Trouble at the Old Mill IV: IT – Behind the scenes

Trouble at the Old Mill IV: IT – Behind the scenes

MacBook Pros have been disappearing all over Jigsaw24 HQ, and there are reports of a mysterious red balloon making its way around the office. Three intrepid team members headed down to the depths of the basement store room to take on the ghoulish clown causing all the trouble…

We had a blast filming the latest instalment of Trouble at the Old Mill, starring our very willing junior copywriter Joe as the titular clown. Aside from a rubber mask, some face paint and a bright yellow raincoat, our kit list for filming the video featured a range of great products from Canon to Adobe. Our director and in-house videographer Simon let us know what was used to create the Halloween magic…

The kit

CAMERA: Canon C100

“The C100 is nice and simple to use,” says Simon. “The controls are quite similar to Canon’s DSLRs, so setting white balance, aperture and ISO is all very quick and straightforward. It’s also pretty compact for carrying around and setting up – the camera, lens, multiple mics and power all fit in one backpack-style camera bag.

“The camcorder is known for its ability in low light, which was useful for some of those dark storeroom shots where I bumped the ISO up pretty high without the noise getting unbearable. I tried out a different picture profile for this video than I usually use for normal corporate videos. The ‘cinema’ profile is very flat in tone and desaturated in colour, which provides greater scope for grading later on.”

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“One thing that I wish this model had (which the C100 Mk II and other cameras in the range have) is higher frame rate shooting options. A couple of shots would have looked really good in slow motion, but at 25fps I couldn’t slow it down without the image visibly lagging.”

You can still pick up the Canon C100 Mk I at only £2039, or treat yourself to the C100 Mk II at only £2999, which now comes with a FREE Atomos Ninja Blade!

LENS: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Lens

“This range of focal lengths provides great versatility without having to keep buying and swapping lots of lenses. I used the longer focal lengths (and positioned myself further from the subject) for getting shots with nice shallow depth of field, and shorter ones for fitting everything in the shot where space was restricted. At 2.8L it’s also pretty fast, which again helped in those low light situations.”

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Get the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Telephoto Lens for just £626, now with a 3 year warranty!

MICROPHONE: Sennheiser MD 46 Handheld Cardioid Dynamic ENG Microphone

“I’d never used this mic before, but my usual lapel and shotgun mics were picking up too much background noise when we were trying to record dialogue in a noisy office. Its intended use is for reporters, so it’s very directional and cuts out a lot of peripheral sound. This meant we had to position it very carefully when trying to pick up multiple voices, hence some very precarious boom setups (that actually appear in the video once or twice if you look closely…).”

The Sennheiser MD 46 is just £190 right now!

MICROPHONE: Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Condenser Microphone

“For backup, and because I had a spare channel I thought I may as well use, I kept my usual shotgun mic attached to the top of the camera and pointed at the action the whole time. I didn’t end up mixing this into the edit very much, but at low levels it occasionally added a subtle ambience when combined with the Sennheiser.”

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Get the Rode NTG-2 for just £174!

LIGHTING: Photoflex Medium Starlite Kit

“We have two big softboxes and a smaller Dedolight. I don’t really have any clue on how you’re meant to use these, but spent a lot of time aimlessly moving them around so everyone else would think I knew what I was doing.”

If you know more about lights than Simon, we’ve got the Photoflex Medium Starlite Kit for £440

 

The editing software

INGEST: Adobe Premiere Pro and Media Encoder

“One feature in Premiere Pro which I’m a big fan of is Proxy Workflow. I set the project ingest settings to automatically create proxies, so whenever I imported from the browser window into the project in Premiere Pro, Media Encoder would open and do its thing in the background. This then meant I could edit with lower resolution previews, so there was none of the frustrating stopping and starting that can occur when working with full HD footage. There’s a simple toggle switch for going between the proxies and the full res files, which I used when working on finer detail grading and sharpening.”

