When purchasing used goods, exercise prudence and caution

With the recent break-in and theft over at LensProToGo we thought it would be helpful to write a post regarding purchasing used photo and video gear, and how to best protect yourself from sticky legal situations. Buying stolen goods is bad, and unfortunately you could take some legal responsibility if you are caught with products that are registered in stolen goods databases. While this is not legal advisory by any means (speak with a lawyer), we offer this as prudent precaution for newcomers to the photography and videography fields. Or any industry, business or individual that purchases second-hand, used goods for that matter. There are a few simple steps you can do to protect yourself when buying used goods! Here are some recommendations; Continue reading “When purchasing used goods, exercise prudence and caution” »

Advantages of transparent pricing listed on your website

Transparent pricing is an all around win for service professionals. This may not have been the case a decade ago, but it most certainly is true today. We so often hear seasoned professionals advising others to keep pricing secret until a customer contacts you directly. I’ve even heard of some businesses issuing warnings to customers not to share pricing information, and even full non-discloser agreements before offering prices!

Continue reading “Advantages of transparent pricing listed on your website” »

Getting started with storage. Understanding SAN vs NAS vs DAS.

Trying to wrap your head around advanced storage solutions for your home office or business? Not sure where to begin, what the differences are, or even heard of our friends SAN, NAS, and DAS?

I was there many years ago and share your sense of overwhelming anxiety. Storage is a complicated topic. It requires planning. Long term thinking. It’s a slow decision, so don’t get too eager. Designing a storage solution should not be taken lightly, especially by business users with important data at stake. Bad decisions can not only be costly, but extremely devastating. In fact, many businesses never recover from storage mistakes!  Continue reading “Getting started with storage. Understanding SAN vs NAS vs DAS.” »

Videographer dress code at Vanilla Video

Vanilla Video has no official dress code for office based positions, e.g., editors, customer support, engineers. Employees based entirely in-office can generally wear whatever makes them happiest and most productive. We like working in a friendlier and more laid back work environment, it’s just less stressful and keeps politics out of the way. However, we do have a dress code for on-location personnel. Our standard dress generally applies to videographers, production crews, and any team member conducting official business on behalf of Vanilla Video (meetings, logistics and backup, purchasing, etc.) Continue reading “Videographer dress code at Vanilla Video” »

How depth of field (DOF) occurs in optics

In film, photography and videography, depth of field is the distance between objects that appear acceptably sharp in an image. Creative professionals use depth of field as an aesthetic tool; making use of shallow or deep focus for various applications. Shallow focus allows subjects to be isolated from the background, while deep focus can be nearly infinite. Continue reading “How depth of field (DOF) occurs in optics” »

Refresh rates explained: 60Hz, 120Hz & more

A refresh rate is the number of times per second that a monitor draws data. This is not to be confused with frame rate, which is the rate at which a device produces a unique image. Rather, a refresh rate is how many times per second an image is displayed. Refresh rates are usually measured by hertz (cycles per second). So, a monitor that produces an image 60 times per second has a 60Hz refresh rate. Continue reading “Refresh rates explained: 60Hz, 120Hz & more” »

The Difference: Videography vs Cinematography

Many have asked: what’s the difference between a videographer and a cinematographer? Distinguishing between these two terms has many buyers understandably confused and frustrated. There’s a discrepancy between the actual definitions of the terms and how they’re being re-defined in the marketing of video companies and freelancers. The unfortunate truth for customers is that, depending on how each company / freelancer uses the terms, there may or may not be a difference. Continue reading “The Difference: Videography vs Cinematography” »

A DSLR won’t make you a video professional

Due to advancements in CMOS sensor technology, DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras developed video capabilities with the release of Nikon’s D90 and Canon’s 5D Mark II in 2008. These cameras created a tidal wave in the video industry because they gave users the ability to film 1080p HD video on large image sensors—something only capable with infinitely more expensive, pro-grade equipment. DSLRs also opened up videographers and filmmakers to decades of SLR-mount lenses previously only available for photography. Continue reading “A DSLR won’t make you a video professional” »

Shutter speed and shutter angle explained

A shutter is a mechanical device inside of a camera that exposes film (or an electronic sensor) to the light passing through the lens for a controlled period of time. Shutter speed primarily refers to a focal-plane shutter, found in professional-grade photo cameras, while shutter angle refers to a rotary shutter, found in motion picture cameras. Continue reading “Shutter speed and shutter angle explained” »

Why 100% upfront payment is better for both parties

In the early days of our videography startup we had a 10% down payment, with the remaining 90% due a 7 days prior to the service date. We then slowly began experimenting with 25% down, then the classic 50/50 split payment, and finally 100% upfront payment at the time of order. Overall, we’ve found full upfront payment to be both the most convenient for customers and the most efficient for our company. Continue reading “Why 100% upfront payment is better for both parties” »

The high costs of freelance videographers & photographers

Many consumers wonder why photographers and videographers are so expensive. Since Vanilla Video is one of the most affordable videographers in Chicago, I thought we could share some insight into the costs associated with videography and help explain why the photo and video industries are so expensive to do business in. Continue reading “The high costs of freelance videographers & photographers” »

A quick intro to I-frames and GOP in video codecs

I-Frame and GOP are video codec terms. When a video is encoded to be viewed on TV, YouTube, Blu-Ray or any other streaming method, it needs to be compressed. If you’re watching a video at 24 frames-per-second, you’re not really seeing 24 full pictures. Instead, you’re seeing sets of GOP (Group of Pictures) composed of inter frames (I-frames), predicted frames (P-frames) and bi-directionally predicted frames (B-frames).  Depending on the codec, a GOP could consist of upwards of 15 frames. Continue reading “A quick intro to I-frames and GOP in video codecs” »

Basic rules for shooting better footage

As imaging technology develops, camera prices continually drop. Now, a consumer-grade camcorder can have an aesthetic that’s surprisingly appealing. And now that DSLRs shoot video, film-like video is at our fingertips. This has made consumers very excited and professionals very cynical. An independent filmmaker once told me, “The good news is; everyone can shoot a movie now. The bad news is; everyone can shoot a movie now.” Continue reading “Basic rules for shooting better footage” »

5 Best practices for wedding videographers

Remember that American Express commercial with Martin Scorsese from five or six years ago? You know the one where he’s standing at the one-hour photo counter and critiquing his recently developed shots? He looks up at the associate and says “What was I thinking? It’s just not working.” He looks at another photo, “This one… interesting. It’s far too nostalgic.” “Unavoidable,” he finally says, “got to re-shoot.” Then he turns and pulls out his cell phone: “Hey Timmy, it’s your uncle Marty. How would you like to turn five again?” Continue reading “5 Best practices for wedding videographers” »