How to pick the perfect video microphone

July 6, 2014 Sound and Audio

Having a professional sound in your projects can really turn up the production value of your films. Whether you’re trying to capture sounds on set or you’re trying to record a voice over, having the right tools for the job can be the difference between good sounds and bad sound.

Types of microphones:

Before you can go out and buy a microphone it’s important to know which microphone you need to buy, different microphones serve different purposes. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that even the most expensive microphone can’t fix poor training; understanding the basics and foundations of recording sound is the most important tool in your kit.

Dynamic – These are mostly used for voice-over and anything that involves voices in a contained and controlled environment. They can also serve as a pretty good general purpose microphone if you’re on a budget. No power supply is needed for these to function and they are generally quite inexpensive.

Lavalier Mic – Also know as a lapel mics. These mics are great because they’re so small, they are great if you’re trying to conceal your sound equipment. Most commonly used on talk shows and in situations where getting a microphone close the subject is quite difficult.

Shotgun Mic – These are directional microphones that you commonly see on film sets. They are designed to pickup audio from a particular source and do a good job of limiting noise from other areas. They are quite expensive but record extremely good quality.

Hopefully this post has given you some more insight into the best types of microphones for your videos. There are many options available to you, however, no microphone can fix poor training. Make sure you know the principals of recording sound before you buy or get started.

How To Create a Great Video Demo Reel

August 6, 2015 Videography

First impressions are so important in this industry; they can be the difference between landing a job and losing one. When looking to hire a filmmaker, videographer or production company, many clients will look at a demo reel to help solidify their decision. Although each company may be looking for different things, there are many things you can do to keep their interest in your work. By keeping someone interested for long you increase the chances that they will see something they like and contact you.


Here are a few tips for creating an interesting Demo Reel.

Keep it simple. Your demo reel is a presentation of your best work, not all of your work. You want to take this opportunity to show only the work that you feel best represents your skills and also the type of jobs that you wish to attract. If you’re looking to work in san francisco, then your demo reel shouldn’t consist of music videos and your stop-motion animation projects. You should be showcasing footage that you’ve shot with clients in and around the Bay Area. You should be ruthless with what you show, if you have any doubts then cut it out.

Run time. No one wants to watch a 10 minute epic demo reel. You videos should be no longer than 2 minutes – most potential clients don’t have the time in their days to invest more than a few minutes looking at your work, especially while they’re sizing up your competitors as well.

Music. Although your demo reel is a representation of you and your work, it’s not for you. It’s important to remember this. Your demo reel is for other people and your choice of music should be something that will attract a particular client, not deter them. Again, you need to pick a piece of music that will attract the type of clients you wish to work with.

Title. Adding titles to your demo reel is a great way to tell your views who you’ve worked with and what you’ve done for them. For example, MarketME Video Production San Francisco has worked with a number of clients including Ikea, Sharp and many others; they are definitely going to show off this list of impressive clients to potential clients.

Start strong. Assume your views will never make it to the end of your demo reel. If you’ve packed you best stuff for the end no one is ever going to see it. Get the good stuff at the front, hook the view and “reel” them in – see what I did there?

Alternative Client Getting Methods?
Sometimes, especially in the corporate video world, showing clients your previous work isn’t as effective as having clients provide video testimonials for you. Compiling each of these video testimonials into a short and concise video is one of the best ways for future client to get a better understanding of what it would be like to work with you and you company.

Here is and example of a testimonial video:

In conclusion, having a well-planned demo reel can really make a huge difference in your client getting strategy. Remember to keep in mind who the video is for and if it is accomplishing your goals. If you find that this isn’t the case then go back through your demo reel and cut out pieces that do not align with these goals.

Four Simple Ways To Create Better Travel Films

December 8, 2013 Editing, Post Effects, Videography

Capturing your holiday or vacation on film is a fantastic way to keep those wonderful memories. For most people, the footage ends up sitting on the shelf for many years eventually getting forgotten about. However, those who have managed to find the time to edit their footage will find it can be a rewarding trip down memory lane. To inspire a few more people to dust off that old footage, here are a few ways to take your travel film, both past and future, to a professional level.

Here are four simple tips for creating better travel films


travel light leaks

Having a versatile lens for your camera can really make the difference in your films. A versatile lens will allow you to take wide landscape shots as well as close profile shots of people. Mixing these together in your edit will allow you to edit your film easier and faster. Not to mention the variety of shots will make it look like you had multiple cameramen with you on your trip.


A good soundtrack will keep people attention for longer. This means having a few different songs. Try a slow beginning, mixed with a medium paced middle section and a faster song at the end. Try find a song that doesn’t have too many distracting lyrics but one that still sums up the feelings you had on your trip. Maybe a song you heard in the country you were visiting. Remember, if you’re going to be putting your film online, you need to make sure you have permission to use licensed music.

Light Leaks

One way to getting help with the flow if your editing is to use light leaks, film burns and lens effects over your footage. These effects can breath life into your footage by adding color, glows and other vibrant effects to the footage. It’s quite simple to add these light leak effects to your films. In most editing programs its as simple as changing the blending mode on your footage.

Colour Grading

Give your film a “look”, is what can really set your film apart. Do you want your film to be cold, warm or maybe even black and white. The overall look of your film will really dictate how the audience perceives your adventures. Don’t feel limited to one look, change the color of your film as you go to get different emotions across.

Here is a unique travel film that really shows what you can do with lenses, color, music and light leaks:

This is Part Two to ‘Dreaming Italy’

I’m a shy, awkward guy. I was dropped in the middle of the wintry Italian alps of Friuli Venezia Giulia, left to wander and experience whatever lay ahead. I met stranger after stranger who greeted me with a glass of wine and open arms; smiles as big as the mountains we conquered. They took me on a journey I will never forget. The interest they had in making sure I got out of my shell and had the experience of my life is so unheard of. In such a short period of time these strangers became family, untangling my shy soul and packed in the audacious and inspiring life I have always been journeying toward. What a happy and beautiful people.

