129. Behind the scenes: Lights, Camera, Sound

Show Notes for Members below

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: printing mailing labels
  2. Photo Edit: Crop to zoom in, vignette
  3. Behind the scenes

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Beginning imageimageSee our  webinar on SendOutCardsIn Google Contacts, you need to be sure the addresses are properly entered with separate fields for City, St, Zip. Then use the Export command to make a Outlook .csv. You’ll need to then open that file in Excel, or Google Sheets to delete all the extra columns. Just have the name and address columns.

Then in Avery.com use the WePrint section to select the kind of labels you want, import the spreadsheet with your data and drag and drop the fields into place. When you’re done, you can view a proof of your labels on a .pdf file. Then you can either just use that .pdf file and print them yourself, or choose to have Avery print them and send them to you.

Here is a Quick Tip tutorial video on how I did it: Quick Tip 17: Printing Maillabels

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

3:23 imageCrop is the third main button on the Google Photos edit screen, just grab corners to bring edges in close.Vignette is buried in the adjustments tab: image under Light. Click the dropdown arrow at the right of the Light adjustment bar, scroll down to the bottom to see Vignette and drag the slider to the right. Close the Light adjustments by clicking on that drop-up arrow again.
5:47 image
5:34 Today is not a normal smartphone/tablet show. Today we’re going behind the scenes and talking about Lights, Camera, and Sound for how we make this show.imageimageimage

We’ve been asked to give a short workshop for an online Toastmasters Group about how to equip a studio for online presentations. That presentation has passed now, you can see the recording at What the Geeks Use: Lights, Camera, Sound

10:30 imageThe first, and most essential thing you need to do a live streaming webcast is a good Internet connection. Make sure to test it with something like Speedtest.net. If it’s not good enough, turn off all other devices that are using the connection and test again. If it’s still not good enough – don’t do the broadcast! Your upload speed must be at least 3Mbps, preferably much higher.imageOur setup is a lot more complicated than most people because we have two people, two computers, two cameras and a document camera for demonstrating mobile devices. A list of all equipment Jim has with affiliate links to Amazon are at the end of these notes.

The main thing to know about lights is to have the lighting in front of you and lighting up your face. If you can position yourself with a wall behind you, then some studio lights on you will help your cameras do a better job. Jim uses LED lights with diffusers mounted on tripods. Three-point lighting is the industry standard.

1. Key light – brightly lighting the main subject, your face
2. Fill light – to light a side view and eliminate shadows

Video of Jim’s lighting and studio setup in our home studio.


The camera that’s built in to your laptop is fine. A couple things to know is to clean the lens, and to raise it up to eye level.

If you want to get fancier, Jim recommends the little webcam Logitech C920. It can clip on to the top of your computer, or it can be set on a tripod at whatever position you want. Try to position it so that it is comfortable to look straight at it, you want your audience to feel like you’re looking at them and not down at your computer screen.

To take it to even a higher level, you can use a digital SLR, like the Canon T3i with an input to your computer. This is the highest quality camera.

Built in Laptop camera in use here:

Logitech C920 in use here:

Digital SLR Canon T3i in use here:

Jim in his studio – notice the digital SLR camera on a tripod pointing towards him from just above his monitor. Also notice the “hair” light shining down from above him.


This setup allows Jim to have many different camera angles. Our show is 40-60 minutes, it would get very boring visually if it was just one camera angle on talking heads. This allows us to show one person, two people, our screens, or our mobile device under a camera. Not everyone needs to do that.

Video showing the camera setup in our home studio.

23:26 imageSound is the most important part. If you’re hurting the audience’s ears, they’ll leave! They can put up with low quality visuals, but they cannot put up with low quality audio.The microphone that’s built in to your laptop may be fine. As long as you are in a quiet environment. It is good to use earbuds or some other type of headset just to isolate the sound coming out of the computer. In some cases, the built in microphone may pick up the sound coming from the built in speakers – this creates echo and/or feedback. Earbuds or headsets eliminate that.We use a Behringer sound mixer with 2 lavalier microphones. Here’s a video on Jim’s sound equipment


For this show, we are using YouTube Live. Once you start YouTube live, the controls you see are the same Hangouts On Air, that have been around since the beginning of our show. It is YouTube Live / Hangouts on Air that allows for the multiple participants, multiple cameras, and screensharing that we need to teach.

We use Facebook Live for our informal Q&A sessions on Thursdays. It uses just one single mobile device focused on our talking heads. As long as we have sufficient bandwidth, the light is behind the camera, and we’re in a quiet environment, we’re good to go. We’ve been known to be in our RV, pull off at a rest area and do our Facebook live session.


Studio R for Roadtrek! Our Studio in the Camper: Here’s a video of the setup we use to do our show from the front seats of our Roadtrek Camper Van.Lights and Camera in the Camper Van: Here’s a video of our Lights and Camera setup, including the Document camera.Video of the sound mixer in the RV.
28:03 Questions:Is the green screen used for getting our logo behind us?
Yes, the green screen allows you to show some other image wherever there is green. The software we use is called SparkocamDo we work with the Wynns?
They are referring to Gone with the Wynns – an excellent website and video travelog youtube channel. We know and love Jason and Nikki Wynn, but we’ve never collaborated with them on anything.Do you use any selfie sticks or gimbles?
Not in our studio. We do have the Smove that will hold your phone and keep it stable while walking around. Jim has the Karma grip for his drone. Chris mentions that the video stabilization built in to her iPhone 7+ is pretty amazing.

Can anyone see the Toastmasters presentation you’re doing?
Yes, the recording is available to anyone here.




More questions:

What microphones are you using? And what audio mixer?
We use lapel mikes, Senheiser wired microphones, and they’re plugged into the Behringer sound mixer which then provides one USB sound-in connection to the computer. We need this to prevent echo. If you’re only one person in your show, it’s not necessary.

If you just use the microphone built in to the computer, will you get echo?
Maybe yes and maybe no.


Affiliate Links to all products mentioned

LimoStudioLight Box

Ziggy Document Camera

Green Screen

Light Stands

Sure Lavalier Microphones

Logitech C920

Behringer Mixer

Ends at 48:15Complete Playlist of What Does This Button Do shows.


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