Given the world-wide sweep of the current lockdown, we are all communicating from home. At first, we kept things really simple and just used onboard computer cameras and audio. But as time has gone on, and zooming etc. has become part of our lifestyle, we upped our game here at the studio a bit. Got a lot of questions on how we were doing things. So here’s a look at our workstation, and the various bits and pieces we have conjured to make a reliable and consistent appearance when called upon.
First up, the camera. The computer camera works fine in a pinch, to be sure, and we have used it. But you have to be careful with that puppy, as it is: A) not a high quality optic, and B) tends to distort. If I get too close to that thing I tend to look like Shamu with lips. So, a more flattering approach is to get your own camera, and locate it not only where you as the subject are a respectful distance, but the background has a measure of dignity and grace. (Hence we are located in an area where you don’t see my superhero posters as the backdrop.)
Camera of choice is the Z6, with a 24-70 f4 lens. Auto-focus is activated, as is the eye detect mode. Really does well tracking even small movements and presenting a clean image. It is mounted on a small Gitzo Traveler tripod, mounted on their center ball head, again, Traveler style, for the smaller size. This arrangement gives the camera a super sturdy base.
Lighting. My workstation faces a big window, and the outdoor intensity varies dramatically. Hence we put up a Lastolite HaloCompact Diffuser. Can’t say enough about the robust nature of this piece of gear. Hard to believe it folds down in a bag much smaller than your average sized shaving kit. The Manfrotto Lykos Bi-Color LED panel glows through the diffuser, and produces a really nice light, which I am in desperate need of. The Halo is held up by a Manfrotto Magic arm and super clamp, and the Lykos is boomed in by an Avenger C-stand.
Annie shot a quick smart phone video where I’m able to talk through the setup.
It makes for a comfortable way to go live on a zoom, and the grip gear and tripod are versatile enough to configure in such a way as to not impede a normal working day in the office. Hit a couple switches, and we can be up and running when needed. If we have to roam, and go mobile, Annie takes over the video documentation with her smart phone and uses the Joby Telepod, with a Beamo light and a Wavo mike.
Strategies from the home workstation. Looking forward to being back in the field, hopefully, soon. Hope all are well and staying safe!