PULSE a Masterclass in Production

Back in the early 2000’s I had flown back to WA from my then base on the Northern Beaches of Sydney to catch up with my younger brother for some event or other.

While there, he played me a DVD on his new stereo VCR, and I was gobsmacked. That DVD was Pulse by Pink Floyd, a live concert at Earls Court in London.

To this day, that concert to me, is the epitome of a live production; simply it is masterful.

I hate to think how many cameras were employed and how much editing had to be done – the sheer size of the project is staggering. The lighting alone is worth the watch.




Pulse is a Master Class on putting together not just a music video or concert, but any sort of production.

By the way, the guitar break in the song Comfortably Numb was voted as the best guitar solo ever. If you want to see / hear it, start the clip at around 1:17:24

“I didn’t know it did that”…

Every year or so for the last umpteen years I have written an article that broadly speaking, has had the same substance each time.

“Read the manual”.

It has never been an intention to chide anyone who has a problem and can’t simply be bothered to look up the documentation and see if there is a solution in an FAQ or whatever.

Instead, I try and exhort people to see what other hidden gems that piece of software or gadget can do. Whenever I sit down and simply peruse a manual, I nearly always find something I did not know, and this started way back in the early 90s with a Sharp PDA that I suddenly discovered could have its fields mapped to Microsoft Outlook and the data transferred via a serial cable, thus effectively synching my PDA and my computer.

Wonderful stuff at the time.

Today though, things are a bit different aren’t they? We no longer have “paper” manuals, just small Quick Starts with miniscule writing – and we are often lucky to get that!

Which leads me to …

Over the last few weeks I have done a number of stories on GoPro cameras and the DJI Pocket 2 gimbal camera.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up with an idea to shoot some stuff inside a light box that was lit by the recently reviewed Zhiyun Fiveray using different colours, and for a giggle, a smoke machine, using the DJI Pocket 2.

The concept was to try and mimic those superb Top Gear shots where they pan very close to the contours of a car under lighting, with smoke and other effects, and gradually tease out what this new brand or model is.

Before I started however, I thought I’d just go through a few online tutorials to see if there was anything about the Pocket 2, despite intensive playing with it, that I maybe had missed.


Turns out there is lots, much tucked away in menus I didn’t even know existed! So my shooting has been a tad delayed, but all being well, will be all the better for it.

After that, I’ll go back and look at the GoPro Hero 10 Black, my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, the Loupedeck CT, the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, DaVinci Speed Editor, Air2S drone – the list is endless. If these are par for the course, I am probably only using about 30% of capacity!

But hey, if you spend the money, you may as well extract as much as you can, right?

So what apps, gadgets or software do you have that is worth another look?

Like me, lots I’ll wager.

First Look: Zhiyun Fiveray FR100C

In fishing parlance, if you have a love of all things gadgety, and can’t resist buying that new brightly coloured lure, the new gizmo to remove a fish hook or the latest contraption to help you tie a hook on without jamming the point through your finger, then there is a name for you.

A Tackle Rat.

I wonder if there should be such a title for the same sort of folk who inhabit the film and video making world?

A Gadget Junkie? Think of a name and I’ll work out a suitable prize for the best one. Let me know at david@auscamonline.com.

But we all love a good gadget, and the latest to cross my desk is yet another product from Zhiyun called a Fiveray, also known by the not so sexy moniker FR100C.

Fiveray is a high powered and very portable LED fill light that comes chock full of party tricks and is a great tool for those who film live interviews or do still photography especially. It also makes a pretty damn good camping light just quietly, although it is NOT waterproof but it rated IP20., in other words, “the product is touchproof and will be resistant to dust or objects that are over 12mm in size. However, it has no protection whatsoever against liquids and will be susceptible to damage if it comes into contact with sprays of water”.

The Fiveray is powered by an internal Lithium battery and rechargeable by either USB-C or external 24v / 5A power supply. (This is an optional extra).

There are sadly no real figures given as to battery life under different conditions as with so many possibilities under so many potential circumstances, any indications would be wildly wrong in reality. All the manual tells us is that under maximum power you’ll get around 31 minutes.

Now that may seem like a copout, but when you discover the full potential of the Fiveray, you’ll see what I mean. So a complete physical description is in order.


The Fiveray is about ½ metre long and 50mm on each side and has a solid feel about it weighing in at almost 1Kg.

The body on one side is dominated by a frosted white lens-cum-light shade and on the other by no less than 6 cooling fans.

On the fan side and below them (with the Fiveray in the vertical orientation that is), is a control panel made up of a small, coloured LED screen and rotary switch with a central on/off switch. On the side next to the control panel are the pair of charging ports. And on the bottom, a standard ¼” threaded hole for light stand or tripod mounting.


Everything can be controlled from the combination on/off and rotary switch. And by everything, that means a LOT of things, thus showing of the versatility of the Fiveray.

Surrounding the rotary switch are four small labels – DIM, MAX, CCT and HIS. Taking these one by one:

DIM: A single press of the DIM button allows you to enter the brightness adjustment interface, also known as CCT mode. Here you can then switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature.

HSI:  Again, a single press enters the HSI full colour mode interface and here you are able to switch between Hue, Saturation and the Full Colour Interface.

MAX: This just does one thing – switches between the maximum power mode on or off, and that is a whopping 20708LUX!

CCT: A single press enters the colour temperature interface where you may switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature. The Colour temperature range is 2700K to 6200K.

In every process, the LED screen informs you of what mode you are in and the current settings as they change as well as the current battery level.


Okay, technical specifications and guff are all very well, but where can the Fiveray pay for itself?

I can think of a number oof places where having control over light such as this useful, especially in portrait and product photography for example. Being portable means you are not bound to a studio and 240v power. And with Power Stations being so affordable these days, carrying top up power around is not an issue anymore.

