Studio Equipment / My Lighting, Audio, and Camera Setup

Studio Equipment / My Lighting, Audio, and Camera Setup


How’s it going everyone. Lately I’ve been
receiving some questions from viewers of my channel people asking about studio
equipment. People want to know what kind of lighting am i using what kind of
audio setup do I have what kind of camera am i using what kind of lens. So
in this week’s video I’m going to walk you through everything that I’m
currently using and I’m also going to draw attention to anything that I’m no
longer using any products that I started with and then just eventually grew out
of. Quick disclaimer just so you know nothing in this video has been provided
to me for free. I am not an important enough person on this platform to be
receiving free products, so everything that I’ll be talking about…they’re all
things that I bought for me and to be creating videos like this. How’s it going everyone my name is
Todd Dominey, I make videos here on YouTube about landscape
photography, product reviews and photo processing tutorials. If all of those
topics are things of interest to you I would encourage you to subscribe to this
channel if you haven’t already done so. Alright without further ado let’s
begin by talking about lighting. The key light that I’m currently using is a
Godox SL60 W. This is a continuous LED light
that plugs directly into the wall. There’s no batteries, there’s no bulky
converter or anything like that. It is a studio light. I mean you plug it in and
it pretty much stays here. It is a light that has a variable brightness on the
back so you can dial it up to 100 and then all the way down to zero with no
flickering in between. Its white balance is set to 5600 Kelvin. It’s fixed at
that value. That is a daylight color temperature which is a good color
neutral light temperature of light to have good color accuracy fantastic
brightness. I actually have this key light set right now to only about 35% I
have it pretty low because it’s right in front of me and I’ll talk more about
percentages in just a minute. The one thing that some people really do not
like about the Godox is the fact that it does have a fan. I can actually
hear the fan in the light running right now. It’s not totally silent so depending
on your mic setup you might pick up a little bit of sound from that fan a
little bit of white noise but for me it’s really not a big deal.
The Godox has a Bowens mount on the front which is an industry-standard
mount for lights, which means you can attach any kind of third-party softbox
or diffuser onto the front of it. Speaking of the softbox that I’m using
is a Bowens mount softbox it is 38 inches and it’s made by a company called
Glow EZ. It has two layers of diffusion and it comes with one of these…grid
kind of patterns. I’m not quite sure what these are called but they attach
with Velcro to the front of the light and they’re basically like lots of
little miniature barn doors that just direct the light forward and keep it
from spilling out around you too much. It just really focuses the light. So I’ve
been trying to do a three-point lighting setup with a key light a fill light and
a backlight back here I’ll talk about that in a second but the light over here
is a it’s just a basic Viltrox LED panel. Pretty cheap you can pick
these up for like about $30. This also has a variable brightness and this is at
about 60% right now and the color temperature is variable on this light so
you can you know make it cool you can make it warm. I set this to the exact
same color temperature as the key light which is 5600 Kelvin and the same goes
for the other Viltrox which is up there on the ceiling. That is a Viltrox
LED panel just like this one, also set to 5600 Kelvin. And the reason I have
that light up there behind me is because if you illuminate a subject from behind
especially with a darker background it just helps create some separation
some depth in your image because you get you know kind of a nice light around the
back of the subject. So once you have your lights once you have a key light, you have a fill light, and you have a light up here behind you… how bright should they be? Right? I mean when they all have variable brightness, do you just turn them all up all the way or you know what do you do? So I started doing some
research into this because just judging exposure on the
back of the camera as I had been doing was just not accurate enough for me. And
I started trying to figure out you know if you were a DP like on the set of
a major motion picture how would you judge exposure how would you know how
bright or how dark lights should be in a scene? And that’s when I learned about
false color. False color is available in some higher-end professional cameras but
if you are shooting with you know just a prosumer DSLR or mirrorless camera then
in order to utilize false color you have to use an external monitor. So
that’s exactly what I did. I went out and I bought a budget monitor that I could
connect over HDMI to my Canon 5d Mark IV. A monitor that supports false color
mode. And the one that I picked up was a Feelworld S55, 5.5″ display.
Now, this monitor is not the most robust. It does not have a touchscreen
interface, it’s also not the brightest, but the one thing that it does have is
false color and false color is amazing. Because what it does is is that it
analyzes your image and it paints color over all the different luminosity values
from you know black to white in the scene so you’re able to see with color
and not just by using your eyes but with actual color what the differences are in
and all the different light sources that you’re using. So for example, then I was
able to turn on false color mode on this monitor and I was able to tell that this
light should be set to 35% because if I go any higher than 35 then it started
blowing out the highlights on the side of my face over here. This fill light
over here didn’t need to be as bright as I thought
it needed to be it only needed to be at about 60 or 50 percent and that for me
was enough. And then judging the light back here as well. So just having that
view and being able to know from a quantitative perspective what
it was that I needed to adjust and to be able to see it on a display and not just
guess…amazing! Okay, a couple more things about lighting before we move on.
Another little light that I really enjoy using is this Aputure AL-MC. This is
such a handy little light and I’m sure if you’ve searched for LED or RGB light
on YouTube you’re bound to find probably a thousand reviews about this thing
because it is such a cool little light. One last light I want to mention and
that is these little RGB lights that are made by a company called Yeelight which
sounds like a Kanye West brand or something. But these are just standard
light bulbs you can plug them into a lamp you can plug them into a light
socket you know anything that you have and they don’t require a hub. You can
connect to them with a smartphone app and you can change their brightness
change their intensity change their color. They can just output regular light
