By August 28, 2013 2 Comments

Q: What are Marlene’s 3 Essential Ingredients for Successful eProducts?

For great looking, easy to make and edit eProducts, you need to get everything right “in camera”. To shoot video you need to let go of the attitude that many inexperienced raw shooters take – the shoot-loose, auto-everything, fix-it-in-Lightroom mentality.

What is an eProduct?

To quote my colleague Will Crockett, “An eProduct is a blend of photo, video and audio that is brought to life.” Today though, I’m mostly going to be talking about the video part.

The key is in the capture!

There’s no room for error. If you can shoot perfect jpg files now, then video capture will be a cinch for you.

If you are new to video capture and want to add some video clips to your eProducts, here are some tips

1. Proper exposure  

The histogram is your friend more than ever with video.

Make sure you take advantage of the full tonal range of your scene. Expose to the right side, but don’t let that histogram climb the walls or you may suffer highlight clipping. If you are not sure how to do that, read up on exposure compensation.

There is really no easy way to correct a one stop over- or under-exposure in video. We get pretty used to fixing that stuff in our raw files and sometimes that makes us sloppy shooters.

When you shoot video, it’s also good practice to lower the contrast in the camera so there is less chance of hot spots, especially on skin. Because when working with video, it’s more important than ever to get exposure and contrast right.

2. Proper white balance

You need to get white balance set correctly in camera too because fixing it in raw is not an option with video.

It’s best to choose a white balance preset or set a custom white balance (video shooters have been doing this for years), instead of relying on auto white balance for color consistency between shots. You may think your camera works great on auto white balance, but trust me, if you put your subject against different colored backgrounds, you’re going to notice a drastic shift as the camera tries to compensate for the color cast.

Unlike shooting raw files, with video your white balance can’t be off 1000 K or your color is going to stink. And it’s a lot harder to edit color in video than in stills.

And when editing your video and stills it should to be done on a color calibrated monitor so that your eProduct looks great on different computers screens, iPads and cell phones, and will match your prints too.

3. Good lighting

Light has quantity and quality and is related to exposure, as you know. You need a high enough quantity of light so that you can shoot with a low-ish ISO to avoid problems with noise.

High ISO = High noise.

The color temperature (WB) of your lights also has to match if you’re using more than one light source, or blending window light and fill light.

If you are working outdoors in natural light, you might need to use a neutral density filter on your video capture, especially if you like shallow depth of field, and it’s a sunny day. Because the shutter speed you use for video is usually 1/60 or 1/50 second. The ND filter will cut down on the brightness without changing color.

Think like a jpg shooter

Rule of thumb: You’ve got to think like a jpg shooter when capturing video.

The better your photo and video captures are, the easier and faster your editing will be, and the better looking final product you’re going to get.

That means happy clients.

That means referrals.

That means success for you.

I’ll be talking about each of these topics in more specific detail in future blog posts, and my colleagues will also talk about audio considerations. But this is all new for many of you, and I wanted to begin with visuals, the part we as photographers know best.

If you are new here, please sign up for our VIP Access. Go to the top of the right side column to do so.

I look forward to your comments and questions.

About the Author:

With over 20 years as a pro shooting editorial, sports, corporate and industrial photography, Marlene Hielema has become comfortable with the craft of digital output. As a photo and video tinkerer and troubleshooter, Marlene enjoys relaying the practical uses of photo and video hardware and software that you might not find on the manufacturer's or software publisher's websites. Thousands have seen her work on YouTube and her popular site where Marlene teaches photography and photo editing online, in the classroom, and one-to-one. Find out more about what Marlene can help you with here on discovermirrorless, as well as and

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