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Mike Wilkinson
Lexington, KY

Articles written by Mike Wilkinson

Three Alternative Drone Shots to Add a New Dimension to Your Aerial Videos

Anyone who has flown a drone for aerial video capture has likely done one of the few shots that are pretty much the standard of any aerial video. In these two videos from Mark Richardson, he is going to explain techniques for three different kinds of shots you may not have thought of before.

If You're Flying a Drone in a National Park Without a Permit, You're Hurting the Industry

The National Park Service in the United States is one of the few organizations to have made clear policies regarding the use of drones, or small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) on their property. Yet some people continue to ignore these rules, and it’s only going to make things harder for the rest of us if this trend continues.

'Grip Tips' Videos Are a Great, Free Resource for Learning Tools to Light a Film Set

If you're a fan of the informational videos put out by folks like The Slanted Lens, Film Riot, and theC47, then you'll also want to check this one out. Grip Tips focuses on tools of the trade for grips and electricians working on a film set, but the equipment that's explained could also be found in a photography studio as well.

How to Use Lavalier Microphones for Interview Video Production

A few weeks ago I shared some insight on using shotgun microphones for documentary style interview productions. This week, I’ve got a companion video that explores techniques for using lavalier mics, the standard go-to mic for most interview scenarios.

Fstoppers Review of Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Denoiser III

We've all been there. You were hired for a run-and-gun shoot only to find the location has terrible lighting. Or your shoot is running later into the evening and the sun is going down fast, without any lighting to plug in. The ISO gets cranked up, and your exposure is saved at the expense of adding unwanted noise to your image. This is where noise reduction software becomes useful, and a new product from Red Giant has changed the way it approaches this task with Denoiser III.

Audio Recording Basics: Using Shotgun Microphones for Documentary Video Production

Audio is arguably the most important facet of any film or video production. There is a saying that goes: “Audio is 70% of what you see,” which means that sound makes up more of the experience than the visuals do. So while we may spend a lot of time planning for what our shot looks like, it’s even more important that we mic it properly for the best audio recording possible.

Fstoppers Reviews Cinevate's Updated Duzi Camera Slider for Video Production

Camera sliders are often one of the first accessories that independent filmmakers purchase, just after a tripod and microphone. The simplicity in their design and valuable ability to create subtle motion instantly add production value. Cinevate recently updated its Duzi slider to its fourth version, and I got a chance to review one this past week.

How the Focal Length of Your Lens Affects the Look of Your Video

Have you ever seen those amazing shots that show a subject holding its place in the frame while the background falls away or becomes extremely compressed? This is called a "dolly-zoom," and you've likely seen an example in films such as "Jaws" and "Goodfellas." While we don't typically use a dolly-zoom when filming interviews, we can learn a lot from studying what happens to an image at different focal lengths. In this video and article, I'll discuss the visual effects created when choosing a wide versus telephoto lens for documentary-style interview productions.

What to Look for When Picking a Frame for a Video Interview

In a previous article, I shared some tips on scouting locations for a documentary video shoot where interviews would be captured. The next step is to decide on a frame that complements your talent, topic, and tone. In this video, we discuss background elements we see in potential frames, any why one “look” might work better than another.

Tips for Scouting Locations for Your Next Interview Video Shoot

When doing a documentary-style video production, an interview or series of interviews is often at the heart of the content. Uncontrollable lighting, background noise, and the size of the space you have to work in all play a significant role in capturing a quality testimonial, so location scouting to check on these is an important facet of our production process. In this short video, Joshua Pardon and I explore two rooms at a location and discuss what we look for when making a decision on where to set up for a shoot.

When a Client Can’t Afford Your Rates for Photo or Video Work, What Do You Do?

If you work in a competitive area for your photo or video work, chances are that you’ve experienced losing a client at some point. Whether there were creative differences, budget issues, or you weren’t available, there are some things that you can do to alleviate some of the sting from breaking up with a client, and perhaps put you in a better position to work with them in the future, even if the root cause is simply that they couldn't afford your rates.

New Panasonic Lenses on the Way: Lumix G 12-35mm 2.8 II, 12-60mm Leica, and More

At CES 2017 Panasonic has started to show off some new MFT lenses, which by no coincidence pairs nicely with their recent reveal of the Lumix GH5 specs. In this video, a rep from Panasonic goes over the details of the new lenses, some of which are updates to existing models. I'll list the all of the lenses and include what's new about them in the full post.

Chase Jarvis Explains Why Creating and Sharing Your Photos Is Only Half the Work

In this episode of Chase Jarvis RAW, a fired up Jarvis goes off on a thoughtful stream of consciousness and details why so many photographers or filmmakers might not see the engagement they are looking for with their work. To him, it's because they likely stop working once the content has been created and shared, and they don't go on to interact with their community or audience. What's the trick to doing that? Check out the video for some very real suggestions on how.

The Trailer for the Holiday Movie 'Elf' Is Recut, Now It's a Creepy Thriller

Even if you're not much for holiday films, chances are you've seen the Will Ferrell movie, "Elf," that came out in 2003. It's a silly but fun tale of Buddy the Elf searching for his real father in New York City. The trailer seen here though, created by Cinefix, would have you believe that Buddy might just be an insane psychopath, spreading Christmas cheer in the form of violently stalking a person he believes to be his dad.

Tips for Run-and-Gun Photography and Working with Natural Light

In this episode of The Slanted Lens, Jay P. Morgan is running around downtown Los Angeles capturing some product photography. He demonstrates how he is able to create interesting compositions and work with natural light to get the most usable shots possible with just a camera and a reflector.

Fstoppers Review of the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K RAW Cinema Camera

Blackmagic sent me one of their 4.6K URSA Mini Cameras to play with, and after just a few short days of messing around with it, the URSA Mini certainly made an impression. A RAW, 16-bit, 4608 pixel-wide impression to be specific. In short, this camera system is a beast, and comes at a price point that is very attractive.

Casey Neistat to Begin Producing Video Content for CNN as they Acquire 'Beme' App

Just eight days ago we posted an article about the end of Casey Neistat's daily vlog run, where he had amassed billions of views and a huge audience of followers. Now today, news is spreading about his next project: to create a new media brand that creates digital content for millenial audiences for CNN.

Tips for a Better Color Grading Workflow on Your Video Edits

For many filmmakers who are getting into raw workflows for the first time, or perhaps wanting to up their postproduction skill set, color grading can at first appear to be a big, scary monster full of weird tools and a puzzling workflow that makes college physics seem simple. In this Q&A video from Film Riot, Colorist John Carrington answers some frequently asked questions regarding his approach and process to doing color work on video footage.

Behind the Scenes of the 'Planet Earth II' Video of Snakes Chasing an Iguana

The sequel to the BBC-produced nature documentary series, "Planet Earth II," released a few clips into the wild recently to promote its U.S. release in January. You may have noticed one of these scenes making the rounds on social media in the last few days, which was a masterfully edited clip that features snakes chasing an iguana. If you were curious how they filmed some of this material, there are a few behind-the-scenes clips out that show how it was done.