It can also be used for background lighting, with the options of different colours easily accessible letting you experiment quickly with different colurs and brightness to get just the “right look” – for still photography or video.

Something I did not think off until I saw it on the Zhiyun website was that with the ¼” thread, it is potentially easy to mount the Fiveray to a gimbal and using long shutter times and exposure, you have a fabulous way of “light painting”.

There are brighter people than me – pardon the pun – who much more understand lighting than I, and I am sure they will think of a myriad more ways it can be used.

Fiveray retails for AUD$399 for the base unit at AUD$499 for the “Combo” which also ships with a a240v charger, USB-C Cable and carry case.


I am very much looking forward to having a serious play with this under a variety of circumstances. I can see many, many uses for the areas I dip my toes into the water with, and the Fiveray is already one of those few items I think you should keep with your base camera / camcorder kit at all times.

If I had one criticism at this stage, it is simply this is definitely a product screaming out for an app to drive it from a smartphone. Fiveray v2 perhaps, or maybe there is Bluetooth embedded and a firmware upgrade may pop that into existence sometime in the future?

Speaking of firmware upgrades, to upgrade the Fiveray with any new updates (always wise to check out of the box), it uses the same firmware upgrade tool that Zhiyun gimbals use.

For more information and to purchase, go to https://www.zhiyun-tech.com/en/product/detail/628

PS: It also comes in white.

PPS: Zhiyun has JUST announced a giveaway!


Fiveray Light Stick * 5 for lucky winners!

Entries close on August 10th 11:59PM PST, 2022

Click here for details

Basics of Lighting

Illumination is the cornerstone of every video production. It completely changes the looks, the moods and the overall quality of a scene. Understanding the principles behind lighting is crucial for any professional video. Learn here about the techniques of illumination and which equipment you need.

1. Check before recording – and seize control

Before you start filming, an appropriate preparation and planning is essential. Scout your location ahead of time. Consider the natural lighting and casting shadows – and be wary of changing weather conditions. Natural lighting can change in an instant through clouds. This can be a big issue when doing multiple shots of the same scene.

If you have a decent set of artificial lighting, it is best to avoid natural light altogether. Choose a shooting environment in which you have as much control over the light as possible!

2. Lighting for every occasion

A) Two- or three-point lighting

For scenarios like newscasts, corporate videos or interviews, a controlled setup is crucial. Three-point lighting is the standard setup for most basic filming, using artificial light from three directions. This configuration consists of the key light, fill light and back light.

The key light is the brightest, providing most of the light in the shot. It is generally placed in front of your subject, around 45 degrees above and 45 degrees to the right or left.

The fill light is a softer light. It is used to fill in or eliminate shadows on the subject’s face. It should be positioned to the opposite side of the key light. The intensity of the fill light is usually around half of the intensity of the key light.

The back light separates your subject from the background. Its goal: creating depth and detail in order to avoid a “flat looking shot” with no contrast. Place the light above and behind the subject. As it creates no visible shadows on the subject’s face, it can be a hard light.

While the back light adds a nice depth to your background, it is not necessarily essential. A two-point setup with key and fill light only, is adequate. Especially when you are just getting started with filming or have a limited budget.

B) Natural outdoor lighting

When shooting outdoors or in a place with large windows, you can use the sun’s natural light to illuminate your scene. This method is recommended for scenarios like vlogging, creative or travel videos.

However, natural light is really random and it is hard to achieve good results. The sun can be too intense, casting harsh shadows on your subject. Natural light moves and changes in intensity as the weather shifts and clouds pass by. If direct sunlight hits the front of the lens, flares are caused. To avoid those: Block the light from the lens by adjusting your angle, zoom in or out or consider a lens hood.

Natural light is very dependent on daytime. All your videos will look slightly different, depending on the day you choose for recording: It becomes difficult to achieve consistency across your shots.

But there are also benefits. Natural light can be the most beautiful kind of light. Filmmakers and photographers love the “golden hour” in early morning and late evening for its soft and flattering light. With careful planning and adjustments, try to make use of these unmatched natural light sources.

Many video makers use daylight as a variation of the three-point lighting setup. To do so, place your subject so that the sun provides your key light. Reflectors provide fill and back lights. At the “golden hour”, you can also flip the scenery by 180 degrees and position the in front of the sun, using it as back light.

In case you don’t have the equipment, natural lighting is an affordable method to lighten your scenes!

3. Choosing your lighting equipment

When it comes to lighting, there are plenty of options to consider based on budget and functionality. To spread unfiltered hard light evenly in order to create soft light, diffusion and reflectors are recommended. Use modifiers like umbrellas and soft boxes to make the light look more natural. Besides take colour temperature into consideration, as it has a significant impact on the mood you are trying to convey. When choosing your lights, be sure to choose one type of light to use throughout. Try not to mix colour temperatures.

  1. Video lighting on a budget

Clamp lights are the most budget-friendly lights and can be purchased for around 20$ each+. These lights lack dimming control and diffusion but are very versatile and can be mounted in many ways.

Umbrellasreflector and lighting kits can be found separately in the same range.

  1. Mid-range lighting options

Kits for mid-range budget from $100-$500 offer more features, durability and lighting control. These studio lighting kits commonly use large florescent lights and include effective diffusion material as well as backdrops.

  1. High-end lighting options

For professional video production you may prefer to assamble your own kit and select your lights, stands, filter and other equipment. But if you are after an all-in-one kit, there are many options too. Before investing in these lights, it’s a good idea to rent them locally or online and ensure they’ll suit your needs.

This tutorial was put together by The Vegas Team. The VEGAS team is made up of our PR and social media professionals, as well as our VEGAS developers.