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Tag Archives: recording

Custom Built Video Cast Setup

Cameras such as the handheld DJI OSMO Pocket allow amazing portability and high resolutions upto 4K for creating videos including vlogs with incredible ease. Professional effects including hardware image stabilisation are all part of the package.

In this article, I would like to share with you, how I took a DJI OSMO Pocket and applied a whole set of extensions around it to create a home video cast rig for monologue recording. The setup consists of plenty of units including dimmable LED lights, articulating arms, a shotgun microphone and even a ring light.

Main Camera – This is the DJI OSMO Pocket . It is mounted using a ULANZI OP-1 Osmo pocket metal mobile phone holder mount set fixed stand bracket that’s available on amazon. This bracket fits well into the cold shoe mount of a V shaped mount bracket that attaches to an upright microphone stand, such as the Bespeco SH2RN via a CAMVATE 1/4″-20 Male to 5/8″-27 Female Microphone Stand Mount for Camera Stud. In the images above, you can also see the iPhone XS that doubles as a monitor while recording.

Microphone – For a close recording setup, where the subject is very close to the camera, a shotgun microphone such as the Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone (in the picture above), could be a great addition to keep away the sounds from the surrounding and capture more clearly what the subject is speaking. While testing, I found the MKE 400 really does it job. Of course, it needs to be connected to the DJI OSMO Pocket via a not so cheap OSMO Pocket 3.5mm adapter that’s available from DJI.

Lighting – Simply put, the most important component for any high resolution camera recording. I used two types of lighting for the set.
(a) Panel video LED lights – for top angle, bottom and side accents lighting of the subject’s face.
(b) Ring light – for frontal lighting and ring light effect.

For the panel video LED lights, I used 4 battery operated Ulanzi Ultra Bright LED Video Light – LED 49 Dimmable High Power Panel Video Lights. These lights have a dial to control the amount of brightness, and I noticed as well they are pretty energy efficient.

The ring light used is a Childplaymate Dimmable LED Studio Camera Ring Light. This offers 3 light modes. Cool White, Warm White and hybrid. I powered it with a power bank. Pictured above, a Belkin F7U020btBLK 10000mAH Power Bank powerbank was used.

Apart from the main setup, I used 11 inch and 7 inch articulating arms to position the lighting and microphone just right – with maximum adjustment ability. Any good articulating arm can be used. To add even more flexibility, I used a few pole clamps and some extensions from ULANZI, namely the ULANZI PT-7 Cold Shoe Bracket Vlogging Microphone Extension Plate and the Ulanzi PT-2 Aluminum Alloy Universal Cold Shoe Extension Bracket. The SHOPEE Adjustable Angle Pole Swivel Hot Shoe Mount has been also used along with the LED video lights to have better control on the up-down angle of these lights.

In case you are wondering, the tray at the middle on which the powerbank is resting, is a Mic stand accessory tray with drink holder from Gator frameworks, which is really handy.

The entire setup can be lifted and moved around with one hand. Along with a blue screen background and a stool for sitting – the setup can transform any space into a video broadcast studio for making video casts. The videos can then be imported into a producing tool, such as Final Cut ProX.

I created this setup for my projects, and thought I’d share the setup for anyone who’d be interested. It is really simple to setup and makes recordings with the DJI OSMO Pocket even more cool with enhanced lighting and external microphone. Check out some of my upcoming video casts using this setup.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2019 in Vlogs

 

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Sheet Music Practice Setup

This weekend, I completed a mini-project that I planned for a while now. I wanted a setup where I could practice my guitar following sheet music and tabs while also recording and playing back what I played!

Here is what I strung together to make it all happen:

Picture of actual setup and key components used
  1. For practicing and recording vocals, I used iRig Mic HD, a high quality condenser microphone that plugs directly in to an iPad.
  2. Musicnotes.com iPad app that can play downloaded sheet music. I needed some lead time, before I could follow the guitar tabs. This was to allow sufficient time to start the playback. The in-built screen recording feature of iOS 12 is what I used. First ‘play’ in music notes while recording. Then replay the recording…easy!
  3. Behringer Xenyx 802 analog mixer is a low cost device with pro mic pres. It is a compact 8 channel mixer. I plug my monitor headphones here. In the illustration above, you would notice that I use both an iPad mini and iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is where I play the sheet music. The playback audio is routed to the mixer’s channels 3 & 4 for stereo using a Hosa CMP-159 3.5 mm TRS to Dual 1/4″ TS Stereo Breakout Cable from the iPad Pro. On the iPad mini, I run AmpliTube Acoustic app. I use a 3.5mm to 2-Male RCA Adapter cable to connect the iPad mini to the mixer’s 2-Track inputs.
  4. The Donner bluetooth page turner comes in handy when practicing parts of the scoresheet and you want to move between pages or scroll up-down inside the music notes app.
  5. Any microphone stand could be used in this type of setup. I want to call out the microphones stands from Bespeco. I found the Bespeco MS11 to be a stable and well crafted mic stand, and hence it is part of my gear.
  6. I use a Sennheiser HD-201 for monitoring both what I play on the acoustic guitar and the playback coming from the iPad Pro simultaneously through the mixer.
  7. I use a Coolnut 20000mAh power bank for long practice sessions. I wire both ipads to it to keep them charging during the breaks.
  8. Finally, the magic device that gets the audio in to AmpliTube Acoustic and that is iRig Acoustic – a MEMS microphone that can be placed at the base of the guitar’s soundhole.

The AmpliTube Acoustic iOS app is the central application for recording and playing back tracks. I use one track for recording vocals, and three others for rhythm, leads and bass riffs. This setup let’s me match the professional tempo and timing of the playbook through the Musicnotes.com iPad app.

For vocals, an external music player such as the Sony NWE395/B 16GB Walkman MP3 Player or any other could be used. Connect this to the mixer’s two-track input using a 3.5mm to 2-Male RCA Adapter cable – Then sing along. What’s captured is only your voice.

The setup above is meant to help with my practice sessions, be it sight reading and playing the guitar leads of music scoresheets or singing along vocal tracks. This would help me get better at my playing and vocal style through learning from the performance of professionals.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2019 in Music Production

 

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