Creating the Look and Atmosphere for your Camera
And getting the most from your equipment
It’s Christmas planning season and many of our friends and customers have found themselves in a different place with their technology than they had ever dreamed they would be. Where many people had planned on making small upgrades this year, they instead found themselves making entire changes to how they go about working with or reaching people. Some of our customers are still waiting, months later, for their system upgrades to come in stock. If anyone waited just a few weeks after the first COVID-19 challenges to make large video system improvements, there was already a massive delay in the industry. Normally, this time of year we encourage everyone to finalize their Christmas upgrade plans and ideas so we can get items ordered, but most have either already ordered or video equipment is so backordered into next year there may not be an opportunity, even now,  to get the project done. So, where do we start in this new world as we go into the Christmas season? Especially, for churches with production on the horizon? The crew at Lambda would like to suggest two areas to focus on: training and lighting.  
Why training instead of equipment? With many churches making major technological changes to their video or audio infrastructure, it may be time to invest in training to really focus on taking advantage of all the features your system has. Most initial installation trainings cover, at most, 60% of the maximum capability of the system. Wait, why hold back? Purely because you can only absorb so much info in a two- or three-hour period of time. On top of that, focusing on what you need to get done each week for Sunday services limits your time to really learn and experiment with new systems. If you have an all new equipment setup, we recommend two things. The first is to dig up or find online the manuals or as we call it “El Manuel”. If you haven’t heard us talk about this before, click HERE! Reading the manual is the single best place to start learning what each button does and how it can affect what you do. It’s where we always start! The second thing you can do is to schedule a training class with us! We have experts in every area of audio, video, and lighting and can offer flexible options to help your team reach the maximum potential of their gear. The holiday season could be a great time to show off the new skills you learn.
Why lighting instead of equipment? Lighting is the next area we suggest looking at or investing in for the season. Video cameras, switchers and other gear are only half the story when it comes to communicating your vision to an online audience. Lighting helps the camera to see your vision. Lighting is how you create a look and shape the atmosphere in the room. An aging lighting system or one with the wrong fixtures may be holding back your new video systems abilities.  
In evaluating your system, there are two important areas to really look at: your wash lighting and your creative or background lighting. Wash lighting is made up of all the lights or “fixtures” used to illuminate whoever is on stage. The purpose of this lighting is important in the room, but is even more important on the stream. Cameras tend to highlight whenever lighting is inconsistent or too dim. A camera that struggles with clarity and focus is really struggling with light. One way to improve this is adding a few new LED front lights or backlights, specifically lensed to provide evenness and brightness to the stage. Clear, well illuminated faces do wonders for an online audience and good backlight helps to set people apart from busy stage backgrounds and will add even more clarity to the scene. To solve these two problems, we recommend our Zebra LED warm white ellipsoidal stage lights for front lights and for backlight we recommend our Zebra LED fresnels.  

On the creative or background side of lighting, we like to work with two other things that lighting can do for us. Those are color and texture.  Texture in background lighting helps us create variance and make things look less flat. Think soft light through windowpanes or that same light through dust or interesting openings in a building or the pattern made by light through leaves on a tree. To do texture we use Gobos which are really like cookie cutters for light to pass through to make shapes. We use moving lens spotlights to create rays with these Gobos and even add haze to make those rays stand out even more.  

Color helps us to add definition to shapes and dynamics on stage and even change the mood. The ability to change and move color across the stage can take a scene and completely transform it. For texture we recommend the new Zebra LED spot movers, and for color we recommend the same LED studio fresnels mentioned for backlights above and the new octagon battens to set off interesting stage designs.
We hope this has been helpful information and direction for a certainly different year than we thought, but also maybe one that equips your employees or volunteers to leverage their systems better and provide new creative avenues through lighting!

The Black Magic Pocket 4k and 6k camera are some of our favorite pieces of gear that we use and install. This is evident by how often you see us talk and post about them. They are extremely versatile, and their price point makes them very accessible to a broad range of budgets.  

One of the hurdles that occurs though when using the pocket 4k and 6k in live productions, is the lack of ability to control the camera settings from a remote camera control panel. This is something that, while not necessary for everyone, is crucial in making sure your camera colors match throughout the duration of your live production.  
The Middle Things APC (ATEM Pocket Control) Solves this problem. The Middle Things APC allows you to control your BMPCC 4k and 6k over SDI with your ATEM switcher and camera control panel. This integration allows you to keep your workflow the same across the BMPCC 4k/6k and the Ursa Mini cameras. The APC gives you control over the Shutter, Iris, WB, Gain, Some Primary color correction and Zoom. The APC does this by converting the SDI Program out (that has the control data) from your switcher to Bluetooth control. This Bluetooth control signal is then sent to the connected BMPCC. 
The APC further adds to the versatility of the Blackmagic pocket cinema camera 4k/6k and opens up possibilities for it to be even more creativity implemented in live productions. 

Want to learn more about color correction? You're in luck! Lambda has a color correction expert on our team who can help get your cameras matched! Call or email for more! 719-629-7905