The rule of thirds: imaginary lines are drawn dividing the image into thirds.
The most important elements are placed where these lines intersect
In addition to using the intersections, it also helps to use a 2 to 1 ratio by dividing the image both horizontally and vertically into thirds. Images that are completely centered are static.
Instead, when placing the horizon line of a landscape, or the eye line of a person, use the lower or upper third as an approximate guide.
Here is a great example of something we shot recently-
This is not to say that completely centered images are bad but as you know “you must know the rules in order to break them.”
When I was in graduate school, I took a course actually entitled Creativity: the Person and the Process. Unfortunately, I learned a lot of fascinating things in that semester that I have since forgotten. Fortunately, I have learned far more on the topic in the years since. So you’re a creative, but what do you know about creativity? Some of what you know might be wrong. This tutorial of sorts will debunk a few myths about who we are and what we do—the person and the process of creativity.
Creativity is right-brained.
True creativity requires both left and right-brained functions. For something to generally be considered creative, it must be both original and useful. During the creative process, your brain tosses tiny bits of inspiration and input back and forth like ping-pong played with a revolving Rubik’s cube. Ideas require both divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking supplies the infinite possibilities and convergent thinking pares those choices down to the best solutions—whether it’s choosing the right color scheme, choreographing a dance, or programming some terrifically tight code. It’s in the novel connections between the two that infant ideas are conceived and birthed.
Creativity equals art.
The strength of a person’s creative power has little to do with traditional artistic ability. Evidence of this art bias is woven into our culture though—if you draw, dance, design, or are an artist by trade you’re somehow more creative than everyone else. Untrue. Creativity testing done on musicians and engineers uncovered similar curves, highs, and lows—revealing really creative musicians and engineers but really uncreative ones in each group, too. Creative expression emerges in non-artistic arenas like diagnosing a complicated illness or connecting the dots to reveal new patterns of data.
Creatives are dark and moody.
When we envision creative geniuses, it’s easy to picture brooding Beethovens or skulking Einsteins. But traits like depression, anxiety, and negativity actually shut down creativity. Although contentment is a luxury many creatives seldom afford themselves, you’ll find the best of us to be open-minded, engaged, and energetic explorers. No matter how creative you are or aren’t, immature behaviors can be a crippling crutch. Being a pain in the butt doesn’t mean you’re more creative. Being inspired should be inspiring.
Creatives are just born that way.
You can always become more creative than you are. Educational research confirms that people of all ages and stages can improve their creative ability. Anytime you’re about to start a session where you need to create—like a brainstorming meeting, starting a design project, or writing a tutorial—a great way to get your creative juices flowing is to play. My favorite is a divergent thinking game called, “What else could it be?” Simply pick up any item within grasp and list all of the other things you could imagine it as—a CD could be something benign like a coaster or the rings around Saturn. In a group setting, pass the item around the circle a few times taking turns. For convergent thinking, you may find it fun to force yourself to fit within an artificial constraint. Maybe try to see how many sentences you can write without using the letter f (like this one was up until that last letter). But the best way to improve creativity is to reduce the activities that put your brain into Neutral. Anything that feels mind-numbing probably is.
What have you learned about creativity? Do share.
If I am going to do something, I rarely look for the simplest way to do it. I
want to use the coolest programs that give the best of the best outputs. I
am a program nerd like that.
However, I end up wasting a lot of time moving from program to program when
I can get it all done at one place. It’s like the time I got some tacos and
my oil changed at the same place. Don’t judge me, they were tasty tacos.
I want to show you how to save time and color correct your footage right
in Final Cut. You can get some pretty sweet looks right in Final Cut with out
sending your footage to Color or After Effects. They are both ballin’
programs, but sometimes you have to put that stuff out quick and in a hurry.
I’m going to go over how I get a quick “look” inside Final Cut for my
I’m going to use a different model today.
This is Austin and he is the quarterback for the University of Southern
Mississippi, which I live down the street from. He may not be as pretty
as Kelly from the last tutorial, but you work with what you’ve got……. Just
kidding Austin, you are very pretty too.
I have already gone over setting up decent lighting for an interview in
my 3 point lighting blog, so go check that out. We still want to give our
video a some pop. First lets move into a color correction layout.
Now we can see our histogram. A histogram plots every pixel in the
shot on a graph according to its brightness. You can see were Austin and
the chair are in the histogram because those pixels are a good bit brighter
than the background, and they are in the center of the screen.
What we need to do is use the 3 Way Color Corrector filter to set our
“Primary Color Correction”. That means we just want to make sure that
blacks and whites are at the appropriate levels. You don’t want your whites
to go over the 100% mark on the histogram or else they will be blown out.
