Editing with Green Screen Using iMovie

If you are a Mac user then iMovie is a great and free editing program. It even allows you to do green screen which used to be notoriously fiddly, in fact it still can be.

So you know that filming with a green screen background means you can superimpose your subject, which could be you, on to any background. This is great as you can have the background of your choosing which can look more professional and also can help with your presentation. If you want you can have a background about what is being talked about and just like weather forecasters refer to what you have in the background.

What you need is a green background, you can use blue but green is more popular. The background can be something like a green sheet or a pop up one like I use in the video, these are more expensive but if you need to be portable or want to quickly set it up or put it away then this might be more useful. The pop up one also stretches the fabric leaving no creases. Editing with green screen is easier if it is flat. Even lighting also helps. It can look even to the eye until you look through the camera.

In this video I am too close to it, this is deliberate as I wanted to cast a shadow on the green screen as it is best not to have any shadows, however, iMovie handled it really well. The easiest way to get rid of shadows is to move away from the background.

Posted in chromakey, Filming from home, filmmaking, Green screen, iMovie, Special effects, video, Video editing, Video production | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using the Windows Camera App to Record Video

You’be probably used your smartphone to record yourself but you can also use your Windows PC. Let’s face it many of us are having to record ourselves.

The advantage of using the camera in your computer is you probably already have it propped up whereas a smartphone might need a holder or propping up on a pile of books. The disadvantage is the cameras are not always as good as a smartphone camera but nevertheless can do the job. If you are using a laptop the built-in camera might be at a bit of a low angle so it is not the most flattering angle looking up your nose. You could always raise it up, just make sure you put it on something stable and not on something where it can slide off.

This built-in app is easy to use and in the video below I show you how to use it.

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The Trick to Getting a Good Result When Using a Teleprompter

How many of you have had to come to grips with filming from home over the past year? It seems it has been many. Once you come to grips with that you’ve then realised it would be nice to have some notes or maybe a teleprompter, just like news readers have. Wouldn’t that be great not having to memorise the lines.

Here are some tips that I think will help you out.

  1. Remember you can edit so why not just remember small bits at a time. This can really take the pressure off.
  2. If you know your stuff, and I think you do, don’t try and script it out, just have some bullet points, you know what to say. This must be what many do when using PowerPoint or Keynote to do a presentation. I know for me the slides are a good prompt when I’m teaching or doing a presentation.
  3. If you want some notes or a teleprompter then you will want them as close possible to the lens as possible. If you are too close it might show that your eyes are looking somewhere other than the lens. If you move back it helps with the eyeline. Make sure you don’t go too far back.
  4. If you are using a script on a prompter then it is good to have read it through out loud and make sure you are familiar with it. This helps make it feel more natural rather than sounding like you are reading it.
  5. Move a little, watch news readers, they kind or move their head a bit, it helps with eye movement so that your audience doesn’t see your eyes moving as you read each line.

In the video below I am using my iPhone as a prompter above the camera, you can use other smartphones, tablets or an iPad with the appropriate holder. If you feel like you want to take this a step further then you might want to invest in a prompter that sits in front of the lens, this is how news readers and other TV presenters do it. I have a video below the first video showing how to use one and will be doing a video very soon on how to use one.

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Solving Audio Problems in Zoom

Zoom has certainly helped many of us through an extraordinary year and it looks like it is going to continue to help us, for me it has saved me a lot of travelling time, but yes, I am looking forward to seeing people face to face.

There have been moments when we’ve either watched as someone is struggling to be heard and it has been more than just having mute switched on. Or perhaps you have been that person.

There are a few things that can be causing it and the first thing is to make sure things like microphones, speakers and headphones have been plugged in properly. Sometimes it looks like they are but just need a little extra push to make sure.

It has been mentioned that when plugging in a microphone on a Mac, and the same could happen on a Windows computer, that it cuts out the speakers, this is because it uses the same port for microphones and headphones. The thing to do is choose the speakers in the settings or if you are using Bluetooth headphones that they are selected. In the video below I show how to do this.

The settings is probably your next stop to see that the correct microphone and speaker is selected.

In this video I go through those settings and mentioned what else you can do.

