Multimedia Guide using Adobe Premiere Pro

Nikon D5 Video Settings

The very first thing we need to address is settings for your camera when shooting video. Your camera’s options for video can limit your choices. Also please keep in mind the higher the resolution and frame rate the more powerful computer you will need with even more free space for editing.

Resolution

Full HD – 1920×1080 is now a common setting on newer DSLRs 

High Definition (HD) – 1280×720, A very practical balance between broadcast quality and storage space / render time. ESPN broadcasts in this setting.

Other HiDef DSLR settings – 2K, 4K and 6K DSLR video  resolutions are available, but overkill for web distribution channels. Great to shoot in and then when you export a project downsize. 

Frame Rate

      • 60 FPS – use for slow motion effect 
      • 30 FPS – Standard video “look” 
      • 24 FPS – Cinematic “look” that is used in motion pictures 

While there are many other resolutions like 2K, 4K, 6K and even 8K I believe they are overkill for web distribution. Even my friend Ben Smallbone whose credits include the movies: Priceless, Taken, and Steve McQueen: American Icon to name a few of his movies told me that when it came to distributing their films to movie houses all over the country that they said not to give them anything bigger than 2K.

Now there are really two resolutions in video just as there are two resolutions with stills. You have the 1) capture setting and the 2) exported resolution.

While you can shoot say at 4k for the similar reasons you would shoot RAW your computer must be really top of the line to process the 4K files. Unless you want to crop in on your video in post-production I believe there is little to gain for the average project to shoot higher than the Blue Ray Full HD 1920×1080 resolution.

Frame Rate – I recommend 24 Frames per Second

Here is a good video showing why 24 fps is an industry standard for movies.

24 FPS is the Cinematic Look that is used in motion pictures. There are reasons to shoot other FPS and one worth mentioning is to shoot super high rate to then slow down for that “Slow Motion” affect.

Shutter Speed – I recommend 1/48 or 1/50

As a rule of thumb, you want the denominator of your shutter speed to be approximately double the number of frames per second that you are recording. For example, when shooting at 25fps, your shutter speed should be 1/50 of a second. If you have the 24fps and do not have a 1/48 then pick the closest frame rate like 1/50 or 1/60.

Manual Mode – Shoot this rather than Aperture, Shutter or Program mode

If anything on the camera is set to automatic your exposure can change when say something changes in the frame like your subject just moves a little. The camera may think the lighting has changed and it hasn’t. Shoot manual mode and manual focus as well.

Look – use Neutral

In video, just like stills, you can pick a picture color mode. There are modes on most cameras like: Standard, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Neutral. If your camera doesn’t have a Neutral setting then pick Standard.

When later we cover your post production you can do more with a Neutral setting than with say Vivid. More on that in later posts on making videos with your DSLR.

Nikon D5 Audio Level

AUDIO RECORDING SETTINGS

Watch this video if you own a Canon to set your audio levels

Watch this video if you own a Nikon. While this is Nikon D7100 you just need to find the menu item on your Nikon. Very similar.

You want to have your recording levels set manually and not automatic for the same reasons for the video. When someone stops talking the Auto level will increase the volume and introduce noise.

Most levels on cameras or a separate recording device like the Zoom Digital Audio Recorders have a way to show you it is too loud.

Most video editors agree that the overall audio level of your audio mix (all of your audio combined) should normalized between -10db to -20db. I personally level my videos around -12db with occasional peaks to -8db.

What this means for me on my Nikon D5 is I want the level to peak right up to the last line before it goes red. I have a person talk for a while and then set the sound recording level before actually recording.

I recommend doing a test video for sound. Set your video settings to get a good exposure and audio levels for good sound. Record 30 seconds to a minute and then download to your computer and play using Quicktime or other video software that came with your computer.

For testing sound play something on your computer like music you downloaded. After you set your speakers for proper volume when listening to your music then play your video. If you have to adjust the volume to hear the recording then you need to adjust your recording levels. The biggest problem is if it is too quiet or if too loud and giving you distortion.