Directed, shot, and edited by MATTY BROWN
Music by TORLEY

New Features Coming to Flickr!

October 12, 2013 Photography

Yahoo has launched a campaign to update it’s line of central products. One of these central products is Flickr. The online photo-sharing community that has become one of the biggest on the internet. With the release of apple’s new IOS 7, flickr has also released an update to it’s popular app.

One of the new features that has been released is the auto-upload function. If enabled, this feature automatically uploads the latest photos in one’s camera roll to their flickr account. Your photos will be waiting for your in your flickr account which can be accessed either through the app of online at If you are too busy to organize the images, this features automatically saves photos to Flickr. They can be stored until you’re ready to edit or share them with your friends.

Along with the auto-upload feature, Flickr has also release an auto-straightening tool. A simply press of  a button will turn a flawed picture into a work of auto. You can now take photos without worrying about a slight nudge or bump ruining your moment. Of course the app comes with all the regular features you’d expect from an iphone app.

Features include: live-filters; editing tools like Enhance, Auto Straighten, Exposure, White Balance, Levels. Instant sharing to your friends on facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Tumblr. Endless uploads at full resolution. Also, an important option, the ability to turn your photos public and private.



Is Shutterguides the new social community for photographers?

October 2, 2013 Photography

With the growing pace of social media it’s easy to see why photographers are using these outlets as a form of promotion, expression and a venue to showcase their latest works. The release of shutterguides has given photographers one more way to showcase their work by geo-tagging their photographs. This is a feature that was first introduced on popular sites such as flickr and panorama. Photographers are a interesting bunch, we tend to stay away from sites that gain too much popularity. Maybe it’s harder to stick out or a site’s credibility goes down when someone post’s their vacation photos. Either way, photographers are not afraid of add their content to a new community.

This fully responsive site allows you to share great photography spots with other like-minded photographers. Once you create an account, you simply upload a photo and add the location where the photo was taken. Most newer cameras will already have this information stored in it’s meta data. Your uploaded photos are organized by locations you’ve visited, ie. cities, towns, districts, etc. You photo is also added to a map of other photos taken from a particular locations.

The explore function takes a familiar google map layout and adds pins of photos taken in and around locations. A simple scan of San Francisco results in a plenty opportunities to take cool photos. One you select a location that interests you you can get updated weather reports and sunset and sunrise times, this allows you to time that perfect long-exposure shot perfect. Other information includes photo details such as shutter speed, exporsure, iso, focal length and the camera used.

If you’re travelling to a new city and you need a little inspiration definitely check out the city on the shutterguide map. Currently, some of our favorite locations to explore are Seattle, Yosemite and Washington DC. More photos are being uploaded everyday, it’s worth a look.

Signing up for a shutterguides account is free and only takes a few minutes. Check out

Creating your own light leaks and lens flares

September 8, 2013 Editing, Post Effects, Videography

Adding light leaks and lens flares to your projects is an easy way to add style and character to your films and photographs. Although this can be done in camera, while filming using a technique called “lens-wacking”, many filmmakers and videographers tend to add these effects in post.

 light leak example

“Lens-wacking” is a process that involves detaching a lens from the body of your camera but holding it ever so slightly away so that you allow small amounts of light onto the sensor. The result is portions of your frame being “blown out” giving you a light leak. This technique uses natural light and the conditions you are filming in to create a spontaneous effect.

Adding light leaks in post is one way to give yourself more control of your cinematography. You can create your own light leaks quite easily. One way to do this is by taking your camera, flashlight and colored gels into a dark room. Point the lens into the camera to get edge burns, glows and lens flares. It’s important to note that you should set your focus to infinity so all the effects are blurry and thus integrates into your footage better. In order to get different shapes you can try putting a plastic sandwich bag over the lens, the light will refract and change directions causing interesting effects.

Another technique is to use a variety of different glasses in front of the lens. Everything from flat to rounded glasses will create unique looking shapes. Remember to get creative and add different colors into the mix.

Once you are happy with all the light leaks, important them into your favourite editing program. You’re going to have to overlay the effects on top of your existing footage. The best way to do this is to use blending modes. This is why we shot all the light leaks on black. The blending mode will replace the black footage with your footage and then integrate your light leak nicely. To see some instant results, shoot a few light leaks and then add them to a photograph or to some footage.

Final Cut X Pros and Cons

August 6, 2013 Editing, Post Effects

After the initial release of final cut x, the consensus throughout the post industry was one of confusion. How could a company who had a hold on a majority of the market make such a drastic change to their software. One that went against many of the wishes of their customers. Well, the dust has finally settled and reviews are starting to pile in.



Modern looking interface – one that is consistent with newer programs that are on the market such as the adobe suite.

Background transcoding. Footage can be converted to either a high quality intermediate format or a low resolution proxy format during import or during editing.

Search functionality. The ability to search and create smart searchers

RED Camera Support. Import RED media directly into Final Cut Pro X and start editing right away with native support for .r3d files.

Multicam. The ability to edit multicam shows faster than before and with a range of new features.

Light Leaks. You can still easily add your light leaks by simply changing the blending mode.

Plugins. There have been an explosion of plugins available, allowing you to completely customize your workflow.


Requires 3rd party tools to function properly in a professional environment. Things like OMF/AAF export, managing FCPX events, which really should have been built into a professional application.

Cannot zoom properly into event browser.

Non adjustable/customizable windows and viewers.

Non industry standard. Many post studios are either sticking with FCP 7 or have now moved on to work on Premiere and Avid.