In the third episode of The Multimedia Marketing Show, we speak with Dave Dugdale. We discuss Dave’s background, how he went about building such a large audience and some of the things working for him right now, plus much more.
Dave Dugdale is an amatuer DSLR Shooter who has built an incredibly large following by producing awesome video content.
- Dave’s Background – A look back at how Dave started learningDSLRvideo.
- Advertisement and Monetization – The difference between pushing and encouraging your audience.
- Creating great content needs planning – Spending some time before shooting will improve the end result.
- Take note of comments and stats – It’ll help you improve your future videos and provide you with extra content ideas.
- Shooting Techniques – Best way to go about introducing B-roll.
- DSLR Kit for Beginners – Best buys for under $1500.
THE FULL TRANSCRIPT
Introduction: Welcome to the brave new world of cost effective communications, tips, trips and tricks, how tos, why tos and what not to dos and using the power of web-based content marketing to easily promote whatever you’d like. Welcome to the Multimedia Marketing Show with Jake Hower.
Jake: Welcome to episode number three. Thank you for tuning in again if you’ve heard the first two episodes. If you’re new to the show, welcome, welcome, welcome. I’d encourage you to listen to this episode and then go back to the previous two where we interviewed Ryan Spanger about web video and Jules Watkins about using just your iPhone to shoot high-quality video.
Right, in this episode we’re speaking with Dave Dugdale. Dave is an amazing guy. He’s built an incredibly large audience online as an amateur DSLR user. Essentially what he’s done is he’s, I guess recorded his experience with learning how to use the DSLR camera and published it online for everybody to follow along with him.
We discuss a whole heap of amazing topics. It’s an incredible episode, probably my favorite to date. I hope you enjoy it. Certainly stick around until the end of the show where I’ll reveal our next couple of guests. We’ve got some very exciting people coming up in the next few episodes. Stick around to the end where I’ll reveal them.
Again, thank you to everybody who’s provided feedback for the previous two shows. It’s been really incredible. If you like this episode or the previous episodes please head across to iTunes and leave a review. I’ll be publishing some of the comments that we get in iTunes in future episodes.
All right, that’s it, let’s get stuck into the interview.
Jake: Welcome back listeners. Today I’ve got Dave Dugdale on the line with me. Welcome Dave.
Dave: Hey, thanks for having me on. I know these podcasts, I’ve done quite a few of them myself, maybe 20 or so years back, and I know they take a lot of work so thanks for doing this.
Dave: No, thanks for having me. It’s fun to share knowledge with everybody, and these podcasts are a great way to do it. I know when I’ve done podcasts myself I usually do it for more selfish reasons. I’m like, I want to interview this guy because he knows a lot about that because then he could help me. Yeah, these podcasts are great for sharing information.
Jake: It certainly is, and it’s a great way to speak to potentially people you may not be able to get a hold of and as you say, just ask them some questions and you can get a lot out of it yourself. I know the past two episodes that I’ve got I’ve had a heap out of it that I’ve implemented just on my own.
All right, Dave, so for our listeners out there what we’re going to do in this episode, we’re going to be spending about 30 minutes, and we’ll dive a little bit into Dave’s background, and we’re going to then spend a little bit of time looking at how Dave’s gone about setting up and how he’s built such an amazing audience over at the site there. We’re then going to bring you some of Dave’s top tips for shooting with the DSLR and yeah we’ll go from there.
Dave, why don’t you kick off with a little bit of your background prior to setting up Learning DSLR and also why you chose to go ahead and set up that particular site.
Dave: Well, unlike your first guest because I think that’s the only one you’ve got posted on your website so far, but I guess he had an education in film school. I am not like that. I don’t have any film school education whatsoever. My background is actually in audio. I studied audio engineering in school. Actually I have a bachelors in music, and I used to design real large-scale sound systems like churches, arenas, football stadiums, airports. Sound systems that were very large. I have a strong foundation in audio.
Then as your question to why I started it, when our first child was born about ten years ago I decided to stay home and she kept working because I’d have the first shift as a stay-at-home dad and then when our second child was born I actually went back to work.