Headphone Volume

Be very careful that you are not using the headphone volume as a way to see if the audio level is set correctly. Use the levels for audio the same way you use a histogram. Once you have those levels set then adjust your headphone volume to where you can hear properly.

Lukas & Nate interview Scott Brock, missionary to Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

PICKING A LOCATION TO DO AN INTERVIEW

When picking a location you need to pay attention to two things: 1) Sound in the location and 2) lighting/visual.

My recommendation is to just turn on your microphone and put your headphones on and just listen to the environment. Are you trying to do a interview next to a waterfall or water fountain? That will prove to be difficult to impossible.

Finding a totally silent location would be “ideal,” but not always possible.

Make finding the perfect location weigh sound quality over visual.

When doing an interview there are a few things you need to do every time.

FILL THE FRAME

When doing an interview you need to choose good composition and background carefully. Pay attention to everything inside the frame.

Get tight on the person you are interviewing.

KILL THE NOISE

Once you have put the microphone in place and have your headphones on you will be able to hear all the ambient sounds. This is where everyone is quiet for a moment while you just listen.

Lets say you hear the ceiling fan or the air conditioner running. I would turn these off for the interview.

If you cannot turn off something like a water fall or water fountain, then move to a quiet location.

Togo, West Africa

STEADY THE CAMERA

Use a tripod or put the camera on a table. Just keep your primary camera for the interview still. If you have a second camera to use then you can maybe do something like putting that camera on a slider or fluid head that will let you move the camera during the interview.

I believe you always need one camera that is locked and on a tripod for the interview.

Togo, West Africa

LIGHT THE SUBJECT

My suggestion is to find a great place with light so you don’t have to use lights. I find the open shade on the side of a building works as well as porches as you see in these two photos of interviews we were doing in Togo, West Africa.

AUDIO IS KING

There are times for different microphones just as there are times for different lenses. You need to know the difference between a lapel, on camera & shotgun microphone.

SHARPNESS IS QUEEN

Sharp focus is critical. I advise against shooting ƒ/1.4 for video unless this is your second camera perspective. Have a depth-of-field that is forgiving if the person moves during the interview.

Use manual focus and not Auto-Focus.

LOCK DOWN THE LENS

Don’t zoom in and out on your primary camera. You can do some of this with a second camera, but be sure at least one camera is locked down and you have a solid framed shot that is in focus and has enough depth-of-field that the person can move a little and still be in focus.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff
Georgia Tech vs Tennessee

Scoring a touchdown is about knowing where your goals are in the game.

Before the football team steps onto the field they will practice for many months together. When they execute a play they know what they are doing and trying to accomplish to win the game.

Alan Alda interviews Rob Michelson about the Aerial Robotics competition he oversees at Georgia Tech.

Before you turn the camera on and start your interview you need to practice. You need to interview your subject and from what you learn you then formulate your questions so that the responses help convince the audience what you want them to know just as a lawyer does to convince a jury what they want them to know about their client.

You do not want to sit down and just turn the camera on and ask the subject, “What is your story?” and expect them to give you a succinct well thought out presentation.

Getting to know your subject before you start recording. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 12800, ƒ/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 68]

GET TO KNOW YOUR SUBJECT

Even before you sit down and talk to the subject for the first time do all the research you can on the subject. Sometimes there have been other interviews done with the person that you can read or even watch.

Other than learning about the subject being the person, learn all you can about the subject of the story. If they are a coffee farmer then learn all you can about coffee.

The more you know the better questions you will ask. I like to say you are peeling an onion. Each question gets you closer to the core of the onion.

You are not just asking questions to find out everything about the subject. You are trying to find the thread that will keep someone interested in them as you reveal more and more about them to the audience.

The Bourne films are a series of action spy thriller movies based on the character Jason Bourne, a CIA assassin suffering from extreme memory loss who must figure out who he is.

To keep the audience’s attention and pull them into your story you may often hold out on the juicy part of the story towards the end as they did in the Jason Bourne movies.

