The Importance of Good Audio

Having high quality audio is just as important, if not more important than the picture quality. Most people can put up with a couple of camera bumps, or out of focus shots when watching something (not saying we slack of on picture quality!), but if the audio is bad people we switch if off very quickly.  That’s because it is really hard to know what any video, movie or TV show is about without audio, what’s communication if we can’t here it.  Just think about how often you’ve stopped watching a YouTube video because the audio was shocking.

Aperture Films take both the audio and video quality of our productions very seriously and we put just as much effort in to both. We have a range of microphones and audio recording equipment that allows us to capture high quality audio in almost any situation.

Not only do we have high quality equipment, we also have the expertise to operate it properly. We also often spend just as much time editing the audio as editing the video to ensure that our videos are easy to hear all the way through and that you are not turning the volume up and down throughout different parts of the videos.

When you are getting a video produced of your next big event, Aperture Films will have everything sorted including excellent quality sound.

$4 Accessory that makes any car faster (Guaranteed)

I drive on the Geelong Ring road freeway every day to get to and from work.  One thing that I frequently noticed is something that some cars have that make them go faster than all the other cars.

I set my cruise control to exactly 100km/h, and I must say that Ford have done an excellent job on the cruise control as it holds the speed perfectly in my Ranger.  Now, nearly every day I see a car coming up rapidly behind me and then they pass me and quickly disappear out of site.  How could this be?  I wonder!  I know I am doing the speed limit, so what makes these cars faster than mine.

Then I noticed what it was, all these cars that go past me seem to have the same accessory applied to there car, you can buy it from any service station for around $4.50 or so.  It comes in 2 different colours, red and green, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference on performance.

I guess I should reveal what these cars have that mine doesn’t, and it seems to be the common factor that makes them faster – P Plates!  that’s right those plates that are put on the windows of cars so we know they are on a Probationary licenses.  These thins seems to add so much performance to any car, they all travel faster on the freeway, they accelerate faster, they stop faster, they corner faster.  Maybe I should invest in some, although their are downsides.

Here’s some information I got from the TAC website

  • As soon as newly licensed drivers switch from their L’s to their P’s they’re 30 times more likely to crash.*
  • Road crashes are the single biggest unintentional killer of young people aged 18-25 years in Victoria.
  • Young drivers are at greatest risk of dying or being seriously injured in the first six to twelve months of probationary driving.
  • Young drivers tend to over-estimate their level of ability and are more optimistic than they should be about their chances of not being involved in a crash.
  • Parents have also been found to over-estimate their child’s safety as a new driver.


Don’t eat this Raspberry Pi!

How I use a Raspberry Pi to host a website.

Ok, ok, stupid title.  I thought I’d write about my website which is hosted from a cupboard at home.

That’s right the Aperture Films Website is hosted from my home by a Raspberry Pi that is in a cupboard, and surprisingly it has held up quite well.  I’m a technical sort of person, I work in electronics, I have played with electronics since primary school.  It was about 12 months ago,  my internet speed was upgraded and I now get around 50 Mbps upload speeds and about 220 – 250 Mbps download.  I figured this was fast enough to handle a low traffic volume website such as mine.

I didn’t wan the extra power bill of running a full PC at home 24 hours a day, so I thought I’d give it a go with a Raspberry Pi that I had laying around.  A raspberry pi is a credit card sized computer that can run a Linux operating system.  I was already running the website on an unmanaged VPS, so I was quite comfortable with setting up web server software and all that goes with it.

So for those that won’t the tech details here it goes:

  • TP-Link WR-1043nd router running open WRT custom firmware.
    • Running my own dynamic DNS script which updates my DNS A record when my dyanmic ip address changes.
      • DNS Zone file hosting is with Cloudfare, they have an API to change things in the zone file.
    • Open WRT is running Lighttpd web server just for a virtual hosting proxy to pass traffic to the appropriate other servers within my LAN.   This way I could have multiple things running on port 80
    • Any HTTP port 80 requests for get redirected to https on port 443.
      • The main website uses SSL which operated on port 443, the router is just port forwarding 443 straight to the raspberry pi as I don’t use anything else that requires port 443.
  • Raspberry PI 3 Model B (originally had it running on a first generation Model B+)
    • OS is Raspbian
    • Running lighttpd for hosting the main website and also MySQL for the online ordering database.
  • Cloudfare CDN.
    • To give more reliability and stability to the website, and also redundancy if the power goes out or the pi crashes, or my internet falls over etc…
  • Our website is full SSL
    • Cloudfare offers SSL connection from Cloudfare to Client for all the sites using them, but it doesn’t mean it is SSL from Server to Cloudfare.  Be assured that our site uses SSL for the connection between Cloudfare and the Raspberry PI.

So far it has worked quite well.  Online ordering is fairly new to our website and I was slightly concerned how that would go, but after having a school use the online ordering option, and all the extra traffic and database requests because of the online ordering, the Raspberry Pi hasn’t missed a beat.

So for anyone that’s wondering if they can host a website from home with a raspberry pi, well yes you can.  If it is anything but a low volume website I would recommend going for something a bit higher end such as a VPS or managed hosting plan.

Lastly, I don’t take the payments with my Raspberry pi, there is no way I want to have the responsibility and security concerns of taking credit card numbers on my own server,  I hand clients over to PayPal for taking payments.

Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to my first post, I’m Steve from Aperture Films and I intend to use this blog as a place for general things that I sometimes think about, news and events relating to Aperture Films in Geelong and also probably a bit of tech information.

Along side have a passion for video, I have an extensive background in electronics, I’m also a qualified and licensed electrician.  As our video work is mostly done on weekends and evenings, I also have a day job as a technical support in a university.

I have been interested in photography since I was quite young, I got my first camera when I was in primary school, I think around year 4, it was a very basic cheap plastic 110 film camera.  A year or two later, while still in primary school, I acquired a slightly better 35mm camera, although it was still made entirely of plastic.  Again, a couple of years later, some family friends knew I was in to photography and they gave me there old Olympus Trip 35 camera and a flash to go with it, I still have this camera now.

I learnt about photography at Secondary school, I was quite fortunate in a way at secondary school as when I was in year 8, one night the art department got burnt down and it was rebuilt with brand new facilities including a fantastic darkroom.  This was only a couple of years before digital cameras started to take off, so I’m sure that if the fire happened a little down later on they would not of bothered with so much darkroom equipment.

In school we did everything for our photos, from rolling the 35mm film into canisters, taking photos with completely manual SLR cameras, developing the film and enlarging the film on to photographic paper.  We learnt how to manipulate photos pre-Photoshop and computers and how to work in complete darkness (unlike black and white photographic paper where it is not sensitive to red lighting, film is sensitive to all light in the spectrum so it must be loaded on to the canisters and also developed in complete darkness).

Having this exposure to photography with film has given me a strong understanding of photography and different techniques.  It’s easy now for anyone to buy a high quality digital camera and go start photographing weddings and such, and then just touch up all the bad shots with Photoshop.  I’m still in to getting everything right when setting up the shot, and even using filters on digital cameras when taking the photos, there is just something about the results which I think beats a photo-shopped photo any day.

On to video, I bought I HI-8 video camera when I started working, it was mainly for when I went on holidays and stuff.  When my older brother was getting married, he asked me if I could film it, although I had no experience in filming weddings, or anything important for what it’s worth.  He gave me a couple of simple instructions and that was to use a tripod whenever I can, avoid moving the camera and avoid zooming it in and out all the time (like almost every armature wedding video does).  Now, I learnt when I was young that to stay in the good books with my brother, I just had to do what he asked and he would be happy.

I borrowed a friends Mini DV camera, as I fancied the idea of using non linear editing software for this as opposed to my camera hooked up to the VCR,  I even bought a DVD burner so I could put his wedding on DVD (I didn’t even own a DVD player at the time).I resisted the urged all day to play with the zoom control on the camera (I still zoomed it when necessary), and I use the tripod as much as I could.  The resulting video ended up looking fantastic (well, not compared to what I produce now, but compared to all his friends wedding videos) and as a result of this more people asked me to film their weddings.

The first couple of weddings I filmed I would borrow video cameras from friends as more HI-8 camera was far inferior to the Mini DV cameras of the time.  Eventually I started hiring a professional video camera (Canon XL-2) for weddings if the couple were willing to pay the hire fee (I wasn’t charging at this point, I was only filming weddings for friends and family)  I ended up buying a couple of Canon HV-20’s and after filming a friends wedding with these the results ended up looking very professional (the brides mother and quite a few other people who saw the video, who I didn’t know at all, thought they had paid a professional to film the wedding).  This got me thinking about doing it professionally, but that is about as far as it went.

We started professional work when I was contacted by a friend who was on the school council for their daughters school.  The were having the school concert in a few days (she rang me on a Friday evening, the concert was on the following Monday) and they decided not to get a video made as the company they were using were charging lost of money for unsatisfactory results.  I organised a couple of friends to help, we already had access to some pretty decent audio recording gear with multi track capabilities, and we headed off to this school concert and basically winged it, but we manged to produce results that the school was quite happy with. (they told us what they didn’t like about the previous videos and told us what they wanted, so we just did that).  That school has booked us in every year since then.

When I look at that first school concert video I did, I actually cringe a little at the quality of it, but it gave us an opening in to a market we had never even though about.  Of course in the years since then we have gathered very extensive experience in filming live concerts  along with many hours /days of research and training in video production, we have become much  much better at it now.  We have upgraded all of our gear and we now have 4 professional cameras, high quality wired and wireless microphones , tripods that cost more than my first video camera etc…  The videos we produce now are very high quality as reflected by the samples on our Aperture Films Website.

Anyway, that’s enough about me and my first post.  I intend to make my future posts short and to the point to keep things as interesting as possible.