During that time that I was a stay-at-home dad, I don’t know if you have kids of your own, but they don’t do much in the first few months. They basically sleep and eat and you change diapers. I had some extra time on my hands so I started a number of websites, some had done quite well many years ago. What I was doing several years ago when I got really interested in DSLR because I’ve been shooting video for, I don’t know, ever since YouTube came around, to help promote my real estate websites. They were doing really well. It was a technique that was working really well for me. I was creating spoofs and funny videos and stuff like mostly with like a camcorder.
Then I remember watching an Apple promotional video and I really liked the look, and I wanted to spoof it, but I didn’t know why the shot looked a certain way, and I kept studying it and looking at it and I was asking on the forums and people said, “Well, that’s just a really shallow depth of field,” and I was like, “Well, how do I get that shallow depth of field,” and people are like, “Well, you can just buy a DSLR, they’re pretty cheap now, and you can shoot video with them.” I was like, “Oh, let me try that.” When the 5D Mark II came out it was too expensive and then the 70 came out, it was too expensive and then the T2i came out, and I was like, “Oh, I’m buying it, it’s cheap, let’s try this.”
That’s kind of how I started this whole process. With the website I was just like, well, let’s create another website because websites are pretty easy to create. At first I thought it was going to be more of a brain dump where I would just find a particular topic I wanted to look at or test like auto lighting optimizer, for instance, on the Canon cameras. I was like, if I turn it on what does it do, if I turn it off what does it do? Why not create an actual video off of it for my own sake so I can go back and see later. I published it to the website to share with other people and people enjoyed me doing those type of tests. They were encouraging me to do more. I kept doing more and more as I was learning. I was maybe making one or two videos a week on things that I was learning. That’s pretty much why I started it.
Jake: Fantastic, it’s, well I’ll just say, a bit of a brain dump to start with, but you certainly brought up an amazing resource now. I know I’ve spent hours and hours on the site and your Vimeo channel and YouTube channel going through all the videos. Whenever now when I’m trying to look at something or correct something with my videos I’ll just pop across to your site and bang in a few keywords into the custom search and nine times out of ten you’ve covered my issue.
Dave: Yeah, great, I’m glad I could help.
Jake: Absolutely, it’s really good. Let’s move on to some of the stats and your audience surrounding. To give a little bit of perspective to our listeners, why don’t you just run through, I guess, maybe some website video visitors, how many videos you might have on your site and where the majority of your community I guess comes to whether it’s the site or whether it’s your YouTube or Vimeo channels.
Dave: Sure, first off in terms of visitors to my site, I’ve been typically hovering around 100,000 visits a month. I think, I haven’t looked at my stats in a while, but a good 40% of those visitors are from outside the United States which is really cool because I get a lot of people like yourself from all over the world. It’s a lot of fun talking to people from just about everywhere.
You’re asking how many posts. That’s a good question. I’m pulling it up right now. I would guess 2 or 300. Yeah, I’ve got about 250. I’ve got about 30 drafts. I’ve got all these ideas. I’ve got constant ideas of things that I want to try and do next so I got about 30 posts that I want to do that are just sitting there ready to go, but I just don’t have time.
In terms of where I really see the growth, the huge amount of growth for me is by far on YouTube. I’m up to about, I’m probably getting close to about 40,000 subscribers on YouTube, and my videos get watched about 400,000 times a month on YouTube which just blows me away. I’m just amazed how many people watch my videos. Then on Vimeo it’s a much smaller audience. My videos get watched about 30,000 times a month or so.
It’s kind of a really neat tool as my audience keeps growing because at the beginning of the year, of this year I only had 14,000 subscribers on YouTube. The way it’s growing is amazing, and I could see at this time next year probably having 100,000. That provides me with a lot of neat resources and stuff having that kind of popularity like having a relationship with one of the largest camera stores, B&H, they just send me stuff. They’re like, “Dave, what do you want to look at? We’ll send it to you.” I make a little bit of money off of an affiliate network that I built up with B&H, but by far my biggest growth is definitely in YouTube.
I’ve got, if you want to run through stats with Facebook I got 3000 followers on Facebook and a couple thousand on Twitter and, I don’t know, maybe a thousand on Google+ so social networking wise that’s where I kind of stand.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely, well YouTube, I guess, it probably correlates with a lot of the stats around YouTube. It’s now the second biggest search engine in the world, and I’m sure it’s probably fast approaching Google itself. It wouldn’t be surprising if in the future it actually overtook Google as the biggest search engine in my opinion.
Dave: Yeah, video is a very powerful tool.