if that’s all you want or you can change them to any hue. And like the Aputure,
the color that comes out of these is super nice. It’s rich it’s saturated it’s
bright and I think they’re fantastic. Alright now let’s talk about audio. When
I first started making videos about a year ago I just picked up and used what
it was that I had available. And at the time that was a Rode…I think it was
called a Video Mic Go. It was one of their cheaper hotshoe
microphones that just plugs directly into a camera. It didn’t require power or
any kind of battery. The sound on it was just kind of okay
just really nothing not that great. So I got rid of the Rode microphone and I
ended up getting this one from Deity. This is a Deity Vmic D3 Pro. Now the
thing…there’s a lot of things to like about this microphone…for one
it mounts to the shoe mount on the top of your camera. It has onboard
noise reduction so you can make adjustments there if you want to. It also
has a variable gain dial on the back of the mic so you can raise or lower the
gain. USB-C charging which is fantastic. I want everything to be USB-C. Really
helpful when you’re out traveling to have that. And the really clever
thing about this mic is the fact that the cable here… you know the stereo cable
that plugs into your camera… you can plug this in and just use it as is.
But it’s also very clever, because this can also receive phantom power. If
you know anything about phantom power, phantom power is you know like a current
that is provided by a piece of audio equipment to power the microphone. So
what you can do then…if that’s of interest to you…and if you have XLR
cables and an audio recorder, you can pick up this which is a Deity D-XLR
adapter. With this adapter this just plugs into the stereo cable like this
and then you can run a long XLR cable wherever you want to wherever it needs
to go. So this doesn’t come with the microphone this is an extra little
add-on that you have to buy from Deity, but I used this for a little while and
this worked really well because I could go out run-and-gun with with the mic on
the camera and then when I wasn’t doing that I could just mount the microphone to a mic stand and then use it as a boom
mic like this. It’s a mini shotgun microphone and the sound
was pretty decent. But then one day I was browsing eBay which is a really
dangerous thing to do, and I happened to come across a listing for a Sennheiser
MKH-416. Now, if you know anything about this microphone, the Sennheiser MKH 416
is basically the industry standard mic. It is the microphone that most other
microphones are compared to. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that
people go out and buy one of these microphones unless you — especially new
at retail — unless you know that you’re really going to have a solid use case
for it and you’re and you’re going to get a lot of value out of it. I only picked one
up because I got a good deal on it. But even at 50% off, it’s a pretty expensive
microphone, so…I love the sound of it though! What can you do. It’s just something
to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a microphone. So the recorder that I’ve
been using is again something I found used on eBay this is a Tascam DR-60D
Mark ii. Now, these are actually not terribly expensive they retail new for
about a $180. I can’t remember what I bought this one
for but it was it was definitely not at retail. But for me it’s worked
beautifully. Great sound very clean sound You can run XLR cable directly
into it. Actually, two if you want to. Lots of different features. Too much to go
into in this video. But the general idea is, I put an SD card in here I
hit record I hit record on the other cameras that I’m using and then just you
know give it one of these so that you’re able to sync it later and it works.
It’s perfect. I love using this device. Okay next I want to talk about cameras
and lenses. Now, I don’t have a dedicated video camera. I’ve just never felt the
need to buy a specialty video camera for the type of work that I’m doing. I just
don’t have a need for one. So I’ve been using the cameras that I use for
landscape photography when I’m out doing that kind of work.
I’m just reusing them as video cameras. So the camera that I’m filming on right
now this is my trusty workhorse of a camera, my Canon 5d Mark IV DSLR.
The lens that I’m using on this camera that you’re looking at right now this is
the Canon 50 millimeter f/1.2. And then on this camera over here this
is the Canon 6d Mark II which is like the budget full-frame cousin of
the 5d Mark IV over there. On this camera the lens that I’m using is the
Sigma 24 millimeter f/1.4 Art lens. Now, if you’ve never looked into the
Sigma Art lenses I think they’re fantastic. I really like them. Personally
I’m really looking forward to Sigma coming out with some RF lenses but
that’s a whole different topic for another day. Which kind of brings us to
an interesting question. When do you use a 50-millimeter lens, and when do
you use a 24-millimeter lens? Which one is better for recording video content
like this? Well, I think one way to think about it is to be thinking about the
space in which you’re recording, because over here to the side of me this is kind
of a narrow you know area with a wall directly behind the camera and so using
a wide-angle lens with the camera this close to me makes a lot of
sense because then I’m not filling the frame completely. There’s some room
around me whereas over here with the 50 millimeter I have more reach in the room.
The room is deeper this way, so I’m able to put the 50 millimeter on this camera
further back in the room. Personally as far as the differences creatively
and how the focal lengths look when recording video, I do prefer the look of
just standard 35 millimeter and 50 millimeter lenses when recording
video because it doesn’t distort facial features quite as much. Everything just
looks elongated and kind of stretched and just a little bit distorted with
wide-angle. Whereas things are much more natural at 50 millimeter. Now in addition to everything I
mentioned in this video so far there are some other additional accessories and
little fiddly things here and there that I’m using. If you’re interested in seeing
everything I would encourage you to go down below and to click on the Show More
link in the description. In there you will find a link to a new kit that I put
together over at kit.co. If you have any general questions or specific questions
about one of the pieces of equipment that I talked about in today’s
video, by all means, feel free to leave a comment below. I read everything that is
posted to a video on my channel. I’m on a schedule right now where I’m posting one
video a week, so if videos about landscape photography, about photography
in general, photo processing product reviews if those types of things are of
interest to you, by all means, click or tap subscribe below and follow along
because I’m going to be posting more content this year in 2020. Alright
everyone thanks for being here hopefully that answered some of your questions I
will see you next week.

