Home » better church media

Tag: better church media

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.12.37 PM

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.






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.

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.51.58 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 1.12.23 PM




  • 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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.24.49 PM

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.


How to do Four Point Lighting for a Testimony Video

shutterstock_76770868Testimonies are a powerful witness to God’s miracle working power. Testimonies are a great way to help drive home or illustrate a point in the Pastors sermon. But I’ve been in to many services where the testimony turns into a mini sermon or it goes off onto a bunny trail that has strayed from the original point. Some testimonies have even delivered false theology that the Pastor then needs to discreetly correct. I’ve found that video taping a testimony is the best way to deliver a personal, powerful message and keep it on point. In previous blogs I’ve discussed the type of cameras and lenses that would be best for this type of video. But the right camera equipment is not the only thing necessary for a testimony video. Lighting is essential for a testimony video.

Without the proper lighting the video could be grainy, dark, and the right mood could be misconstrued. Lighting is used not just as a technique to brighten and illuminate the subject but it is a tool for setting the mood. Lighting is a tool like a painters paint brush, an authors pencil or in our case the cinematographers lens. Lighting can be warm and inviting, cool and refreshing or cold, damp and unnerving. Lighting sets the tone and feel for the story. It’s easy to see how properly used lighting can really change, add to or diminish the scene. As for the intents and purposes of  this blog post, I’ll discuss how to properly set up what is known in the studio/production business as four point lighting. Now you’re welcome to use more lights than that, but four is basic and it works very well. I’ll set the scene.

You’ve determined the set, and the position of the talent ( talent being the person giving the testimony) and the position of the camera or cameras. One will do but two cameras can give variety of shots and help when editing. We’re shooting inside so you need to rent or buy a kit that is white light or one that you can alternate. The lighting kits you can alternate are LED lights. They will have a dial on the back that you can switch from one setting to another.  3200 Kelvin is the proper lighting temperature for indoor tungsten  lighting. You will need to set the changeable light to 3200K for indoors and 5600K for outdoors or to emulate daylight. Once you learn the basics then you can play with lighting temperatures. The first light to be set up is the key light.

Key light: This light is the primary light, it is the brightest and meant to simply light the subject. Position this to the right or left or whichever side of the subject is the best side. Position is close enough to adequately light the subject but no so far in that it is overbearing or causes you to have to change the settings on the camera to much. The next light is the fill light.

Fill Light: The fill light is designed to soften the Key light. It is less bright is positioned closer to the subject. The fill light fills in the natural shadows that fall on the face and softens the features. The fill light is the beauty light. The next light is the back light.

Back Light: The backlight puts a dash of light on the back of the head. The back light separates the head and shoulders from the wall behind you. If it is too close to too strong then the subject will look like they have a halo. The well done back light simply cents and sparks the subject. The last light is the background light.

Background Light: You can get away without this one but I like it because it just ads something special to the production. A splash or streak of light on the background brings some real “umph” to the testimony video.

Different Lights

  • Umbrella Lights
  • LED Lights
  • Production Lights

IMG_7723Umbrella lighting is traditionally used for pictures. Umbrellas are used to reflect and throw light wide so that it does not land in one spot. You can still use the umbrella system in video lighting and you can still set it up as described above. You can also rig umbrella lights with a flash for some beautiful shot. I have a set that produces white light which is great for an indoor studio setting. I use mine for video shooting as well as photography.



600-LED-Lights-4LED Lighting is popular videos. LED lights are a broad light usually. LED’s are positioned on a panel that helps throw the light across the room. They also let you turn up the brightness and intensity so you can have more flexibility when shooting. You can get LED lights with barn doors. What’s that? A barn door is an attachment with hinges that can swing in, down or up and help the producers make the light more directional. Barn doors are a great tool to direct and cast light v letting it just spill out everywhere. Barn doors help you be more intentional with your lighting. They can also be used with studio lighting.

alzo_2000_portrait_studio_3lights_600wTraditional Studio lighting is set up with specified lights that come in varying degrees. You might have a light that is 150, 200, 350, 600 and so on. Each degree is a higher intensity. The color of the light is determined by different filters fitted into the front of the light or with gel papers clipped to the barn doors. You can also get covers that help soften, throw and focus light such as in the picture to the left. There are many tools that you can get to go with your right. Just because you have one type of light does not mean you have to keep it that way. Today there are numerous extras to make your lighting set up more desirable to your vision.






How to Make Your Own Video Backgrounds

lens image   my camera 4   church camera

It can get to be expensive to buy video backgrounds. You might be able to get some for free but the free video backgrounds are usually cheap and low definition. This article is about how to save your $15.00 or more a video which can add up quickly. You can do that by learning to make video backgrounds yourself so you can save money and use it for something else. Then once you have several good videos not only will you be able to use your own videos but you can sell your videos online.