Jake: How do you go about moving viewers from YouTube to monetizing them? Are you pushing people or encouraging people to come back to your site or are you monetizing it with AdSense on the YouTube videos or is there a way that you’ve seen you’re getting the biggest traction from?
Dave: That’s a really good question. I don’t push it too hard. I know there’s some people on YouTube that push extremely hard to get people to their website. I haven’t really pushed it that hard. For instance, a really good example of this is your description shield below the video. I typically put just about all the text in because typically when I do a video sometimes I’ll write a script. I don’t read the script obviously I just want to know what I’m going to say. Then when I’m talking to the actual camera I’m not reading. I do kind of a paragraph at a time so I’ll read it on the screen and then I’ll turn toward the camera and it won’t come out exactly the way I wrote it, but that script is already there so I usually put in the description but getting back to this.
A really good example is if you’re talking about, let’s say, shutter actuations and how to find which site will give you the most accurate shutter actuations like if you’re going to buy or sell a used camera you might want to know how much life is left on the shutter. Do you put those links in the description below the video or do you put them on your site? Typically what I’ll do is put the script below the video, but then I’ll encourage people to go to my site to get the actual link. Some people kind of complain about it and they’re like, “Why didn’t you just put it in the description?” I’m like, well come on I’ve got advertisers on my site so it’s not a bad thing. It’s just one click over to my site and you can find the links there.
I would like to push them more to my site. I’m not too aggressive about it. I know other people are, but I think that answers your question.
Jake: Yeah, it does, it does. I can certainly appreciate where you’re coming from with some of the negative comments. It’s amazing, some people just don’t get the reason you’re able to produce this particular content is because you’re able to monetize it. I know I’ve had a few comments on our Facebook page with some of the Facebook advertising we do saying, “Hey, why are you advertising to me? Get away with your advertising.” I’m sort of like, well how do you think you’re using Facebook for free? It’s because of advertisers. It’s quite amusing sometimes.
Okay, let’s go into a little bit then around your site. You’ve got over 250 posts. How long would you say or you’d estimate you’d have to put into the creation of each video and the proceeding post?
Dave: It depends. There are things I would call cornerstone pieces, ones that I would like to spend a lot of time on because I know it’s going to be extremely popular because I might be one of the only few guys in the country to have let’s say two cameras that I can compare against each other.
In that case I will spend, because B&H gives me a full 30 days to review products, and I’ll spend the full 30 days working on that kind of video. I won’t be working on it every working hour kind of thing, but I’ll spend a lot of time. I’ll spend a lot of time with those cameras because I know those will be extremely popular and some of those videos will get watched 400,000, 500,000 times so in that case I’ll spend a lot of time.
On an average kind of typical post that I know is going to only get watched maybe 10 or 20,000 times, I’ll probably spend … the idea might be in my head for a few days and then I might write it down so just writing it down might take 15 minutes, and then I’ll actually record it which might only take … I usually can do it on the first or second take and usually my videos are only three or five minutes long. Recording the video will only take maybe 20 minutes and then editing will take a lot longer and then rendering and then uploading and then putting out to the social media.
I’d say all in all if I’m doing a typical video you’re looking at maybe three, three and a half, four hours, something like that.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely. I got a little envy back there you talking about if you’re only getting 10,000 or 20,000 views you won’t spend as long. I’m investing four or five hours in videos that are getting me 250 views.
Dave: Well, I think if you build really good content, and I think … you got to look out, I don’t even really consider competition because there’s a lot of other people that do similar videos to what I do, especially on comparison videos, and they do an outstanding job, but you should do a little bit of research and find out what other people have already put up on YouTube so search for the most popular videos and then you might say, “Oh, I didn’t know that,” or you might watch the video and was like, “Ooh, I want to know more about this, but he didn’t talk about it,” and then kind of fill in the gaps and create a very complete piece. I think people really appreciate that.
Also, the other big thing too I think a lot of people neglect is not only watch those top videos but look at some of the top comments because they might say you totally got it wrong. That’s the funny thing about YouTube, especially with the audience I have now, I can publish a video and within ten minutes I know if I’ve got it right or wrong because they’ll tell me if I got something wrong. It’s like, Dave, you screwed this part up. I was like, ahh darn. Definitely look at the comments because you can learn a ton just from reading all those.