EDITING: Adobe Premiere Pro

“I used Premiere Pro for sorting through the source files, adding markers at points in the shots that I thought I was going to use, and started dragging clips on to a timeline. Because the video has distinct scenes, with different looks and sound requirements, I edited each one separately in a nested sequence, then lined them all up and worked out the transitions between them on a master sequence. I used a lot more film dissolve and crossfades from the Effects pane than I would on a normal corporate video to try and get the edits flowing smoothly and to accentuate the atmosphere of the scenes.”

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COLOUR CORRECTION AND GRADING: Lumetri Color in Premiere Pro

“Lumetri Color is an incredibly powerful and versatile colour tool in Premiere Pro. My process with it was to use its ‘basic’ controls to hone the white balance and overall levels so that the shot looked neutral. Then it has a set of ‘creative’ controls for giving the footage more of a distinct look.

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“After trying out a LOT of third party LUTs, I ended up using the same one throughout (but increased and decreased in strength), which just seemed most natural with the footage we’d shot and added an extra level of consistency between shots. I did all of this on adjustment layers above the source footage on the timeline so that each clip was treated the same without having to go in and apply to each individually.”

SOUND MIXING: Premiere Pro

“All of the sound was mixed in Premiere Pro too. The source footage generally needed some gain control for consistency between clips and then a bit of EQ, compression and a tiny hint of reverb. I also used noise reduction for most of the dialogue because the ambient office sounds were distracting and inconsistent between shots. Because it then sounded unnaturally quiet between lines, I mixed in a stock effect of an office environment.”

SPECIAL EFFECTS: After Effects

“Titles and a few special effects were done in After Effects. The dynamic link between the apps allows me to see the graphics I’m working on in After Effects over the video footage in Premiere Pro instantly.

“Trying to make the cloud of bats was my first experience with the Particle World effect. I think it’s more designed for small, non-descript particles that look like rain drops or suchlike, but I applied it to a bat shape I made in Illustrator and it turned out pretty much how I wanted.”

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“The clown coming out of the computer was also my first go at filming against a green screen. I tried to get the lighting even and consistent with the shot I needed to composite it with while shooting, then used the Keylight effect in After Effects. Playing around with the Keylight controls managed to isolate the clown how I wanted, but I found I still had to animate a couple of masks frame by frame to get it looking right as it moved in and out of the laptop.”

Find out more about Adobe’s great video-editing apps here.

You’ll save too… check out our scarily good savings at www.Jigsaw24.com/offers, get in touch with the sales team on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, events and hauntings, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or like us on Facebook.

 

Get immersed in the Sennheiser AMBEO VR mic

Get immersed in the Sennheiser AMBEO VR mic

If you’re creating virtual reality video and want to match your VR video content with proper VR audio too, take a look at Sennheiser’s new AMBEO VR mic, designed to seamlessly record 3D immersive audio for captivating VR experiences.

 
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From the outside, the AMBEO VR looks and feels like any other Sennheiser mic, but it’s the clever bits inside that give it its VR capturing capabilities. Fitted with four matched KE 14 capsules in a tetrahedral arrangement, the ambisonic mic captures the sound that surrounds you from a single point, giving you fully-spherical, 360-degree sound to complement your VR video content – all in an easy-to-use, elegant design.

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The Sennheiser AMBEO VR has been developed in conjunction with virtual reality content creators, and with cinematic VR in mind, as well as live action capture for traditional film. Other uses also include live-streamed virtual reality content, live-streamed content for sports or current events, and audio capture for virtual reality games and other interactive VR content. Bundled in with the mic is also Sennheiser’s A-B encoder software plugin, which can be seamlessly embedded in your post-production process. Check out the recording workflow diagram below for an idea of how it all works:

Sennhesier AMBEO DIAGRAM 2016

Those Sennheiser AMBEO VR key features at a glance:

– Single-point microphone for Virtual Reality content.
– Four matched capsules in a tetrahedral cluster.
– Captures spherical, fully spatial audio in Ambisonics format.
– Pairs well with 360/VR video capture.
– Portable and rugged for various recording conditions.
– A to B format encoder included: VST and AAX (for Mac and Windows; a standalone version will be available at a later date).

