What's in this session?

  • 1. Sharpness is the most important thing (0:39)
  • 2. Movement is how great shots are made (3:01)
  • 3. Noise is bad (3:59)
  • 4. On-camera mic was sufficient (5:18)
  • 5. Lens flares make everything awesome (6:55)

Show notes and resources

Free Bonus: Click here to download The iPhone Church Photography Case Study – learn to shoot stunning photos for your church with only your phone

The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less, you’ll get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while we navigate the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills. I’m joined, as always, by the boss man, it’s Brady Shearer. Today, we’re talking about five beliefs about creating videos that are completely wrong.

Brady Shearer: These are five beliefs, Alex, that I 100% used to hold as true.

Alex Mills: Okay.

Brady Shearer: Let’s dive right in. The first thing that I thought was 100% true about creating videos that is just not is that sharpness, sharpness of my video, was the most important thing about the overall look of it. I remember when I first started creating videos how much I cared about the detail in the actual frame. I remember I had a Panasonic GH2, and back in the day, this was just as DSLRs were entering the marketplace as viable options for creating videos, and GH2 was technically a micro 4/3’s camera, beside the point. The GH2 had this hack, and if you hacked it, you could up the bit rate of the video that was being captured.

Basically, let’s say every second a footage had 50 MB. Well, if you did the GH2 hack, you could get every second of 200 MB. When it was capturing that much more detail, you’d have that much more sharpness. That’s what I thought was the most important thing. The problem with this belief is that I completely overlooked the three things that are most important-

Alex Mills: Yeah. Everything else, yeah.

Brady Shearer: -when it comes to the overall look of your video. Number one being the lighting, number two the dynamic range, and number three the colors. All I cared about was resolution, sharpness, detail, and I completely paid no attention to dynamic range, lighting and color, the three most important things that actually contribute to the look of your video.

Alex Mills: You know what? You’ll notice this, too, if you watch, if you pay attention to feature films or even television shows. You’ll notice that images aren’t always sharp. They’ll use a clip that’s not fully in focus, but everything else about that clip … When you’re using talent, especially when it’s a film or a television show that acting is a big variable, so if the actor nails this take and the camera is a little bit off, they’ll use that clip and not value the sharpness over the light or, like you said, the dynamic range or even the acting, the talent in that clip. They’ll use something that’s not sharp because it’s not of primary value over some of those things.

Brady Shearer: You can shoot with a 6K camera, a 4.6K camera, or you can shoot with a 720 iPhone. If the lighting and dynamic range and color of the iPhone are locked in, and the lighting is whack on the other 4.6K camera, and the colors aren’t great, and the dynamic range is like the highlights are blown out, it doesn’t matter that it’s four times as much resolution because that just doesn’t matter as much as the other things.

Alex Mills: Yep.

Brady Shearer: Second thing I believed to be true that was completely untrue, movement is how great shots are made. I was such a gear glutton when I first got into video. One of the biggest purchases my church made at the very beginning was a crane, a video crane.

Alex Mills: I think it’s classic.

Brady Shearer: This was before [Gimbles 00:03:15] existed-

Alex Mills: Oh my gosh, or drones.

Brady Shearer: Oh, and drones, of course, which have now replaced them. I had this giant crane that I set up and I was like, “Now my camera can rise into the sky!” I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so much so that I neglected what was actually in my frame. I was like, “Look, as long as my camera is sliding, as long as my frame is gliding, as long as my crane is rising, that’s all that matters.”

Alex Mills: I mean, look at how smooth it is.

Brady Shearer: Slow mo, flying through the air. Steady cam life.

Alex Mills: Yeah, it doesn’t matter.

Brady Shearer: No, it does not matter. If there’s no emotion in the scene, if the frame isn’t capturing something that’s interesting, you cannot make up for that with cool gimmickry motion and movement.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: That was something that I did not know and was completely wrong about. The third thing I was wrong about. I used to think that any noise, meaning digital noise, meaning digital grain, was the enemy. I would de-noise my footage to the nth degree, so much so that it would look like plastic, clear coated, glossy-

Alex Mills: Yeah, like a pastel painting.

Brady Shearer: Yeah. It was like, “No grain! Nailed it!” One of the things that we do every single year at Pro Church Tools is we host a big Oscars party, and so I have been seeing all the Oscar films. Up to this point, I’ve seen all … I’m sorry. I’ve seen nine out of ten. One of those films was Lady Bird, and Lady Bird, whatever camera it was captured on, I’m not 100% certain, likely actual film, the film is incredibly grainy. It has a ton of noise.