Jake: Yeah, that’s great. That’s really brilliant. I look at our stats in terms of some of our videos we host with wistia.com, and they provide pretty great heat maps in terms of viewers and where people start watching, stop watching, et cetera, et cetera so I can gauge from that how engaged people are with the audience but certainly, again, I’m very envious that you’re able to do that within ten minutes without the need to even look at stats. The comments give you the instant feedback.
Dave: Well I do look at stats too especially one of the things I learned early on which I think is a big thing with most YouTube videos is that if you are going to be in front of the camera and you have a two or three-minute video, you’re going to lose a lot of your audience in the first 20 or 30 seconds if you’re on camera for that long. I
f you’re talking about a camera or you’re talking about whatever you’re selling or whatever you’re doing cut away to a B-roll shot of something. You shouldn’t be on screen for more than 15, 20 seconds. I try to limit it to even less than that sometimes. Not that having myself on the screen is a bad thing, it’s just that it’s much more engaging.
If you’re trying to make a point on something and you can reinforce that with really good cut away B-roll type shots, man it just, what you do is you look at the YouTube Analytics and you watch what happens with a video with B-roll versus not and it’s just night and day. I learned early on that the more B-roll I put in the more people stayed glued or even rewound and watched things over again throughout the whole three to five minutes of the video. If you don’t they drop off quickly after, like I said, the first 30 seconds.
Jake: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Hold that thought for just a second Dave. I think that’s a fantastic segway into some of the techniques and some of the gear that you use to shoot the videos and making them more engaging, but I just have one more question which I guess is related to both of these points.
You seem to produce a fair number of videos where you’re actually doing a shoot off or a comparison between, I guess probably the latest one would be the T4i against the T3i. These are obviously quite popular type style of videos are they?
Dave: Oh yes, in fact, in terms of building the YouTube audience those are my number one because you can look in your stats and find out where you’re getting the most subscribers from from each video and I’m getting hundreds a month or more on those particular comparison videos because if you think about it, I don’t know where you live, but in my part of the country not even the small mom and pops, but some of the regional camera stores have been going out of business like Ritz Camera and Wolf Camera, filing for Chapter 11, and I don’t know if you can blame me and some other people on YouTube, but it could be due to comparison videos because when you walk into a camera store, and you start talking to the guy or girl behind the counter about a certain camera or lens or filter or whatever like that you have no idea if that person is shooting 50 weddings a year and has a lot of experience to draw from and can guide you to the right camera or is somebody that takes pictures of his cat with an iPhone. You don’t know.
But with somebody like me who’s built up somewhat of a personality or brand on YouTube and you can see the quality of my work, you can see instantly the quality of my work of what I’m doing and if you don’t like it you can obviously move on, but if it’s the type of look that you’re going after you’re definitely going to come back or subscribe to my channel and when I do a comparison video and you know my level of expertise … I’ve only been doing this for three years, I’m not a Shane Hurlbut or a famous DP that works on Hollywood films, I’m just a guy learning.
I think a lot of people can connect with that. I tell people this, “Hey, I’m learning, I make mistakes.” A lot of people find it accessible to my style because they’re learning too. They elect to learn along with me. I learn a lot from their comments. They’ll say, “Dave, you might want to try it this way.” I’m like, oh, I didn’t even think of that. I’m going off on a tangent, but I think I answered your questions.
Jake: Yeah, definitely. I must say, that was the exact reason that I subscribed to you in the first place I was looking at the comparison between a 60d and a 600d. I came to the conclusion based off your video that the 600d was going to be suitable for me because I wasn’t doing a lot of stills photography. I just needed it for video. I guess some of the key differences were more potentially related to the stills photography with the 60d.
Dave: Yeah, both of those cameras have the same exact image quality, they have the same sensor, they might have a different processor in them, I can’t remember. I think they do, yeah they do, the DIGIC 4 processor, and it’s the same APSC sensor so image quality for both video and stills is going to be exactly the same, but how you get there and like you were saying photography wise the 60d might have a few things that you might like better that might get your results quicker, but image quality, you’re going to end up with the same image if you have the time.
For instance, maybe one shoots at a faster frame rate and you might be able to catch that shot because one was able to shoot one frame faster per second, and you weren’t able to do that, whatever you’re trying to accomplish quicker.
