The Steve Olson Show 05/26/2023 | How to use your iPhone as a camera if you don’t have a DSLR (and it is awesome)

Published Date: May 26, 2023

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Amazon Link for the Aputure Light mentioned:

Aputure MC Light

Video Transcription

So welcome to Friday’s video. We’re not going live today because the way that I want to do what I’m going to show you to do, I can’t go live because I don’t have the ability to switch back and forth with how I’m going to demo this. So some of the feedback that I’ve been getting on some of these webinars is, hey, I want to do these live events. So I want to do webinars, I want to do YouTube videos, but I don’t have the camera. I don’t have the lights and all of that stuff, right? And look, does it make it easier? Yes, it does. The only thing that I invest in, in regards to technology, in regards to all this stuff is just stuff that allows me to go, to hit, you know, turn everything on, hit the record button, hit the live button and just start talking. None of this I invested because of the quality of the equipment or making the video look better. Although that’s definitely a part of it. The main driver that I have is what can I do to literally speed up my workflow? That’s all that I’m concerned about. So today I’m going to show you, right now you’re looking at, and this is just a Canon EOS R camera with a 50 millimeter 1.2 lens on it. I do have a really nice light. Obviously there’s a microphone, there’s an audio processor, all that stuff, but let’s say you don’t have any of this and you have a MacBook and an iPhone. iPhone has an MacBooks, as long as you have Ventura and the latest version of software on iPhone. iPhone now has the ability to become the wireless webcam of your computer. And I’m going to show you what it looks like for this exact same setup with the exact same lights. What it would look like to use your iPhone as that camera. And then I’m going to show you what it looks like if you didn’t have this light and you had normal lights in your office, some effects that you can put on the camera and make it look somewhat like this to where there’s a lot of depth of field in the background or blurry background as some people call it. You may like to look better, it may look over processed, but what it is going to look like is it will look much better than the camera on your MacBook. And it will allow you to go live without just having to use your phone as the mechanism to go live. You’re still going live with your computer, but your phone is the camera. So if you give me, well, actually don’t even give me a second. I’m going to switch over here to the iPhone here. I’ll cut this in and post. And then you’ll see the exact same shot, only shot with an iPhone using my MacBook. So here’s what that looks like. Okay, so here’s what the camera looks like raw out of the camera. It’s wirelessly connected to my computer. Now I’m recording in 720p, not 1080p, like the video that you just saw. So if it looks a little bit more grainy, that’s why it has nothing to do with the iPhone. I’m recording using QuickTime on my computer, which for some reason does not record in 1080p, it only records in 720p. Maybe you can’t tell the difference, but this is the raw camera, raw video feed right out of the camera. So it’s not as wide as I have back there. I’m framed a little bit different and I can move this around anywhere I want because it’s just on a little tripod, right? So this is just where I’m putting it on the desk. So I can make it a lot more wide if I wanted to. I’m still using the audio from the microphone right here. This is not the audio out of the camera or out of the iPhone, but I want to show you a couple of things that you can do. So the first thing in my Mac, again, if you’re using a newer Mac that has Ventura on it, I’m going to turn on a feature called a portrait. So if I turn on portrait, you’ll notice what happens now is I’m clear and the background video is now blurred out, much like I did with the Canon camera behind this. Now this is all done digitally. This is not optically. And the reason why I tell you it’s not digitally is because you’re going to see like the part of this microphone is in focus, but part is not. And then when I touch it, it goes in focus. And so what the camera is trying to do is it’s processing millions of these data points every single second to try to figure out what it thinks should be in focus and what should not. So it’s going to prioritize your face


and then everything else is going to blur out, which kind of looks pretty cool. Now you’re going to notice that my skin tones are a little bit smoother. It’s definitely more of a process image than if you were going out of a traditional non-processed DSLR. Some people love that. Some people drives us nuts. That would be one of the downsides. I can’t control right white balance, meaning I can’t control the tone of my skin on this manually at least yet. And if there is a way to do it, I don’t know how to do it yet, right? I haven’t been able to figure it out, but I don’t think you can control using this as a continuity camera, the white balance. So you got to be okay with the light that you have in there. You can’t really process the light. That kind of is what it is. There’s nothing really you can do about it. So that would be a downstream, but check this out. I’m in my normal lighting environment right now. Looks a little brighter right now because the iPhone is processing what it thinks should be a good image. It’s not taking, whereas a DSLR shows you exactly what it sees. It does not process anything. This is taking the entire image and it says, hey, based on what we think a good image looks like, we’re going to process image. So the background’s going to be a little lighter. I’m probably going to be a little bit more accentuated for lack of a better term. But if I turn on studio light, this is another feature built right into the Mac.


Check it out now, it adds a lot of contrast. So now the blues are a little bit more prevailing in the background. My face sticks out a little bit more. The blurriness is the same and you can have studio light on and you can turn portrait off. So if you want everything to be in focus and you want all of that back and forth, the background stuff to work, I think that’s totally fine.