YOUR GOAL

You know you are ready for the on-camera interview when you have your storyline figured out from your informal interviews.

Like a lawyer who calls witnesses and interviews them to reveal in their own words the content that will help build the storyline so that the jury has no choice but to make the right call. Like a lawyer you may need to put different people on the witness stand to help build your story.

Now it is quite common that even when you have done all your homework that in the camera interview subjects can surprise you with new content that improves or even can complicate the story.

Be flexible and be sure you are listening to what they are saying.

Ideally it would be great if someone can just tell you what you need and leave out all those trails that lead no where. I have found time and time again that towards the end I have asked them to summarize what we just talked about and they often in one take say exactly what I need.

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game September 3, 2016 at the Georgia Dome.

You see it can be just like the football game. The players have practiced so many times that often the coach just calls the play and you get the touchdown.

Stanley interviewing James Dockery, senior editor for ESPN. photo by: Jeff Raymond

TWO CAMERAS

When I do my interviews, I try to always use two cameras. There are many benefits like:

Backup of the interview if one camera fails
Different looks using slightly wide shot and a tight shot
Helps with editing

Let me talk a little about how much two cameras can help with editing. Almost all the time you need to edit someone’s comments. This means you cut something out and when you do it the person’s head will jump on the video and give us the telltale sign that you just cut something.

Now if you have two cameras you can switch camera angles and it doesn’t tip the audience that you cut something. It will just look like you went to a different angle.

Now if you have a slightly wider shot that includes the hands then when the person is quite talkative with their hands and not just their mouth it is good to include the hands.

Besides cutting out a long comment that really doesn’t add to the storyline there are times you need to rearrange their comments. Maybe the last thing they said would make the strongest lead for the story.

Again having that second camera lets you change angles and it will look like they started with this thought.

In the end you will help the subject sound more coherent and look like this was just a straight take and easier for the audience to absorb.

REASONS TO REDO THE INTERVIEW

The first time you do interview someone be sure and tell them you may need to come back the next day or two for a second interview.

Unless you are a seasoned pro most people will not catch everything happening in real time and will notice missing information during the post processing editing time.

If this happens I highly recommend having the subject redo the parts that you liked for several reasons.

  • They often have changed clothes
  • Matching the lighting and camera angles is difficult
  • Matching the sound can be difficult as well

You may want to even play the video parts you liked and have them rehearse a few times before you redo it. I have found that often the person realizes they can even say it better now that they have heard themselves.

I must tell you this funny story about a seasoned photographer learning to do video for the first time. He thought of locations he wanted to use as the background for the interview his subject.

We realized that while teaching we failed to tell people to do their interviews in one place. While in a still photo that would make since to show your subject in the different locations when it came time for editing the sound didn’t match, the lighting was so different and when you finished editing the content and put the takes in the logical order of how it best told the story the guy was jumping all over the city back and forth.

It was so funny. Just imagine the evening news where instead of going to Washington to listen to the correspondent there and then to West Coast correspondent to maybe an East Coast correspondent as well it was the same person. That was what it looked like.

If you do a good job with the interview and have a well thought out storyline being told by the subjects you should be pleased with the results that if this is all the audience saw and heard it would work.

One strategy for editing most any type of production is to do a “radio” edit. Focusing your cuts and the assembly of your timeline on the dialog [AUDIO] places the content of the story as the highest priority.

Once you have this done you will then work on getting visuals to supplement the audio. More on that in the next part of Shooting Video with your DSLR.

SOME MORE TECHNICAL TIPS

I recommend a magnifier for your LCD. You need to be sure your shot is in focus.

Another option is using a video monitor. The advantage of external monitor is not just bigger picture for focusing and exposure control, but with some monitors like this Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ HDMI On-Camera Monitor & Recorder is recording for longer periods of time than the time limits on most DSLR cameras. You are only limited to the size of the hard drive you use.

Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Key Features
– 325DPI, 5″ IPS 1280 x 720 capacitive touchscreen monitor/recorder.
– Waveform RGB & luma parade, vectorscope with zoom, and test pattern generator.
– Adjustable gamma, contrast and brightness.
– HDMI input and output.
– Real-time monitoring, playback, playout to a PC or Mac with QuickTime, and edit logging.
– Focus peaking, 0-100% zebra, and two modes of false color monitoring.
– Records 10-bit, 4:2:2 in ProRes or DNxHD.
– S-Log / C-Log recording.
– Trigger REC/STOP from camera (Canon, Sony, ARRI, Panasonic, RED, JVC)
– Timecode from camera. [Nikon has no timecode]
– 2.5″ HDD/SSD media storage.

It records up to 1080 30p/60i resolution via HDMI to an available HDD or SSD using either Apple’s ProRes or Avid’s DNxHD codecs. Recording at 10-bit with 4:2:2 color sampling, this unit provides you a monitoring and recording solution in one compact battery powered unit.

ADOBE PREMIERE PRO CC TIPS

Before opening Premiere create these folders inside one folder on your computer or external hard drive.

Open Premier and choose NEW PROJECT 

1. Name your project: PREMIERE_EDIT_rev_01 putting it in the folder you created called “Premiere Edits”. 

2. Scratch Disks tab – Using the 6 Browse… buttons, point each of the six sources to the Project Folders you created using screen shot on next slide


These are suggestions for what to put on each track. This is what Storytellers Abroad uses as our format so as to make it easier when a coach sits with a person working on the story we are all using similar setup. Helps cut down on confusion.

These are the export settings we use as well.

To add text to a project, click on the Type tool as you see in blue here to the left.

Then click on the picture in the Program Window on the video and start typing.

You can drag the type to where you want and if you want to make modifications to the type then go to the top menu bar to Windows>Essential Graphics.

This is how you gain access to change your Font, Size, Color and things like drop shadow and more.

Auto Ducking: How to set sound levels on dialogue, ambient sound & music


Select all the interview Audio only. Then go to the Essential Sound and click on Dialogue. This will tell the software that this is the Dialogue and not ambient sound or music. This will now be the most important sound in the video.

There are now four selections within the Essential Sound for the Audio Interview which the software is now calling Dialogue.

When you click on the word Loudness, Repair, Clarity or Creative it opens up more controls.

Click on Loudness and then click on Auto-Match. It will set all the volume for the interview to the standards.

Listen to the interview now. If you have problems with noise or air conditioner hum or something else then click on “Repair” and try each of the options here one at a time. Go with the default at first and then if that is good for repair just stop. If not use the slider to see if less or more can help. If either works then you can stop again. If not just unclick that option and try the next.

Often you have to play with all of these in some combination to clean up the sound. There are ways to do more than this, but this usually fixes most common issues.

Now pick the music or ambient sound and click on either music or ambient sound. When you do you can then select “Ducking”.

When you click on it be sure you have the Dialogue icon highlighted. This will say to the software this is the most important sound, which is your interview.

Click on Generate Keyframes.

Then play the sequence. How does that sound. Does the music or ambient sound not overpower the interview? Is it OK or too loud or soft?

Play with the Sensitivity, Reduce By & Fades to tweak this to your preference. Then click on Generate Keyframes. Do this over and over until satisfied.

Some great tips I have found through the years.

Keyboard Short Cuts

Keyboard Shortcuts Used: (Cmd for all Ctrl on Mac)

Arrow Keys – Navigate Timeline One Frame at a Time
Shift + Arrow Keys – Navigate Timeline 5 Frames at a Time
Up, Down Arrow – Jump to beginning and end of clip
Ctrl+K – Cut at current playhead
D – Select clip at current playhead
Del – Delete Selected Clip
Shift + Del – Delete Selected Clip, and Bring Forward Clips back
I,O – Set in and Out Points Respectively
; – Delete Selection With In and Out Points
‘ – Delete Selection With In and Out Points, and Bring forward Clips Back
Shift + T – Go in to Edit “Edit Point” Mode
Edit Mode + Ctrl + Arrow Key – Move the edit point backwards or forwards
Ctrl + R – Speed and Duration on Selected Clip
G – Audio Gain on Selected Clip
J,K,L – Shuttle through timeline Backwards, Stop, and Forwards Respectively

Be sure the Sequence has blue line around the box. The go to File>Export>Media

The above picture will show up but with Black Background. Copy these fields:

  • Format: H.264
  • Preset: Vimeo 1080p Full HD

Double Click on Output name. Put in the Export Out folder you created with Your Name.