In the latest Canon M camera, the ESM camera came out has the exact same sensor so image quality, again, is the same. Everybody is kind of wondering and waiting when the new APSC sensor is going to come out and everybody is kind of thinking that it’s going to be in the new Canon 7d, hopefully we’ll see that pretty soon.
Jake: Fantastic, all right, so moving along. Let’s go back to some of the shooting techniques for making your videos engaging. I’m going to be nice and selfish here. I’m shooting a weekly news update for our audience. We’re a travel agency here so I shoot just a quick recap of the news each week. I want to make them more engaging. They’re about five minutes long, each of these videos. I’m shooting by myself, and it’s generally in the office or in the immediate vicinity of the office. You’re just talking about the fact that people will tune in for 30 seconds if it’s face to camera.
How am I best to go about introducing B-roll? Should I be shooting with a secondary camera or can I achieve some good results with just the one camera and actually spending the time to go off and shoot some B-roll either before the main shoot or after the main shoot?
Dave: Oh you can definitely just do it with one camera. The times that I use two cameras at the same exact time and they’re both shooting at the same exact time if I am demonstrating something in real time and I’m not cutting away, if you know what I mean.
Let’s say I’m demonstrating a certain procedure on the camera itself and I’m demonstrating how to go from one mode to the other or how to use a touch screen or something like that. You’ll see me on camera. I’ll talk to the camera. When I look down toward the camera and I’m actually fooling around with it with my fingers then I’ll get a close up shot of that. That’s when I would use two, but everything else.
If you’re a travel agency, let’s say, and you’re talking about the weekly recap or something like that and you’re talking about a new island that’s popular and you happen to go there and you’ve got some great cutaway shots of people water skiing or jet skiing or doing stuff like that and you’re talking about them jet skiing and they got great deals on jet skis or something like that. I have no idea what you do actually, but if you have those cutaway shots they can make all the difference in the world in terms of retaining your audience and not having that YouTube dip in terms of losing viewers.
If you can have really good engaging B-roll exactly when you’re talking about that particular, and to really enhance a story you’re trying to tell, will really help you out.
Jake: In terms of the B-roll, what’s the best type of B-roll? Are we talking little pans and zooms and using sliders or something like that or can it be as simple as, I don’t know, if you haven’t got the time or the location to introduce video as you B-roll can you introduce images potentially into the editing process?
Dave: Oh sure, you could definitely … The one thing I’ve learned a long time ago, there’s an awesome resource, and it’s on Digital Juice. I learned many years ago they have a thing called Digital Juice TV, and you’d have to go back way in the archives, but some of the stuff they have back there is just absolutely brilliant. I don’t know if you can share that link. I’ll try to find a link for you where to find those archives deep buried.
One of the things I learned a long time ago from those guys which were just pros. They were way ahead of their time is if you do have something on a screen you want to have some sort of movement. If the camera’s moving that’s great. If just your hands are moving in the frame that’s okay too, but if you have a picture don’t keep it stagnant. Try to do a Ken Burns type of thing where you’re kind of zooming in or panning left or doing something like that keeps the interest going.
Having a stagnant picture on the screen for three to four seconds, while it might seem like it wouldn’t be that bad of a thing, but if you could just add that little bit of movement with a simple key frame, pan and tilt or whatever you want, zoom, it adds so much more professional feel to it. I think that kind of answers your question.
Jake: It does, it does. All right, now let’s go, I think there’s potentially at least one more very important aspect to I guess getting a good quality engaging video, and I would imagine it’s the soundtrack. I guess it’s a two-part question. Where do you find music to include in your videos and two, how do you decide is it essentially just a little bit of just I guess you getting a feeling from a particular soundtrack as to how it’s going to affect the video?
Dave: Well it depends on the video obviously. If you’re talking about the type of videos that I make like comparison videos and stuff like that that are really popular, I mean I do other video stuff. I’ve done some corporate videos, some real estate videos, stuff like that. If they’re all going to kind of take on their own feel.
For instance, if you’re just talking about a comparison video, what I’ve learned with those are if you’re going from topic to topic and you have some background music, and I use … I have a relationship with premiumbeat.com, and they’ve got a very large selection of really high quality music. They do charge a bit for their songs, but they’re royalty free so you can use them as much as you want after you purchase it. Those songs are great in terms of using as background music for when I’m talk. Especially you don’t want anything with lyrics in it, it can be distracting while you’re doing a voice over.
