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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 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.