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Original Articles Written by Mike Wilkinson

Fstoppers Review of the Shimoda Explore 60 Adventure Photography Backpack

I’d like to introduce you to the Shimoda Adventure Camera bags, specifically, the Explore 60. It’s a backpack that’s built for outdoor adventure photographers and filmmakers, and has options for 60L and 40L versions. Never heard of it? Well, I’m sure you have used or seen some of the gear that Shimoda’s lead designer has previously worked on. I’ll tell you about this and more in my full review.

Preproduction: All the Things You Need to Do Before Every Video or Photo Job

Whether you’re about to head out for a day of shooting some corporate videos, producing a multiday lifestyle photoshoot, or even traveling abroad for a project, as a filmmaker or photographer you’ll likely have to do a fair amount of prep, called preproduction. This article will summarize a number of things that you should think about and probably not forget to do before leaving for your next job.

Which Video Camera Would You Buy Today? Here’s a Comparison of 4K Systems from Canon, Sony, and Others

Every time I’m on a set or grabbing coffee with another local filmmaker, we always end up talking gear for a bit, and inevitably the question comes up of “What camera would you buy if you had to buy right now, and why?” I decided to research things a bit and put together an article that explains what I’d buy if I absolutely had to right now, and the answer might surprise you.

Documentary Film Explains Why Apple Killed FCP7 - But Will It Be Anything More Than a Promo for Final Cut X?

There’s an interesting documentary in the works if you’re a video editor. With an obvious pun for the title, "Off the Tracks" interviews professional editors, trainers, and application developers to dig into why Apple made such a shift, when their existing app suite was already successful. I’ll provide some background, but also some editorial commentary below, as I feel like this documentary has potential to either be very interesting or completely pointless.

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.

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.

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.