What I’ve noticed, if I have a 20-minute comparison video and I’m going from topic to topic a lot of times you’ll hear in the background kind of on a subconscious level is the musical end as I finish a thought and I’m moving on to the next item or thought, I’ll start a different background music, and I’ll let that music start up. A lot of people don’t even notice that, but it really carries the whole piece along a lot nicer. I think that answers your question.
Jake: Yeah, it does, it does. Yeah, your videos are just incredibly engaging. I can see that you’re doing something right.
Dave: Thanks. [Laughter]
Jake: Now, just one thing. I’m just on your site right now, and I’ve noticed, I guess it’s relatively recently you’ve started playing around with the thumbnails of your videos. Are you seeing better click throughs or better play rates by doing this?
Dave: Oh yeah, I love … I just started doing that recently. That’s one of the things I love about DSLRs is not only do they take awesome pictures, they take awesome video, and I love taking pictures. I like carrying just one camera with me.
What I started doing, if you’re looking at that one that’s the Sennheiser G3 comparison video where I’m kind of standing there with all the transmitters and I’ve got the Denver skyline in the background, that’s a composite picture, and I’m a huge Scott Kelby training fan. I don’t know if any of your audience knows anything about that, but I have learned so much in photography that crosses over into video all the time. For a year, I don’t know, I don’t have any relationship with them, they don’t provide me any kickbacks or anything, but you can get for $150, $200 dollars a year you can watch all the videos. You’ll never even watch all of them because there’s so many of them, and there’s different techniques you can learn.
This one is by a gentleman who’s name is Joel Grimes, and that’s his kind of style. I shot the picture HDR of the landscape because I was right there. I just set my picture up and I did five bracketed frames for the landscape behind me. I tone mapped it within Photomatics Pro and then the picture of me I’m down in my basement studio. I just took a picture and they were all done with hot lights, no flash, although I really do need to buy some flashes or strobes.
I just took that and I followed the example that Joel Grimes gives in his lesson on Kelby training, and I haven’t done a lot of research on it yet, but I know when I personally see a thumbnail like that I am way more inclined to click on that than some guy sitting in an office with really poor lighting and he’s not really showing you what he’s going to demonstrate.
I don’t know for a fact that I’m getting higher click through rates on that because I know a lot of people comment on the actual thumbnail itself so I think it’s working.
Jake: Yeah, it’s pulling me in. Just looking at your home page you’ve got essentially a grid of nine videos and that one just stands out well and truly above every other video there. It’s so engaging. I’ve been playing around with it a little bit, just started playing around with it, and it seems to have increased our play rates, but it’s certainly something that an audience should consider looking at as well.
Dave: Yeah, and I think if you look at some of the top YouTube people, like the top 100 YouTube people you’re going to find the common theme that they all do compositing and they might make the background totally yellow and they’ve got their subject title in big text so you can read it on the thumbnail. There’s a lot of things that you can learn from some of those top 100 people on YouTube that are just making a ton of money.
I went to a YouTube conference a couple of years ago, one of the very first ones and a project manager came out on stage and said that some of the very, very top people on YouTube are making $100,000 dollars a month.
Jake: I’d love to be up there.
Dave: Yeah, I know. I’m definitely not at that level. I’m like in the top 5000, but I’m not definitely in the top ten or 100.
Jake: Quickly approaching that though.
Dave: No, I don’t know. [Laughter] I’d be just amazed if this time next year I’ve got 100,000 people following me. One of the things I’d like to do with the site as I make more money with it is to do some different projects, passion projects, and I’m working on one right now. It’s a promotional piece for a local photographer and just spend as much time as I want on it and get the story where I want it to be. I’m not asking to get paid for the project, but maybe after it’s done and I put it out maybe I make some sort of training tutorial for it that I can sell, but I would be able to pick my own projects and work on things that I want to work on is kind of where I’m heading with the site.
Jake: On that, I don’t need you to reveal numbers or anything like that, but is the site sustainable now? Is it a full-time income for you?
Dave: I think since the launch of my first product last month I can say yes, it’s getting to the point where it’s making more than my other sites because my real estate sites used to be the bread and butter for many, many years and done extremely well, but they’ve kind of fallen by the wayside because I’ve spent so much time on this darn DSLR site it’s taken away from my other sites, but when it comes down to it this site is so much funner than real estate. You kind of follow your passion, and I really enjoy it, and it’s just a lot of fun. I get so much great feedback. It’s like crickets over on my real estate site. Nobody cares. I could coat up the best thing on that site but nobody cares.
