, which should be a DSLR of 60D or higher quality to the right or to the left of the subject.  If you can, place the camera on a slider and track the subject with the camera, while moving back and forth. For a shot like this I would use a 35 mm or 50mm. If you’re using a 50 mm in both shots then try to vary it up some by moving one of them closer and the other further back.  To really vary it up, every once in a while put a 85 mm lens on and get some tight close up shots. It might also be nice to capture some of your make shift on location “film se”t with Camera B and really capture the “At the Movies” feel. Once everything is all recorded it is time to log it and start editing your project.

For editing Instructions please look for my upcoming book.More details to come.


Keying Out Blue Screen in Adobe Premiere

Modern Filmmaking 

I love movies. Almost as much as the movies themselves; I love filmmaking and the art of filmmaking. Whatever you thought about Avatar, it was ground breaking in the way visual effects are shot. It joins the ranks of Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2 and other visual effect groundbreakers. Right now the summer blockbuster season will be upon us, though who am I kidding; it’s already upon us! Batman v. Superman and The Jungle Book are out and soon Captain America: Civil War and many others will be joining them. All of these films are rich in special and visual effects. Let me also mention that they are rich in new ways of filmmaking in order to incorporate real footage with CGI. CGI of coarse is computer generated imagery. Blue and green screens are as prominent on film sets as are cameras, lights, actors and film crew. A good editor has to be able to do more than edit scenes, s/he has to be able to be a great chroma keyer! The chains are being broken daily as to what can be done and shown in the movies these days and its a great time to be a movie fan.


Now it is not likely that most churches will be using the visual effects and and new technical wizardry to do production. I hope that someday a church production can look like one of these block buster features. I am a firm believer that the church should be doing things as excellently as the world. But that’s a blog post for another day. Though let me show you the trailer for he Easter production for my home church in Tulsa. When I see it I feel excited that the church is catching up!

Using Blue Screen for Practical Church Production

But for my intents and purposes I hope to nock things down a few notches and focus on a more practical aspect of blue screen production. Again, some day I hope that I can compete with Disney on a church production, but in the mean time I’m going to focus on doing what I can do with excellence. I want to teach you today how to key out a blue screen or green screen on your project. I use Adobe Premiere so this tutorial will be focused on that.

I recently started filming a kids production where I am shooting a small film. Some of the film features characters in locations that I can’t or don’t have the time or budget to get to. In response to that, I filmed in front of a blue screen and then keyed out the blue and added in the desired background. I could see a church using blue screen for a fun and upbeat video for kids or youth. Maybe even for the right kind of teaching video for adults. Though the more you can film on location or on set the better and more realistic in my opinion. There is just some something fake about blue screen if done poorly. You really have to have the right lighting and precise editing skills to get it to look right and natural. That being said it can be a fun and effective tool and you should not be afraid to do it. Just be prepared to do it right.

Without further ado lets get on it. I’m going to let this video tutorial explain how to set up a blue screen and then I will go into the explanation on how to key it out.

Adobe Premiere 

Open Adobe Premiere and from the welcome menu either open or create a new project. On the next window name the project. The program opens, and it looks like this.premier

The bottom left panel is the Project Panel. Go to File, Import and select the media you want to work with. You now have chosen your film clip with the blue screen back ground. Take a look at this image of my kids film with the blue screen background. Your image ought to look something like this. Maybe not as “corny” but the example out to suffice for all circumstances.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.32.36 PM

Double click the file to load it into the Effects Panel. The image above is located in the Effects Panel. Find where you want to start the clip an hit the Mark In button. Now choose the ending of the scene and click the Mark Out Button. These are featured in the graphic below.
Mark IN and Mark Out



Next, pull the file into the Sequence or time line which is the long skinny menu to the right of the Project Panel. To pull in your selected clip you simply hover your cursor over the film clip button and the audio clip button. A hand appears and you click and drag the file into Sequence. These are featured in the graphic below.

Grab video or audio

Now the file is featured in the sequence menu. Next, open the Effects tab which is in the Project Panel. You can also open it by going to Window, Effects and clicking on the option. From the Effects tab, go to the folder titled, Video Effects and then the folder titled Keying,  and select the effect called Ultra Keying. Click and drag the effect onto the clip in the Sequence. Now double click on the film clip and the clip will open in the Effects Window. Now click on the Effect Controls tab.

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You will notice it says Output with the option of Composite. Keep this there but change the Settings to Aggressive. Now choose the eye dropper tool on the option that reads Key Color. In the clip in the sequence, click on the blue background using the eye dropper tool. Once you do that, you will instantly see a change. The vast majority of blue will be removed from the scene, leaving you with a subject and black background. But you’re not done yet. Now it’s time to finesse the scene.

Go Output and instead of choosing Composite, choose Alpha Channel. The screen now shows the subject in white with shades of gray. Now use the Matte Generation and Matte Cleanup to fine tune the image. Use the shadow, tolerance, and the most important one, the Choke. These are the tools needed to clean up and fine tune the keying to get the perfect image. Make a check list.

  • Is all the blue keyed out?
  • Are the images fine tuned?
  • Check carefully on parts where the subject moves.
  • Is anything transparent on the subject?
  • Is any blue shimmering or showing through at any point during the scene?

By now you must also notice that the image is kind of gray and sickly looking? The answer is in these tools, Color Correction, Saturation, Hue, and Luminance.

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  • Saturation ads in more vibrance and makes the colors that are there stand out and be more robust.
  • Hue ads in more natural color. Hue is one of the main properties of the color. This will distinctly show up in the face of the subject.
  • Luminosity is brightness or the appearance to the eye of more or less light.

Now that you have done all these steps you should have a beautiful image on screen. All you have to do is find or create the right background image and place it in, to finish the scene.

See the example of the final image below compared to the original blue screen image.

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That’s it for today, I hope you will enjoy some of my other articles on filming. In the mean time be sure to check out this great video on the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.