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Using Practice Session for a Zoom Webinar

Zoom webinars have become very popular this year and I have helped run many of them along with virtual conferences. One of the things I find useful is the practise (UK spelling) session, it allows me to get all the panelists there, chat through what is happening, check their cameras and microphones and if they need to share their screen make sure they know how to do that. Obviously we don’t want the audience to see that, if I started the webinar normally then if someone joins early they would be able to see and hear what is going on. With practise session on they won’t be able to see or hear us until we start the webinar.

In this video I show you how to set it up and also some advice on getting the best result.

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How to Get Even Wider Angle Photos on Your iPhone

iPhones are pretty good for getting wide-angle photos and some like the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro have an extra lens that gives an extra wide view. However, there are times where you want to get even wider, useful for landscapes or those group shots.

The défault setting for photos on the iPhone is 4:3, that is the ratio that gives the photo its shape, this has been popular for decades. It is known as the aspect ratio. The 4 by 3 means that for every 4 pixels across there are 3 pixels down, so if you have a picture 4 inches across it will be 3 inches down, or centimetres. Whatever measurement you like really.

Because of Instagram square pictures have become popular and the aspect ratio is 1 by 1, although you can change the aspect ratio, its just the default is 1:1.

To get your photos to be wider you want wide screen, I’m sure you have heard of it and that is 16 by 9, and that is what I’m going to show you how to do in in the video below.

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How to Get Better Quality Zoom Recordings

Zoom is used a lot now for meetings and webinars and I’m sure like many you record them to edit and add to your website, YouTube, Vimeo or other social media platform. The quality of the recordings are ok and they can be a bit awkward to edit. However, you can get better quality and a video file that is easier to edit.

If you have tried to edit one of these files you might have noticed you press play to check it on the timeline to find the right point to edit and there is a delay and the same applies when you pause it. Like me you probably have missed the point you want to stop at. That’s because the video is very compressed and your editor has to uncompress it and it has a lot to do. The less compressed the fast it can be edited. Problem is the file size is bigger.

You will also find the quality is better is you choose to have a file that is easier to edit.

Here are my three tips for better quality Zoom recordings.

  1. Record to your computer, that makes it local file.
  2. Optimize for 3rd party editing software.
  3. Turn the HD option on for your camera. Oh, one other thing maybe use a camera better than the built-in webcam, your iPhone or Android is a good option, here’s how you connect your iPhone https://youtu.be/UGHjG34msFc
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Using WhatsApp on an iPhone with Dual SIM

One of the things I hadn’t taken into account when I got my iPhone was how would WhatsApp work with two SIM cards in the same iPhone. I was so pleased to be able to take one phone with me and have both my personal and business numbers with me. It can be annoying to have two phones with you.

However, when I went to WhatsApp it was working with just the one number, it was my personal number, I could have switched it to my business one but left it as it was. I looked for options which included other apps but was not sure of how secure they were. There was also the web version, although it worked it was a bit impractical.

Thankfully along came WhatsApp Business. So now I have two apps, the regular WhatsApp and the business version. This works so much better for me. It was easy to set up too. You more or less enter your number and then verify it in the same way as how you would when first setting it up.

Search for it on the App Store. I’m sure there must be an Android version too.

Here’s a video to show you what I did.

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Using Your iPhone When on a FaceTime Call

One of the things about FaceTime, if you are doing a video call, is that if you want to do something else like look something up, check an email or any of a whole multitude of things you can do on an iPhone or iPad whilst staying on the call and seeing the person you are talking to, well you wouldn’t be able to see them. And they would see the message “paused” on the screen whilst you were doing something else. This only paused the camera, but if you were seeing the message you would be forgiven for thinking something had happened and that maybe you weren’t there. If you have done this you’ve probably heard them ask if you are still there.

iOS 14 has resolved that so you can still see who you are talking to as a little video in the corner known as picture-in-picture. They also don’t see the “paused” message, no more hearing them saying “are you there?. So a win for both of you.

You can move the picture around on the screen, useful if you are doing something else and it is in the way.

To see how it works check out my video below and happy FaceTiming

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How to Use Consolidate Data in Microsoft Excel

If you have data spread out over multiple workbooks or worksheets you might want to have them all in one place on one sheet. Rather than having to copy and paste you can do this using the Excel feature Consolidate Data. This is a great feature and also allows you to link to the original data so that if it updates it updates in the new place too.

Here I show you how easy it is to do this and includes linking and not linking the data.

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