Jake: Fantastic, I agree. If you’re engaged with the project you’re on it just makes it so much easier. It’s not work really.
Dave: Yeah, it isn’t. No, I really enjoy it.
Jake: All right Dave, I’ve got one more question for you before we go ahead and wrap up. Now this one, I’m putting you on the spot a little bit. Let’s say you’ve got $1500 dollars, you’re new to the world of video shooting, we want to get a DSLR camera and some other kit. Without having to hold you to exact prices, what would you buy with that $1500 dollars?
Dave: Well, first off if I was a beginning shooter I would go with a crop sensor camera like the Canon’s have. I would actually go to and get a refurbished Rebel. A lot of times these refurbished ones you buy are directly from Canon. You can get extremely good deals. In fact, there was a deal today you could buy a Rebel T3i for around $350 dollars and it’s only got not many actuations on it whatsoever so it’s basically a brand new camera. I just picked one up because I’m doing a training course on the T3i right now and I wanted to keep it for a while. Right there you’ve only got $350 bucks.
The first lens I would suggest most people get is a 50 millimeter, a fast 50. That’s going to teach you a lot of things. I would say just stay with that one particular lens for the first month or two and you can learn so much from that one lens. Before you even get into zooms just deal with the fast 50, maybe the 1.8 and that’s only like $100 bucks so now you’re up to $450 bucks.
Then I would graduate into a zoom that has IS and there’s lots of different ones out there. I particularly own one that works well for a crop sensor and that’s 28 to 135. All this stuff is listed on my gear page as well. If you go to my site it says My Gear at the top. Having IS is really important, especially for video.
The next one I would definitely get a road video mic. They’re only like $150 bucks. The pro version may be $200 bucks. Actually, get the pro version if you’re using one of these Canon cameras because the preamp inside the cameras are pretty terrible so you want to turn down that preamp as much as possible so you want a very sensitive microphone.
The next thing I would buy, I don’t know what I’m up to now. Let’s see, I’m up to about $600, $700 dollars, no I’m actually probably around $1000 by now. The next thing I would buy is a tripod and a fluid head. That’s going to run you a couple of hundred bucks.
If you’ve got money left over I’d probably then go to a slider and maybe a glidecam device, a monopod, and you’re going to need some ND filters. Actually at that point I think I’ve already broke your bank.
People like your last guest talked about we’re at a wonderful time right now because you can basically have access to all this wonderful gear and do stuff that people couldn’t do ten years ago for $50,000 to $100,000 dollars and now we can do it for just a couple of thousand dollars which is amazing, but this hobby that you’re getting into, don’t be misled. It’s not a cheap hobby. It adds up. It keeps pulling at your wallet. I was buying more stuff today and I’m like, damn, I just keep buying stuff, I keep buying stuff. It just doesn’t seem to stop. It’s like, oh I need that, I need a light, yeah, a polarizing. I need a monopod. It just keeps adding up.
I would say if you bought those items that added up to about $1500 dollars within the first year you’re just using those items you can learn so much and you can produce unbelievably good work with those as you learn. Then as you get better, what I did after a couple of years, I went to a full frame because it has some other advantages and you get better glass with the full frame, but gosh you can buy things like refurbished or used lenses and really get you started for a cheap price.
Jake: Absolutely, listeners I’m going to pop in links to everything we’ve been discussing in this episode and I’ll certainly make notes to pop in a link direct to Dave’s gear section which will have everything that he has discussed here as well.
Okay, Dave, we’ll just wrap up there. I really appreciate you taking the time today. We’re a little bit over the 30 minutes that I asked of you and so I appreciate you staying on the line.
Obviously you’re fantastic at how-to videos and training. You’ve also just mentioned that you’ve put together a bit of a product. What’s that product and who’s going to benefit from getting this particular product?
Dave: Well, the first one I did was on the Canon T4i and it’s kind of a beginner’s guide. It just deals with the actual camera itself so no accessories. I’m not going to teach you how to use a slide or a glidecam or how to use an external microphone stuff. It’s over a three-hour course and all of that time is just spent on the fundamentals of video. I’m not teaching anything about stills.
