Monday, May 4, 2009

Sermon - Easter 4 2009

Another short homily. Mainly I was speaking to the sense in which ministry (of all the baptized) is as much about the mundane and ordinary as it is about the extraordinary and interesting. It seemed like a useful point to make in response to the "Good Shepherd" texts of the morning.

Some tech notes of the video. Audio is not as good as normal because I forgot to start the little digital audio recorder! So rather than having a very nice little stereo microphone two feet from my mouth (and "off-axis"), the only thing I had to work with was on the camera 45 feet away. The HV20 has only an average microphone built-in, and I haven't yet invested in an external solution besides my little M-Audio recorder (which does a fine job when I remember to turn it on). So I did mess around with the audio in Soundbooth, but there is only so much you can do with bad mic/placement combo!

Notice that versus some of the other videos I have taken from this angle, this one is a bit sharper and less "over-zoomed." That's because I added a "tele-converter" lens (Canon TL-H43) to the camera. It simply screws into the front and adds a 1.7X magnification to the zoom. I added a UV/Haze filter as well, which might make a slightly better image, also.

I've been thinking a lot about lighting. You can learn a lot by studing the so-called Three-Point Lighting that forms the basic paradigm. Even better than the Wikipedia article is the tutorial on the Lowell website--it includes a "simulator" to demonstrate how placement of the three classic lights (Key, Fill, and Back) changes the composition. They also have much more advanced lessons in lighting for interviews, etc.

In my setup, the light coming in from the video is effectively the key light. The ambient light (maybe 50% reflected sun and 50% Tungsten bulbs in the ceiling) acts as the fill. The colour temperature difference between the two sources does tend to throw off the white balance a little. On "Auto White Balance" the camera picks a middle between the "cold" tungsten and "warm" sun light, and the result is that some of white highlights (being lit by the sun) come out with a bluish tint. Adjusting the whole image to shift warmer would mean making the areas getting more fill light (from the lights above) too orange. Luckily, in Premiere Pro you can adjust colour balance on mid tones and highlights separately, which solves this problem rather neatly.

Another issue with this natural lighting, however, is exposure. Basically, the ratio of relative brightness between what is striking the window-side of my face versus the other side is greater than would be desirable in this shot. I could fix that with a light shining from the other side, but I don't have such a light! The other possibility would be to use a reflector, but that would be obnoxious. So what ends up happening is that white on my vestments gets overexposed. But, hey, I can live with that!

Is this sort of thing important for a priest to know? Yes, if that priest wants to use multimedia to grow the church!

Here's the audio...

Here's a direct link to the MP3 file...


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