Want to know more about the Sennheiser AMBEO VR microphone? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

The view from the front: Mix with the Pros 3D

The view from the front: Mix with the Pros 3D

Missed our 3D sound event? You’re in luck. A couple of attendees – familiar MWTP face James Ivey from Pro Tools Expert and the new, more mysteriously named Statis from Beatnik TV – have kindly done everyone else a massive favour by rounding up the event.

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Statis’ latest vlog over at Beatnik TV explains that “the event is devoted to helping audio professionals understand and work with the limitations and opportunities of [3D mix downs and sound for virtual reality]. From how to mix audio in 3D space to how to work with the issues created by movement in virtual realities, the event covered a huge range of the hurdles facing everyone working in these new sectors.” His video, below, features highlights of some of the day’s demos from Dolby, Sennheiser and more. (He also visited a very cool-looking graffiti show in the same episode, so you can brush up on your street art at the same time).

For a more detailed rundown of who said what, head over to Pro Tools Expert for James Ivey’s writeup, where insights include the fact that the S6 “can be used alongside any Eucon compatible application like Apple’s Logic Pro and because the S6 can address multiple machines and DAWs at the same time you can have different faders or banks of faders assigned to the different DAWs  at the same time. So you can have a group of virtual instrument channels from Logic running on the same surface as your dialog channels from Pro Tools.”

(There’s also a nice overview of the different speakers’ topics – useful in case you ever need to make small talk with Richard Addis or need to know who to direct your Dolby questions to).

Pro Tools Expert also managed to grab Avid’s Rich Nevens for a sit-down interview in our highly photogenic Steampunk demo room. Watch below for an overview on Rich’s journey to Avid’s Director of Strategic Solutions, and what Avid are planning for the future.

Thanks very much to James and Statis for a) dropping by and b) taking the time to give us such positive write ups – hope to see you next time, guys!

Missed out on Mix with the Pros? Our next instalment will be in early 2017, so keep an eye on our events page for dates, as well as a whole host of other upcoming audio-related events you might be interested in.

Jigsaw24 Events

Want to know more about 3D mixing or sound for VR? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

The basics of Jigsaw24 for audio

The basics of Jigsaw24 for audio
If you’ve been buying your Macs from us or picked up a drive or two, it may have escaped your notice that we have one of the most comprehensive professional audio offerings in the industry. Here’s our top audio specialist Rob Holsman with a quick rundown of what we can do…

“Whether you’re putting together a project recording studio, voiceover facility, classroom composition suite or a full-featured surround-sound Pro Tools mixing studio for film post-production, we have the products and technical expertise to get the job done. And if you’re a videographer, we can supply all the location recording kit you could need, including wireless systems, shotgun mics, portable recorders and booms.

We can supply all the industry’s leading brands for audio software, audio interfaces, studio hardware, stereo and surround monitor speaker packages, headphones, microphones. and much much more. We are main dealers for Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg, RME, MOTU, Universal Audio, Genelec, Focal, Sennheiser, Sony Professional, PMC, Focusrite, Neumann, RODE, Tascam… the list goes on and on, but you get the picture! And with our industry leading IT, we have the knowhow to get it all working and keep it that way.”

Some top resources…

If you want to know a bit more about us, why not have a browse of our blog, where we keep the latest audio announcements? Here are a few perennial favourites to get you started…

If you want to find out more about our audio post-production services, take a look at our post brochure here.

Want to stay on top of NAMM news? Here’s our 2015 roundup.

Not sure what plug-ins you need? Here are six we can’t live without.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Throw out your audio cables with Sony’s new multi interface shoe

Throw out your audio cables with Sony’s new multi interface shoe

Using a Sony camera or thinking of replacing your current setup? Don’t forget you can use Sony’s new P3 multi interface shoe to replace your audio cables with crisp, wireless in-camera recording…

The succinctly-named SMAD-P3 multi interface shoe adaptor works with Sony’s UWP-D wireless microphone series, allow you to mount a receiver on-camera and record audio directly into the camera without the need for any cables whatsoever.

Why do we like this idea? Well for one, it means fewer points of interference, so there’s less chance of your audio signal degrading or downright failing to get where you need it – always a plus.

Secondly, it means you have fewer things to forget, and we’re all about not carrying an extra cable. And actually the whole thing is powered through the camera, so you can forget the cost (and weight) of extra batteries, too.

Thirdly, it’s an official Sony adaptor, meaning it’s been tested extensively with not only the UWP-D mics, but with Sony’s latest NX and PX cameras, plus the MC2500. Sony are saying that you should see no change in functionality or loss of quality between your current audio setup and the SMAD-P3/UPW-D combo using any of that kit, which makes it a smart buy if your workflow is Sony-centric.

And if you do need to use an external recorder, there’s an output for that on the UWP-D, so you can always be recording two copies if you need to.

How much does it cost? 

The P3 multi interface shoe adaptor will set you back a mere £28 ex VAT, while the UWP-D series of receivers starts from just £225 ex VAT, meaning it’s comparable to Sennheiser units with similar specs, but more qualified for working with Sony.

Want to know more about wireless audio? Call us on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Are headphones the unsung heroes of the audio classroom? Not only do they keep your neighbours happy, protect you from your students’ more ‘experimental’ compositions and make things like our old favourite the JamHub possible, they’re pretty much constantly being battered, beaten and dropped. 

So, if you’re taking advantage of the Christmas break to give your audio equipment a bit of a spruce, we’d recommend starting with your headphones. And we have a few suggestions as to which might be best for you…

For student workstations: AKG K44. Great for where you need lots of pairs for student workstations, the AKG K44 has a straight single-sided cable, which means it’s less prone to getting caught or snagged and snapping than your typical, double-cabled headphone.

For media students: Sony MDR-7506. Sony’s MDR-5706 provides your media students with excellent sound quality, while combining a closed back design and single-sided coiled cable to ensure they can stand up to the rigours of outdoor shooting (it also minimises the amount of cable around to get tangled up in).

For the recording studio: Beyerdynamic DT100. If you’re trying to replicate an industry standard workflow, try using the DT100, which is the industry’s standard closed back headphone. It offers you minimal sound leakage and a tough-as-nails industrial design, with all parts being individually replaceable if they sustain damage.

Beyerdynamic DT100

For critical listening: AKG K240. These high quality monitoring headphones give your students an excellent frequency range and open backed design, making them ideal for exercises where students need to listen critically, such as when they’re listening to recorded performances or monitoring instruments.

For use in noisy environments: Sennheiser HD-25-1 II. With its pro quality sound reproduction, closed back design, excellent background noise attenuation and rotatable ear cups, this Sennheiser model is great for anyone trying to hear clearly in noisy environments. It’s proved very popular with professional cameramen and DJs, which we’re taking as a sterling recommendation of its noise reduction abilities.

For monitoring on a budget: Sennheiser HD205-II. The 205-II’s single-sided cable and closed back design make it a sturdy choice for anyone who needs headphones for monitoring, recording or general listening that don’t break the bank.

Want to know more about headphones for your music students? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, reviews and recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or Like’ us on Facebook


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Recording and broadcasting lessons at St George’s College

Recording and broadcasting lessons at St George’s College

St George’s were looking at expanding the reach of their lectures and wanted to find a way of recording and broadcasting their lessons to students at home, as well as other schools and colleges they are partnered with. We set them up with cameras, wireless mics, and screen capture and editing software.

For the recording, we suggested a Sony HVR-V1E HDV camera with a Sennheiser wireless microphone connected to a HVR-D60 hard drive recording unit, all of which can be activated by remote control. This, working alongside a Camtasia screen capture program to record what students see on the interactive whiteboards, allowed footage of both the content and the teaching to be recorded for students to have access to after the session.

We then provided the college with some custom motion templates for their Final Cut Suite, so their recordings could be dropped into the template and exported to various mediums including the college intranet, the web and also DVD, making them easily accessible for everyone who needed to see them.

The system has worked really well and now students, teachers and the partnered colleges can access parts of the curriculum off campus. This has been a particularly useful facility for students who have missed lessons through illness or holiday, and also cuts out the need for students from partner schools and colleges to have to travel between campuses.

For more information about recording and sharing lessons, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com