7 Comments

  • Sam Ossio

    February 28, 2020

    Soon enough you will be that person… it´s a matter of time and keeping the great quality and content!

    Reply
  • Way of Kung Fu

    February 28, 2020

    Very helpful – thank you!

    Reply
  • Paul Morris

    February 28, 2020

    Thanks for sharing this information. I like your studio setup and the overall quality of your audio and video. Are you using C-Log on your 5D4 (if you have the upgrade)? If not, what picture style settings are you using? I really like the color grading and I hope to emulate it if I can.

    Reply
  • Matt Grill

    February 28, 2020

    Love the tour Todd, what made you go with the 38inch dome?

    Reply
  • Davids Trading

    February 28, 2020

    Finally Todd you did this movie! Haha. Super nice and I really appreciate you taking the time and showing us how you do it. I personally, just being honest now, don't care much about landscape foto and stuff. But I follow you because I always find your studio setup so nice and something that I am trying to work on for my channel. What I would like, if you dont mind me making a wish, is to know more about your cameras setup. More in details. Love it man! Big thank you for this!

    Reply
  • Jay Kerr

    February 29, 2020

    All that interesting gear and I'm looking at your shirt thinking, "cool, he's wearing Fjällräven!" As always, another great video and very informative. I learn something new every time. I'm curious. You have quite a professional video setup. When you're not vlogging or shooting landscapes, what kind of video work do you do?

    Reply
  • diulaylomochohai

    February 29, 2020

    Yout content is awesome

    Reply

Leave a Reply