Click on Export at the bottom.

How to Create Captions and Subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro CC (2018)

  1. Create a new caption by going up to file->new->caption.
  2. Choose whether you want closed captions, CEA-608/CEA-708/Teletext or open captions.
  3. Click on the captions in the program monitor and drag it over to the sequence.
  4. Drag caption over to sequence
  5. To edit, open up a captions panel. If it’s not open, go up to Window->Captions.
  6. Click on the Captions in the sequence. Go to where it says “type caption text here” and enter in the text.
  7. Type in some text from the audio of the video.
  8. You can adjust the font up next to Font.
  9. You can increase the size from the Size number.
  10. To remove the background we will go up to the opacity droplet and reduce the droplet to 0. Make sure the background is selected in the three options to the left.
  11. To add an edge, you will need to first go up to the top right and increase the Edge up.
  12. You can then come back and click on the edge switch, and go to the color square to increase it.
  13. You can align the caption with the X and Y markers above the text.
  14. Now we can align the caption with the audio. To do this go to the timeline where the caption is placed. There will be a black bar with the text near the bottom of this layer. Drag the end to where the audio for that caption ends.
  15. When your next audio starts, click the plus button and type in your next set caption, drag the caption line to where the audio stops.
  16. Repeat by clicking the plus sign and adding additional captions to your audio.

There you have it. That is how you create captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro. Now all you have to do is render out your footage and you will be ready to go!

Storytellers Lukas Benson and Nate McClain: Homecoming

Storytellers Lukas Benson and Nate McClain were a team from Cedarville University. During their spring break they went to Trinidad to learn how to tell a multimedia story of missions.

Nate McClain & Lukas Benson are capturing b-roll of Lennox Boodram as he is counseling two of the guys in his program at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 4000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 32]

They did their story on the founder of Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre Lennox Boodram.

Lukas Benson talks with Lennox Broodram & Scott Brock in the kitchen. Lukas is doing a story on Lennox. The one thing Lennox uses to draw addicts into his program is good food that he cooks at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 5600, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 48]

We learned about how important food is to Lenox. It was the one thing that helped get him the help he needed at a terrible time in his life. He would work as a dish washer in a five-star restaurant in the United States. This is where he learned what he could from the chefs.

Lennox Broodram shows how he always has some food ready to cook up a delicious meal if someone is in need at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 51200, f/10, 1/200, Focal Length = 28]

Listen to the story that they captured of Lennox.

We have openings in our up coming trip in the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop. Click on the link to learn more.

Mixing the Pigeon Peas with curried chicken at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 51200, f/14, 1/80, Focal Length = 90]

If you want to take your group on a workshop like Cedarville University did with Storytellers Abroad write to me and let’s plan a workshop.

Storytellers Lane Yoder and Nathan Hiser: Hopeless Evangelist

Lane Yoder and Nathan Hiser took their first Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Trinidad with other Cedarville University students during their Spring Break.

Storytellers Lane Yoder and Nathan Hiser tell Ashmir Mohammad amazing story of transformation. Ashmir grew up in a Muslim family in St. Augustine, Trinidad, where he continues to live with his wife and kids.

Jeff Raymond listens to the story about Ashmir with the Storytellers Nathan Hiser and Lane Yoder during one of their many editing sessions. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 16000, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 62]

Listen and watch the story of Ashmir Mohammad that Nathan and Lane captured.

Come with us on our next workshop. Check out Storytellers Abroad website to learn more about our workshops.

