recording

Recording multiple camera angles, full-size, simultaneously, on a Mac

I've been doing a lot of video production work for the past few months, both for my YouTube channel, and in helping people with their live streams, and one thing that I miss by not having dedicated (and expensive!) video production system like a NewTek TriCaster is being able to record multiple camera angles at their full resolution simultaneously on my Mac.

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There are a lot of little conveniences you get used to if you do professional live video production with high-end equipment that you often can't replicate in a budget studio... like my desk here at my house.

Making a Terminal window the right aspect ratio for streaming or recording

Recently I've been spending a bit of time producing video content of both browser windows and Terminal windows for screen recordings and livestreams on my YouTube channel.

One common issue I have to deal with is trying to optimize the aspect ratio of the window for the video dimensions. In 99% of all cases, I need the window to be 16:9. And ideally, I want the window to be recorded at 1280x720 at 2x 'retina' resolution, so when I capture the window, it will be nice and sharp at 1080p, which is my typical output resolution.

In the past, I'd open up a 1280x720 image at 2x resolution, then drag the Terminal window over it. However, getting that to be pixel perfect is sometimes frustrating, and it's always annoying since it takes me an extra 10-20 seconds per recording.

In my searching, I found this handy article from way back in 2013: How to Resize Windows on your Mac to Specific Sizes.

How I record my own conference presentations

At this year's php[tek] conference, I decided to record my own sessions (one on a cluster of Raspberry Pis, and another on tips for successfully working from home). Over the years, I've tried a bunch of different methods of recording my own presentations, and I've settled on a pretty good method to get very clear audio and visuals, so I figured I'd document my method here in case you want to do the same.

Review: iRig Mic Cast

Jeff's Rating: 3/5

tl;dr: Offers little more than the built-in iPhone microphone, but it's a good mic for the price, and is very useful in certain situations.

iRig Mic Cast on iPhone 5

Since adding my comprehensive overview of audio input and microphone options for iPhones a couple years ago, there have been many purpose-built microphones that are made particularly for smartphones. IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Cast microphone is one of these purpose-built devices.

What's a good video camera to use for short YouTube videos?

I've gotten this question enough times via email that I thought I'd create a quick blog post mentioning what I think is a good deal for a video camera setup for recording short videos, ideally with one person speaking.

In such a situation, since you probably won't see a major difference in picture quality in anything under $500, I'd skimp a little on the camera itself and just make sure the video camera you buy has an external microphone input, then buy a microphone like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 to clip onto the person being recorded.

A microphone goes a long way towards making quality video—many people think the camera's the most important part of a video recording setup, but it really isn't (unless you're doing a top-notch production!). That's how I can use the tiny iPhone camera as my primary video camera and record good videos, since the iPhone accepts external microphones so easily.

Review: Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 Wireless Lavalier System

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: A solid value for a reliable wireless mic solution. Perfect for most uses up to 35', and usually good even further away.

Audio Technica Pro-88W/T and Pro-88W/R with accessories

The Audio Technica Pro-88W lavaliere microphone system is a very good wireless lavaliere microphone system for a very low price (in comparison to most quality UHF systems). I've been able to use a wide variety of wireless gear, costing from tens to thousands of dollars, and for my money and my projects, I'm quite happy with the Pro-88W.

iPhone - A Powerful Tool for the New Evangelization

Elizabeth Westhoff, the Archdiocese of St. Louis' Director of Marketing, wrote an excellent article summarizing the many ways she and others in St. Louis are using iPhones and a shoestring budget to promote the faith through video, pictures, social media, etc.

I love this section:

The production of each of these videos is something unseen in most other archdioceses across the country and for those of us who have been involved in their production; it has been a complete labor of love with an understanding that it is yet another way of getting out the messages of Christ.

One of the most amazing things we have been able to do is to use our iPhones as recording equipment.

When one or two of us go out on these “simple” video shoots, I’m always afraid the people on the other side of the “camera” are thinking we’re not prepared, or professionals, or something else along those lines. We show up with a tripod, lights from Home Depot, a battery-operated microphone, an iPhone and nothing else. We have everything we need, really.

Review: Fostex AR-4i iPhone 4/4S Stereo Audio Interface

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: Five stars for the capabilities, four for the fit and finish. It's a great tool, but not without a few rough edges. (See note about iPhone 4S compatibility).

[UPDATE on iPhone 4S compatibility: I've heard many reports of people having trouble with the AR-4i and the iPhone 4S; my own usage indicates that there is one quirk with this combo: the wireless signals on my phone go away while plugged into the AR-4i. Example recordings with various firmwares below: