Tips On Light Diffusion

Tips On Light Diffusion

Affordable Vellum For Light Diffusion

I like putting a sheet of diffusion paper (vellum) in front of each light.  The industry standard is from Rosco, with a 25 by 4 foot roll costing over $125.

You can certainly get by with a roll half as long by 3 and 1/2 feet from Dietzgen for half the price.

With careful use, the paper can be reused several times.

The C-47 clips that we all use to attach the paper to the lights are just a fancy show business name for common wooden clothes pins.



ABOUT PHIL RAMUNO:  Phil Ramuno is an award-winning director, producer, writer, photographer, teacher and published author.  He co-authored the best-selling ‘Sitcom Career Book”.  He has directed hundreds of projects including theatrical, pilots and episodes of American and international network and syndicated situation comedies. Phil is an adjunct professor at The University of Southern California prestigious graduate film school and has also taught at both Emerson College and Endicott College in Boston.

Phil Ramuno shares his on-set ‘must-haves’ and ‘wish list’ from the set of BzSpotlight – the Business Webisode Series.

BzSpotlight provides corporate and custom video in the greater Los Angeles area.

Neewer Light Stands

No One To Hold Your Strobe: Neewer Light Stand

So what else do you need for your now growing still photography equipment kit?  Well if you have your camera and got a flash or even two from my previous review, you need something besides always having an assistant holding the off camera flash or the second flash.  This is a hobby or a small business and not a full crew production like we do when making BzS videos.  The low cost solution is a couple of light stands and flash holders.

No, I don’t work for Neewer, but again I found a couple of tripods from them for a reasonable price

These are 9 foot light stands.  Yes, I know that you can get shorter ones for a few dollar less, but ideal lighting is set about 45 degrees to the left or right of your subject AND also 45 degrees above the subject.  The six foot stands, shall we say, “fall short” of this ideal?  And at under $30 for two of them, you are still keeping your now growing photo equipment quite inexpensive.

Since light stands are made for more expensive strobe lights or video lights, you will need a bracket to mount your speedlight on the stand.   Again Neewer beats all others on price:

When you look at the image of this on the Amazon page, don’t get confused at how you would mount this on the the tripod.  The picture has it upside down.


See Phil’s Reviews On

Neewer TT850 Flash Speedlight

Neewer Flash Remote Trigger

NEEWER® TT850 Flash Speedlite

Use Your DSLR For Videos AND Stills: The Neewer Strobe

As the resident tech guy here at BzS, I am always looking for ways to increase our quality and keep the price down.  After decades of working with network professional crews, I know that you can always throw money around to get quality, but can you keep the quality up on a budget?  I now know the answer is “Yes!”

The first revolution has been using digital still cameras that also shoot video.  This has put filmmaking into the hands of many more people on a budget.  The other side of that coin is that the cameras can also be used for high quality stills, which of course was their original intent.  It is almost like “I bought this movie camera and they threw in a professional still camera for free!”

Many of you have bought in with Nikons or Canons and now even high quality Sony and Panasonic (Lumix) gear.  For filmmaking, you need to add some external lighting and sound recording to get to professional levels, but for stills it is just the lighting.  But if you want to take professional looking still photographs, can’t you just use the pop up flash or just the sun?  Well, the answer is mostly “no.”

To avoid that “Deer in the headlights” lighting look, you may have looked into the your brand companion speedlight.  But spending $500-$600 for a Canon or Nikon light gets close to doubling the investment in your camera.  And then you will end up buying AA batteries by the boatload just to keep the flashes coming.

The first thing on my Xmas list this year is a new solution:  the NEEWER® TT850 Flash Speedlite

which is available on Amazon for around $100.

Big Cat Preserve In Los Angeles Uses Power Of WebVideo

In a remote Southern California location, on the very edges of Los Angeles California, nested in the Santa Clarita Valley lies the desert city of Acton, home to Tippi Hedren’s Shambala Preserve. The actress established the animal sanctuary in 1972, followed by the organization of the nonprofit Roar Foundation that would fund it.

Shambala cares for endangered exotic big cats such as African lions, Siberian and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, plus a lynx, a panther, and a liger. Most of the animals were born in captivity and orphaned from circuses or zoos, or are given up by private owners who could no longer care for them. Two of Shambala’s most famous residents were Michael Jackson’s Bengal tigers, Sabu and Thriller, brought to Shambala after the iconic performer decided to close his Neverland Ranch zoo. 13-year old Thriller died in 2012.

Chris Gallucci, VP of Operations and Director of The Roar Foundation, met Tippi on the set of Roar, a movie featuring the star and her daughter Melanie Griffith, as well as a plethora of big cats and two elephants. Chris was immediately fascinated by Timbo, the gigantic bull elephant, and when the film’s elephant trainer quit, he immediately applied for the job. “Someone told me that the elephant was the largest animal that walked the earth,” Chris says. “I knew I had to have a piece of that.” To win the pachyderm’s trust that first night, Chris chained himself beside Timbo in his enclosure and threw away the key. That was the start of the 30+ year long relationship.

Running the sanctuary is like running a small business and part of the job requires a good deal of marketing, including social media. The staff manages a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a stream of ongoing video to bring awareness of their mission and drive funding to the organization. “We live off donations”, says Chris. “It takes a staggering amount of money to run an operation as large and unique as Shambala. “It costs 1 million dollars per year to run the Shambala Preserve – $20,000 dollars every 7 days!”

That’s a LOT of cat food!

Is Online Video Too Expensive For Your Small Business?

By now we know how important online video is for your business in Los Angeles CA,  to the elusive, oft-confusing SEO algorithms.  According to internet marketing guru Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullas), audiences are 12 times more likely to engage with a video than a text based post.  But if you’re an entrepreneur with a small business in Santa Clarita CA or Los Angeles CA the thought of adding video to your website is quite daunting. There is so much to do in producing a video, production, camera, and lighting are just three steps in making a successful video for your website.

Jack Tillotson, Director of Sales at BzS  (The Business Spotlight Webisode Series) said the two main obstacles he battles with clients are actually myths.  The first objection is the perceived cost.  Clients simply do not realize that cost of video production has dramatically decreased in the past decade.  And the second objection is the client thinks S/He is not experienced enough to be an on-camera spokesperson for the company.  “Our format is entirely different and unique, allowing a warm, comfortable, non-scripted environment with an economy-of-scale formula where clients literally share in the production expenses.” says Mr. Tillotson.  The clients simply tell us the story of their business, like they do every single day of their lives.  Business owners and managers are passionate about what they do, it’s amazing how well that plays out on camera with an experienced production team.”

BzS Executive Producer, Sue Berry noted that “less than 1% of all our webisode guests have had any previous media interaction what-so-ever.  Our host Bella Shaw (former CNN anchor) is also a seasoned media trainer and when you talk to her, it’s like talking to a friend.  No Scripting.  No Rehearsal. Just Tell Us Your Story – that’s the BzS mantra.”

Adding video to your marketing strategy doesn’t need to be expensive or hard.  There are dozens of qualified production companies available in Southern California that will provide affordable and turn-key video to get you ready for your close-up.


Entrepreneurial Celebrities Use The Power of Video

When iconic Actor/Director Jerry Mathers re-launched his website, he was advised to add videos.  Lots and lots of them!  Growing up as the loveable Beaver Cleaver in the iconic 1950’s television series, Leave It To Beaver, Jerry has one thing going for him…he just happens to have lots and lots of website videos.

Jerry started his career as a child actor working with industry legends like Alfred Hitchcock and Bob Hope.  But after the Leave It To Beaver series ended he began adding additional occupations to his resume including personal appearances, public speaking engagements and product endorsements.  For Jerry to be on big brand’s radar, he needed a social media strategy.  Jerry recently explained to Bz Spotlight viewers how managing his career is similar to running a small business in Los Angeles, CA.

Radio host Mother Love cranks out her passionate and informative LATalkRadio show 2 hours a day, 5 days a week and still manages to travel the country as a motivational speaker, author, actress and spokesperson for diabetes awareness.  Recently added to her never-ending list of daily tasks is to focus on social media campaigns designed to drive more fans and followers- using video.  Posting relevant, entertaining or informative content and adding video on websites and social media pages help raise her Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Remember, Video for websites converts more customers for your small business, every time.

Even adorable Tabitha, in the Bewitched series of the 1960’s Erin Murphy has become an entrepreneur in the most unusual genre:  Alpaca Ranching.  And, just like any small business, Erin has taken to social media to get her company noticed using video for her social sites.  She recently told Bz Spotlight Webisode Series Executive Producer Sue Berry:

“I think social media is hugely important as a way to grow any business.  Facebook is huge.  Twitter is a great way to get soundbites out there…you can talk about a sale your company is offering or an event that is coming up.  I like blogging because it’s a way to write a longer article and it’s like a running journal about your business that lives on the internet.”

From restaurateurs (Robert De Niro, Sandra Bullock, Gene Simmons) to clothing designers (Jessica Simpson, Beyoncé, The Kardashians, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) to a myriad of consumer products and start-ups (Jennifer Aniston, Ashton Kutcher, Justin Timberlake), celebrity entrepreneurs can’t escape adding social media and video production to their marketing mix.