Storyteller Hannah Dunlap: Simple Service

Hannah Dunlap took her second workshop in Trinidad with Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop. Her first trip was to the Balkans two years ago.

Reeanna – Works and ministers at the drug and family rehab established by Lennox. Is a Christ follower and has a tremendous testimony as to how God brought her minister at the rehab center. Ñ at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. Reeanna – Teaches student how to make Roti. Roti is a round flatbread native to the Indian subcontinent made from stoneground wholemeal flour, traditionally known as atta, and water that is combined into a dough. Roti is consumed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Maldives, Malaysia and Bangladesh. [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 14400, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

Hannah captured Reeanna’s story and it is best to just see her video here.

Jeff Raymond is walking the class through the resources created in a report size notebook for them at Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries. [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 8000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 28]

Come and join us on our next workshop. Go to the website to learn more. Http://StorytellersAbroad.com

Storytellers Carrie Bergen and Sara Slater: Creative Servant

Lauralie Brock, missionary to Trinidad, talks with Carrie Bergen and Sara Slater who are a storytelling team while we are at our base camp Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 100, f/4, 1/320, Focal Length = 35]

Carrie Bergan & Sarah Slater worked as a team of storytellers during our Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop to Trinidad.

Watch the story they captured about Felisha.

Carrie Bergen works on editing the video about Felisha at our base camp Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 40000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 105]

Nikon Z6 & Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4 or Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 perfect for travel

I love my prime lenses. When I started at my very first newspaper job with the Hickory Daily Record in 1984 that is what I carried.

My parents were so generous and helped to equip me with that first camera kit I used every day.

2 – Nikon FM2
24mm ƒ/2.8
35mm ƒ/1.4
85mm ƒ/1.8
180mm ƒ/2.8
300mm ƒ/4
80-200mm ƒ/4

Lennox Boodram – ministry partner that was saved out of drug and alcohol addiction, runs a Christian drug and family rehab center (Turning Point)that has been operating for the past 5 years. He is talking with some of the students from Cedarville University taking the workshop this week in Trinidad. [NIKON Z 6, Sigma24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 11400, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 105]

However, when you travel internationally the amount of weight you can carry is often limited by airlines. So I have been working around this using zoom lenses which means I can carry less lenses but cover more focal length range.

I wrote recently about how the Nikon 28-300mm paired with the Nikon D5 works when traveling and covering sports. On my most recent trip to Trinidad I knew we were going to have a chance to photograph the Scarlet Ibis at the Caroni Swamp. I didn’t want to carry my Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 and 2x converter due to the weight, so I chose to bring the Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 to use on my new mirrorless Nikon Z6.

The Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber), locally known as “flamingo,” makes its home in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary in the Caroni Swamp–an area set aside by the government for the protection of these colourful birds. The Caroni Swamp includes fifteen thousand acres of marshland, tidal lagoons, and mangrove trees. Several thousand Scarlet Ibises nest and roost in the sanctuary and are often seen in large numbers during the last two hours of daylight. Larger numbers of Scarlet Ibises can be seen during the breeding season, from April to August. These birds feed mainly on crabs which they seek out on the mud flats exposed at low tide and on the stilt roots of the red mangrove. [NIKON Z 6, Nikon 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6, ISO 7200, f/5.6, 1/2000, Focal Length = 300]

Now if I were going to Trinidad to photograph the birds for a job where the client needed great photos I would have brought the Sigma 300-800mm F5.6 EX DG APO HSM.

Monday in Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 24]

Most of the time I am finding that the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 lens is just perfect for most of my shooting needs. I love shooting wide at 24mm. Here I captured the students during one of our class times with Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Workshop.

Miki Veness is one of the students from Cedarville University who came to Trinidad for the workshop. [NIKON Z 6, Sigma 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 36000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 105]

At the same time I like to zoom in to 105mm and get some photos as well. I just find that I like having a lens that lets me capture things near me like in a room setting and the Sigma 24-105mm is just perfect.