The same with the blacks, you want them sitting on the 0% line.
Lets use the sliders under the Blacks area to lower the blacks so it is
sitting on 0% and do the same for the Whites so that no pixels go over 100%.
Congratulations, you just did a Primary Color Correction. Don’t pop
that champagne yet, we have a little bit more to do.
I like to give a really strong look to my baptism videos. It is a good
way of branding them to give some connection to them all. All we are going
to do here is pull down the saturation in the saturation slider and drag the
little balls in the color wheels towards blue in the Mids and Whites.
Viola, you have a “look”. Now in the time line you can copy that layer
and use the “paste attributes” to apply the 3 Way Color Corrector filter to all
your clips. You can even save it as a preset and pull it out when ever you want.
If you don’t have the time to do your color correction in Color or AE or a one
billion dollar Da Vinci system, keep it all in the family and do that stuff
in Final Cut.
If you have any question feel free to shoot me an email at
A lot of us who work in churches will, with out a doubt, end up
shooting boat loads of interviews. Not just a canoe sized amount, but
a full on Spanish galleon load. I’ve probably shot over 100 in the
last year, and the one element that I spend the most time on is
lighting. Lighting is that not so secret secret to shooting great
video, and good news, it’s not that hard to get a decent set up.
I’m going to cover a basic 3-point lighting set up. It’s the bread
and butter of lighting for video and something you should have a good
Here is a shot of my friend Kelly under the rooms fluorescent lights.
I know, gross! Not Kelly, but the lighting. Lets start off by turning
those bad boys off and get some real lighting going.
First up is our key light. It is the light doing most of the
illumination on our subject. Set up your key light to get a good
general wash on your subject. I prefer a defused light for my key
But look at all these deep shadows. No sir, that just won’t do. In
comes our fill light to save the day. The fill light goes on the
opposite side of the key light and fills in all the shadows that the
key light creates. I always set the fill light’s intensity much lower
than the key light because where those two lights overlap you could
get some hotspots. Again, go for a soft light on this one.
Everything is lit, but she still feels a little flat. That’s why we
bring in our third light, the back light (I’ve heard it called a rim
light too). We set this light behind and off center of the subject to
create a highlight around the contours of their body. This helps our
subject pop out from the background.
Also, if you want to shoot for
that whole “Hidden Identity” feel you can use only a back light. It
will give you the outline of your subject with out revealing their
identity….. In case one of your church members is on the run from
the feds or something like that.
The goal it to have a nice even lighting with no deep shadows and a
clearly defined subject.
Quick note, if you don’t own a lighting kit, use what ever kinds of
lights you have and follow this set up. I know that sometimes all you
have is two matches taped together and a flashlight, so use what
you’ve got. By the way, that is actually how they shot one scene in
the original Rambo.
If you have any question feel free to shoot me an email at
The Aperture of a lens refers to the amount of light the lens can let in
The more open the aperture the more light that comes in
The more open the aperture the smaller the f-stop #
A smaller aperture means that things can be in focus over a wide distance
The Lower the fstop the larger the aperture the narrower the DOF
Slower lenses create more photo blurring and lens diffraction
So the higher the fstop the smaller the aperture size the slower
the shutter speed and the wider the DOF
I am sick this week so I decided to write up the blog this week so you don’t have to
hear me hack. This week I wanted to get more in depth with the camera starting with
lenses. This first lens blog will be on focal length in the next few weeks I will talk
about zoom, aperture, shutter speed, and iso and how they all affect your lens. But for
now lets get to focal length.
The focal length of a lens determines what the angle of view is and how much
magnification is present in the picture. Wide angle lenses have small focal lengths,
while telephoto lenses have longer focal lengths.
Perspective will usually determine someone’s choice in focal length. Note how the subject
is relatively the same with drastic differences to the background. The camera would
have to be moved back and forth to get these same perspective sizes depending on
the size of the lens. The larger the mm the further back you need to go the smaller
the mm the closer to the subject you would need to be in order to get this perspective.
The table below helps provide an overview of what focal lengths are required to be
considered a wide angle or telephoto lens.
Lens Focal Lengths
Less than 21 mm Extreme Wide Angle
21-35 mm Wide Angle
35-70 mm Normal
70-135 mm Medium Telephoto
135-300+ mm Telephoto
Some other factors you may want to consider with lens focal length:
Telephoto lenses are more susceptible to camera shake. This is primarily because slight
movements are magnified with distance.
Wide angle lenses are more resistant to flare because they assume wide angle lenses would
more often include the sun in the shot.