Now, there is a difference between digital noise and grain within a film, but the point is that you don’t need your video to completely lack grain, to completely lack noise, to make a good image. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t properly expose your image. You want to minimize noise as much as possible, but you don’t need to eliminate noise. That was the thing that I got wrong. I always thought that noise needed to be completely eliminated for a good shot to exist. No, just minimize it as much as you can through proper exposure, the exposure triangle, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Beyond that, just work with what you have.

Alex Mills: For sure.

Brady Shearer: The fourth thing I was completely wrong about, I thought that an on-camera mic was sufficient for capturing quality audio.

Alex Mills: Not quite.

Brady Shearer: It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyways, audio quality, much more important to your overall video than video quality.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: We, as consumers of film and video, are very willing to sit through a picture with good … Sorry, good audio and bad video. We are not willing to do the inverse.

Alex Mills: No.

Brady Shearer: If the audio is junk and poor quality, it doesn’t matter if it’s 4K, beautiful dynamic range, color, and sharpness, and everything in between with the video if the audio is bad. We did, one of the first videos that I did was a talking man on the street type of video where I would stop someone, a stranger on the street and be like, “What do you think about hope?” True. That’s a question I asked.

Alex Mills: I hope that wasn’t an actual question.

Brady Shearer: In this video, for those listening, I actually held out a mic to you. That’s not actually what I did. I had an on-camera mic, like a road video mic plugged into my camera six feet away. Do you know how hard it is as an 18-year-old to stop people on the street in the busiest part of your million-person city and say, “Tell me about hope.” It’s not easy. It’s even more difficult when you get back into the video editing suite-

Alex Mills: And you can’t hear anything.

Brady Shearer: -and realize that your audio is so junk. As much post-production, as much noise reduction, as much everything isolating the sound, just couldn’t make up for it.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: What I didn’t recognize was one, the pristine importance of audio quality, but secondly, an on-camera mic more than a foot or two away is just not going to work. You want a shotgun mic out of the frame, just above the frame, or even a handheld mic if that’s not possible. Get good quality audio.

Alex Mills: For sure.

Brady Shearer: Final mistake that I made, a belief that I held true about video that was completely untrue. I thought lens flares made everything awesome.

Alex Mills: This one’s classic.

Brady Shearer: That same video, “What do you think about hope, Alex?” As I was editing all of those together, I used lens flares for everything.

Alex Mills: Oh, yeah. Transition.

Brady Shearer: I was like transition, lens flare. Covering up the fact that I blew out the sky because I didn’t understand exposure, lens flare.

Alex Mills: Lens flare.

Brady Shearer: Intro, a lens flare.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: Outro, flare on flare on flare on flare on flare. I just thought they were so cool.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: But I’m not JJ Abrams, and I do not understand how to actually use them excessively but also well. I just use them as a crutch. A thing I thought was awesome but was not.

Alex Mills: Yeah. That one is, lens flares are a thing in the still photo world as well, which is a big part of my world.

Brady Shearer: Flares on flares on flares?

Alex Mills: Flares on flares, and lens flares, a lot of these things can be considered. Lens flares can be used very artistically and effectively, but like you said, when you lean on it as a crutch, it’s just it’s no good.

Brady Shearer: I hope that me sharing the mistakes that I made just getting into the video world can hopefully help you as well. We all make mistakes somewhere when we’re first getting started, but my buddy Sean Cannell over at Video Influencer, is a great YouTube channel to follow by the way, said something that really stood out to me the other week that said, “Start before you’re ready.” He showed the first video that he ever did on YouTube.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: He’s great on camera now. He was not when he first started. Go to the beginning of this YouTube channel. Watch my first videos. For some reason, I’m always looking straight into the sky, pointing my chin to … I’m pointing my chin as high as I raise my crane apparently.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: Start before you’re ready, make mistakes, learn from them and move on.

Alex Mills: There you go.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for today’s episode of Pro Church Daily, but we’re doing a bunch of giveaways this month that we’d love for you to be a part of. We want you to be eligible to win the things that we are giving away. What are we giving away? It’s a secret.

Alex Mills: Yeah, but what do I have to do to be eligible?

Brady Shearer: How do you find out the secret? You follow @BradyShearer on Instagram.

Alex Mills: Nice.

Brady Shearer: Watch the stories, engage with the posts, you’ll be eligible to win. @BradyShearer on Instagram. Thanks for watching today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. As always, we’ll see you tomorrow. Hey, thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the Pro Church podcast for new podcasts just like this one every single day, and if you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much, but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow.

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