Mixing the Pigeon Peas with curried chicken at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 51200, f/14, 1/80, Focal Length = 90]

I love to photograph the food that I get to eat when I travel. Here I am showing the special food that Lennox was making for us to enjoy.

Lennox Boodram – ministry partner that was saved out of drug and alcohol addiction, runs a Christian drug and family rehab center (Turning Point)that has been operating for the past 5 years at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 51200, f/14, 1/125, Focal Length = 82]

Combine those lenses with the Nikon Z6 and you have a small kit to cover most any of your travels. The only thing I would add to the kit is a super-wide angle lens if I knew I was going to be inside and needed to capture something I could not back up and get.

Lukas & Nate interview Scott Brock, missionary to Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

Now when I am teaching these workshops my focus is not on me shooting, but rather I am there to equip the students with the skills they need to capture a story.

Nate McClain & Lukas Benson are capturing b-roll of Lennox Boodram as he is counseling two of the guys in his program at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 4500, f/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 32]

I am shooting mainly to capture the experience of those going through the workshop. I love to blog about it and give insights to things I am observing and learning each time.

Just in case you want to see how well it shot video these are some quick files I shot with the Nikon Z6 & Sigma 24-105mm f/4 that were handheld using just the camera’s microphone.

Here are some more photos taken with the Nikon Z6 & Sigma 24-105mm f/4 Art Lens.

Masjid-ul-Muttaqeen in Trindad Ñ at Masjid Ul Mutaqeen. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 100, f/10, 1/1000, Focal Length = 82]
Hindu temple at Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashram, Tirumala. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 3600, f/10, 1/250, Focal Length = 24]
We visited the Hindu temple at Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Ashram, Tirumala. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 400, f/13, 1/250, Focal Length = 24]
Hindus started immersing idols after their land (present Indian subcontinent) was invaded by Muslim rulers. During that period Hindus were not allowed to make permanent temples (Hindu place of worship, where the idols are placed),because Muslims believe that the worship of polytheistic gods by use of idols (or images) is wrong and they who do this should be killed or converted to Islam. As a result , during important Hindu festivals like Dusehra, Deepawali, Saraswati Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi etc (most Hindu festivals range between approx One day to Ten days) temporary temples were made with wood and clay and clay idols were placed in those temples which after the festival ended were immersed. Ñ at Temple in The Sea Waterloo. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 1250, f/14, 1/250, Focal Length = 28]
Cremation is an extremely important ritual for Hindus. Generally it is stated that by immersing the ashes of dead person it releases an individualÕs spiritual essence from its transitory physical body so it can be reborn. If it is not done or not done properly, it is thought; the soul will be disturbed and not find its way to its proper place in the afterlife and come back and haunt living relatives. The second reason given is by immersing the ashes of the dead, the soul gets salvation or Moksha, as all his sins are received by the holy river, & he given moksha. Ñ at Temple in The Sea Waterloo. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 100, f/4, 1/1000, Focal Length = 24]

Cutting wasted time with video interviews

What was thing big Ah – Ha! moment with students during the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Trinidad? How important it was to spend more time on the pre-interview.

Naz Mohammad [Blue Shirt] – Pastor of church plant in St Augustine, born and raised in St Augustine. He is talking with some of the students who will be doing a story on him this week. Ñ at St Helena Shiv Mandir. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 12800, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 28]

We build into the workshop time for the students to get to know their subject. This is the pre-interview. Even doing this most everyone would start their “formal interview” with the camera rolling too soon.

Lukas & Nate interview Scott Brock, missionary to Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

They learned that if they didn’t know what the story was before they started they didn’t know how to take control. They would let the subject just talk and talk and talk. This meant they had 60+ minutes of an interview to edit and everyone of those interviews had to be redone.

Jeff Raymond helps Rachel Ingram and Miki Veness on their video project Ñ at Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 12800, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 48]

When we teach how to interview, we teach what are the key points you are looking for to help tell an effective story.

While this storyline/narrative has been known for a long time in storytelling we still often struggle to get those key elements.

Subject
Conflict
Resource/Help
Action they took
Call to Action

Lennox Boodram – ministry partner that was saved out of drug and alcohol addiction, runs a Christian drug and family rehab center (Turning Point)that has been operating for the past 5 years. Great testimony. Ñ at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 4500, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 38]

Now the one thing we add to all of our stories that you don’t see in a movie theater is a call to action. Now that you have seen this story we want the audience to know how to get involved.

If the storyteller has taken time to get the story before they roll the camera those interviews are usually more of a 15 – 20 minute interview. The only reason it isn’t the short 3 – 5 minute finished project is they often have the subject do a few takes. They want to get the best emotional match to the content.

What all the students were talking about was how next time they will spend more time getting the story during the pre-interview so that the editing process will be much simplier.

Student’s Butterfly Lighting Examples

I love teaching at the School of Photography run by my good friend Dennis Fahringer. I think it is the best schools of photography I have come across. Here is a link to learn more about the school.

This is my favorite light for headshots. We didn’t have my Tri-Flector that I love to use, so we used a softbox lower under the person’s chin.


This was the lighting setup. Main light 45º above the camera and the fill light below at 45º. The key here is to keep the camera lights and subject in the same positions. You can have them face a little left or right, but keep head straight forward to get that butterfly that is formed under the nose due to the main light.

Photos by Jedidiah Pearson

By staying with a lighting setup and just having the person move a little right and left with mixing your expressions and body language you can get a lot of nice photos.

Photos by John Davidson

For this assignment I didn’t have the photographers light the background. I did suggest the hair light up and directly behind the subject. Putting the stand behind the background let you hide it.

Photos by Sarah Klinke

If a person was bald I suggested to not use the hair light. if they had light hair maybe no more than one stop brighter than the main light. If dark hair you can often go as much as two stops brighter than the main light.

Photos by Valentine Huss

Now if you look close at the eyes you can see the main light and fill light.

This is even closer for you to see the eyes.

This is a tip for deciphering photos. Look in the eyes and you can usually see where the lights are place and the shape of the modifiers.

Here is my personal setup that I use most of the time for headshots of actors and models.

This is the second modification where I light the background.

This last setup is where I have enough space. The lights behind the background I turn on for white background and turn off for a grey background.

KISS Rule

Keep It Simple Stupid – is what I have been taught through the years. Don’t over think things.

Hope this inspires you to use lights with your photos.

Student’s 3:1 Lighting Ratio Headshots

I love teaching at the School of Photography run by my good friend Dennis Fahringer. I think it is the best school of photography I have come across. Here is a link to learn more about the school.


I love to teach lighting. One of the setups I love to teach is one I learned first from my Uncle Knolan Benfield.

He is the one that taught me what a 3:1 Light Ratio setup looks like and why should know how to shoot it.

Photos by Jedidiah Pearson

These are some of the shots that the students produced last week during my time teaching at the School of Photography in Kona, Hawaii.

Photos by Sarah Klinke

You see the problem with too contrasty of lighting is when it is reproduced in something like a newspaper the shadows go black. The 3:1 ratio produces a good shadow on newspaper print and yet still has some modeling on the face.

Here is a blog post that goes step by step on how to shoot it.

Photo by Wyatt Reed Alderman

I wanted you to see how students who have never done lighting before my time with them were able to not just master it, but get great expressions as well of their subjects.

Photos by Tess Williams

What they learned is once you have a good solid lighting setup it can free you to then work on expressions and posing.

Photos by John Davidson

The also were challenged to write a little story on their subjects. John Davidson wrote this about his subject.

Stan was a farmer who raised potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, and grew marijuana. Unfortunately he also smoked the marijuana and used many harder drugs. His life was a mess and he almost killed himself. He went to a Drug & Treatment Center and got clean. He retired after working 27 years at Idaho National Laboratory as a nuclear reactor Operator/Instructor.

The idea is that when you share a photo having a story with the photo makes it so much more interesting and people come back to look for more.

Photos by Gabe Hein

What do you think of these students photos they made of people?