Shooting The Background: Here is a Quick Lesson in Cinematography.

Subject wise you can shoot whatever you want, nature shots are a great place to start. Get a volunteer or a group of volunteers to follow around. Interchange single person shots and group shots. Have them raise their hands, smile, look somber, happy or worshipful. Place people in different positions and spaced out.   Think about locations, different parts of the city you live in, bodies of water,sky, stars, forest, sun beams, flowers, mountains etc. What location is your church in? If its in the city then think about great downtown shots. Think about the optimal time to get crowds crossing the street and traffic.  Can you go to the top of a skyscraper to shoot? What will give you the biggest space of city to see behind your subjects?  Are you near a park with a pond, lake or river? Does the park have walking trails or playgrounds. Find interesting places to place people. Bring in kids if there is a playground. If in the country think about old buildings, ruins, farm lands, porch shots? What about harvest shots such as wheat, corn or grain? Place your volunteers in the a filed of tall grass or crops. Shoot at the optimal time of 6:30-7:00 in the summer so as to get some brilliant natural light.  You might want to set up a decorative background with some interesting props? The possibilities are endless. Work on a few techniques like pulling focus. Everyone who has watched a movie has seen focus pulled. The camera is positioned to focus on a subject and the background is blurred out. At the optimal time the focus ring is pulled and a second subject in the background is revealed. Use a dolly track. Rent a track set and Dolley or you can make one. If you can acquire a wheel chair you can set the camera on the wheel chair and then slowly roll it to pick up those nice push in shots.  There are a ton of techniques, you have to figure out what works for you.

In this lesson I’m going to teach you how to shoot with DSLR. Please see other articles on my site for more in depth information. Turn the camera to video recording settings. Now hit the Q button so that you can customize your settings. Please note that this is a quick reference and not a detailed look at the specs of videography.  Now set your frames per second shooting speed to 24fps. Next you need to set your shutter speed to 1/50 of a second. Because the shutter speed needs to be double that of your frames per second. Your shooting 24fps so if you double that you will get 48fps so 50 is pretty close. Your f-stop can be set to whatever you need it to. The lower the stop number the more light is going to be let in and the more blurred out the background will be. This will achieve that cinema look. The higher the number the more clear everything in the frame is going to be. Your ISO should be set at 100 for really bright days or at 200 for a cloudy day. The higher the ISO the more light will enter the camera lens. If your outside shooting nature you need to put your white balance on outdoor and then choose either its sunny or cloudy setting. Really what your deciding is wether the video picture is going to look cool or warm. If you have a dial then you might be able to dial in the right color and get it more precise. Now shoot what you want in whatever manner you want, just make sure it is slow, in focus, and with nice panes and tilts. Shoot the same subject multiple times for editing options. For a good slider bar, tripod or other equipment that will help you make smooth movements consider cowboystudios.com  

For a more in-depth article on cinematography look no further than my own site. http://understandingchurchmedia.com/do-better-cinematography/.

Please also look at my Hub Pages on shooting with your iDevice such as iPhone or iPad air, as well as other Production Hubs.  Watch this great video on shooting with DSLR.


Once you have your footage edited together and you have color corrected the footage then you are ready to make the video loop. If your using Microsoft Movie Maker you can’t make a loop unless you simply just add the footage in multiple times back to back and then export the video. If you don’t need a loop then Movie Maker will work just fine for your movie background. If your using a Mac computer then iMovie will be your default moviemaking program. I really like iMovie I find it to be a very good and well equipped program. If you need to make a loop for your background video then you need to follow the steps found on howtodothigs.com. The steps are listed below for your convenience.

• Open and compress the movie. Open the iMovie video that you want to play on loop in your computer. Open the ‘Share’ option in iMovie and select ‘Quicktime’. The next step is to compress your movie file. Choose the compression option that you want for your movie and click on ‘Share’. Provide a title for your movie and save the file. Do not forget the location where you save the new video file. Wait for the file to finish copying.

• Launch the new copy of the movie. When the compression is complete, open the Quicktime file that you just created. It will now be played with Quicktime. Go to the ‘View’ menu and a drop down menu will appear. Choose the option ‘Loop’ among the choices on the drop down menu. After clicking the option, you can already play the movie using Quicktime. The movie will start automatically after it ends.

Of coarse the other option is to create a video by using video graphics. If you are efficient in Adobe After Effects or another animation program you should be able to make a really great abstract video and then follow the same process described above for your mac to make a video loop.   Finally making good loop may be as simple as using the loop video option on your blue-ray or DVD player. Many players have such options. Just check the menu options on your device to see what you need to do.

For further reading on practical cinematography check out my Hub post on: http://seanfliehman.hubpages.com/hub/Do-Quality-Production-With-Your-iPad-or-iPhone.  http://seanfliehman.hubpages.com/hub/How-and-Why-to-Make-Your-Own-Motion-Backgrounds