We don’t have a “proper” studio space per say, but we just use whatever space we can find; usually just a room with a plain wall as the background, or against a vinyl backdrop. We prefer this setting since it allows us to control the environment (lighting and sound); as opposed to a salon or outdoor setting.
Our equipment are in the medium budget or “prosumer” range.
We use the Lumix GH2 with various Micro Four Thirds lenses. This hybrid camera has a dedicated video function which enables full manual operation. The processor is optimized for video, and it records in a lossless compressed format (AVCHD) which retains a lot of quality at 17 Mbps. We normally record at 1080p 24fps, for the “cinematic” feel.
We have a field monitor to enable the models to see themselves on camera footage from far.
We use a camera-mounted Rode shotgun microphone as the primary sound recorder. We have a secondary Zoom Q3 condenser microphone positioned closer to the subject for better clarity. Both are directional microphones to ensure we capture mostly what the camera sees, and reduce background noise.
We use two 60 cm x 60 cm softboxes (cheap China brands from eBay). Each of them contain four 135 W CFL bulbs. In total, we have over 1000 Watts of CFL power. They are as bright as outdoors on an overcast day. The reason we use such bright lights is so that we can bring the camera gain as low as possible for low noise, and also close down the aperture to the “sweet spot” for optimal sharpness. With these lights positioned one meter from the subject, our camera exposure settings are as follows:
ISO = 400
Aperture = f/5.6 (when fully zoomed)
Shutter speed = 1/50 s (this always stays the same for our 24 fps video)
We use swivel bar stools with adjustable height. This way, we can seat the model to whatever height we want, and also rotate them around to show different angles. This way, the camera and lights are static, while the model rotates.
We also use a white polyester cape. Most of our models have dark hair, so the hair contrasts very well against the white cape. The polyester material is also a good “loud” acoustic material when hair slides on it.
Right now, our production equipment are split on two sites. We hope to be able to duplicate them. Here’s the list of equipment we hope to add to our equipment in the future, roughly in order of importance.
- 2nd Manfrotto tripod
- 2nd Rode shotgun microphone
- 2nd good quality Wahl clippers set
- 2nd white vinyl backdrop
- 2nd 14-140 mm Lumix lens
- Production grade condenser microphone on a boom to hang directly over the model