It’s all about video and there are so many things to cover and there’s so many settings and parameters that you can screw with, and I try to get you up to speed as fast as I can and show you all the things that I’ve learned over the last three years and the mistakes I’ve made and how to get the best results out of your camera, just the exposure on these cameras, if you’re off by a third of a stop can make a big difference when you go to edit your video and the lighting and there’s so many different things, picture styles.
I demonstrate a lot of that stuff in that video, the Canon T4i and I’m making one right now on the Canon T3i. Then I’ve got some other courses I’ve got planned that I’ve started on on terms of editing and transcoding and rendering and stuff like that.
That’s pretty much just getting started. It’s a real beginners type guide. If you just bought the camera for Christmas or something like that and you’re looking to get into video then I think this will really help you out a lot.
Jake: This particular camera, the T4i, this is Canon’s newest camera is it?
Dave: Yeah, it’s their latest offering on the Rebel line which is extremely affordable. It won’t set you back the 5D Mark III will, and it’s a great, and in fact, if you’ve got the right lighting, and I’ve demonstrated this before in my videos. If you’ve got the right lighting and you compare, because I’ve cut between both of them, like the T2i, which you can get for, like I said, used for like $300 bucks because they don’t sell them anymore and the 5D Mark III and you will have an extremely hard time telling the difference between the two.
The only time that the 5D Mark III really starts to shine in terms of video is when you get into, when you start pushing the iso well above 800, 1600, stuff like that. I’m a running gun type of shooter so having access to really good lighting sometimes is not possible so that’s one of the major reasons I’ve got the 5D Mark III is I can use it just about anywhere almost in pitch black lighting conditions and you still get amazing results.
Jake: That’s great. That sounds to me like the product is going to save viewers if they go ahead and purchase it, it’s going to save them a lot of time having to go through the manual. I’m sure you’ve gone through and picked out some shortcuts that they can pick up.
Dave: Yeah, I pretty much go through everything that’s in the manual so you don’t have to read it. I talk about how long it takes to charge the battery and all that stuff. I go through all that stuff that the manual talks about and a lot of things. The manual is like 350 pages long, and it’s really biased toward photography so it doesn’t help you out much. There are only like one or two chapters on video so it’s not much of a help. That’s why I created the course. When I create more advanced courses I don’t want to say, hey, go read the manual, instead just hey, watch this course, and then kind of a prerequisite to more advanced courses I’m going to be making.
Jake: Fantastic, well I’m looking forward to the T3i course. I’ll be getting that straightaway.
Dave: Oh cool.
Jake: All right, Dave, again thanks very much for coming on this episode. You shared absolute gold throughout. Listeners, I hope you’ve enjoyed that episode. Can I ask one favor of you Dave?
Dave: Yeah, I’ll definitely take a look and see what the comments are.
Jake: That’s fantastic. Listeners, if you have any questions for Dave you can just pop across to the show notes. I’ll include the link to that in just a second, but apart from that, Dave, I really appreciate you coming on board the show, and I hope to speak with you again shortly.
Dave: Yeah, nice talking to you, and thanks for doing this podcast because I know that they’re not easy and they take a lot more time than people think so thanks for sharing all this information. I think everybody collectively wins when everybody shares information like this.
Jake: Thanks very much and listeners, we’ll speak to you again very soon.
Welcome back listeners, I hope you enjoyed that episode. I certainly did. Now, as always I’ll include all the links to everything we’ve discussed in the show notes, that’s d-a-v-e which will redirect to all the show notes. I hoped you enjoyed that episode.
Now, our guests for the future episodes include Dan Norris from Insightly. That’s insight.ly. This is a web startup for tracking your stats in one place from a whole heap of services. It’s a brilliant interview. Dan’s doing some amazing things, content in particular with some of his really in depth blog posts and also guest posting as well. He’ll be our first guest on the show which isn’t video related, although he is doing a little bit of video. Check out that episode. That will be the next one up next week.
Following that we’ll be interviewing one of the most famous YouTube how-to guys, Gideon Shelwig. He’s making money from YouTube and also teaching others how they can leverage YouTube in their own business to build a business. That will be an excellent interview as well so stay tuned for that.
If you enjoyed this episode or previous episodes you’ve listened to please head across to iTunes and leave a review. As discussed at the start of this episode I’ll be reading out all reviews in future editions of the show.