If I turn portrait back on, this is what it looks like. Now, I’m going to pause really quick. I’m going to come back out. I’m going to turn on all the lights at full blast. Isn’t it funny that you can see that head from the Pearl Jam poster? I just noticed that just now. So it thinks that that’s part of my head because that is an artwork. So again, that would be one of the random weird limitations when you use digitally processed stuff. But listen, at the end of the day, if that draws people attention in the video and they comment on that, I think that’s a great thing because it’s more interaction for the video. So I’m going to go turn all the lights on in the office up as high as I can go, normal down lights. I’m going to turn off my main, this is what it would look like if I didn’t have a studio light on.

Do you see how my face kind of changes and it reprocesses the image? Now I turned it back on. So I’m going to turn that off and I’m going to turn these main lights on because that’s probably what most of you guys you are looking at. So stand by really quick. Okay, so now this light, the lights in here on, my studio light is still on. So if I turn that off, it’s still going to accentuate my face, right? It’s still going to light me up. They’re still blurry in the background. Audio still sounds good. This picture I think is easily passable if you wanted to go live every single day on YouTube or record videos just like this and upload them to YouTube. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with doing that. I think that if you were starting right now and the only thing that you need to pull this off, yes, I’m using the mic. And I don’t know if I can change this while I’m doing it. I can’t. But you could use the microphone out of your phone. That would be totally fine, right? I just happen to have a mic that works with this. So this is just the camera and the MacBook. And again, if I turn off portrait, this is what it’s going to look like. And if I turn off studio light, this is what it looks like. So you notice that again, there’s nothing lighting up my face. It’s just the natural part of the room. If I turn on studio light, it’s going to focus on my face and it’s going to contrast everything else out, which is great. If I turn on portrait, it’s going to blur out. There’s a third feature on here that says center stage. If I turn that on, that means if my face moves,

the camera’s going to move with me. It’s going to try to center me on that camera. Now, I personally don’t ever use this feature. That feature, it annoys me. But if you’re walking around and somebody’s holding it and you’re not always in one of the thirds in the video, it actually does a really good job, right? The third thing that I want to show you is there’s a little light. I think it was a hundred bucks. Maybe it was 200 bucks.

I can put a link to this in the description below. If you guys want to look for it, there’s other versions of it that are probably cheaper. I don’t know why I got this one specifically, but I’ll show you what that, this is a light that’s just, it’s this big and I can put it right by the camera. I can put it right in my face and it’s actually going to look really good. So let me pause. I’ll get that light out and we’ll see what that looks like. Okay, here’s that light right here. This is what it looks like. It is an aperture. Let me see if I can get the model number on this. Oh, here we go. It is an aperture ALMX lighting up kit. You can charge this with USB-C. Last for probably four or five hours when I turn it on. This is how bright it is.

It’s very bright. This is only on two parts of brightest. But if I turn this light on and I put it over here, I don’t have a mount for it. So I’m going to leave it up there. You’ll notice that this little light will totally light up my face. And I’ve got portrait on. So if I turn portrait off, this is what that looks like. If I turn off studio light, it does this. Now this is with it on. Let me see where I can find the power switch. I don’t really do this. In real time, this is when it’s off. So it makes a big difference. Just that little light.

And like I said, this is only this big. It’s really tiny. It fits in your backpack. It does have a tripod mount on the bottom of it. So you can easily mount it over here to get 45 degree lighting right on this. You can turn it up and down. Yeah, so if I, I mean,(…) that’s as soft as it goes.

That’s as, I mean, it gets really bright to the point where if this was right in your face, after about three minutes, you’d get a headache, right? So it’s got way more power than you need. And for most video applications, again, if I turn on portrait,(…) I’m gonna turn on studio light. Now what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna go turn the exterior lights or the ceiling lights off. And we’re gonna see what that looks like. Okay, so now we’ve got all the lights off, just two blue lights in the background. Those are Aputure B7Cs. They’re like 90 bucks each. They fit in any lamp. They’re battery powered, but they can go from power as well. So now we have portrait on. We have studio light on. And now we’re gonna turn this on. So you notice like, we want this, like, this is too close because it looks like I’m being spotlighted. But if I get it, you know, this is probably, I’d say three feet away from my head. If we put it way back here, which I can’t hold, that lighting is gonna look really good. And so the only thing that I added to my entire setup that I didn’t have, yes, I have those blue lights in the background, but the only thing that I added was this, and it may not even be 200 bucks. Maybe it’s like $120. I have no idea. I bought it forever ago.

But I could buy a $15 tripod on Amazon, put this on my desk, turn this light on. Oh, that was way too bright. I just killed it. I could put this about, you know, three feet away, put it right there, and it would be totally fine. This would be the only investment that you need to make right now. Again, you use the video right out of the iPhone. So it is possible based on the technology that you have right now. I’ll turn my main light back on. It is possible based on the technology that you have right now to create a really good image while you figure out if you want to go all in with DSLRs and microphones and all of that stuff. This would be a way that you could get started today with almost no spend whatsoever. Now, even this 200-buck dollar light, you don’t need this $200 light. You could easily get away with a $30 ring light that’s just 45 degrees off on your left. That would be totally okay. I’m just saying that this light we bought, yeah, this little light we bought, it’s great for me because, A, I can charge it with USB-C, which is what everything runs on except for my phones. It fits in my backpack. And when whatever we’re traveling or anything like that, and I need to record a quick video, I can set this on something real far away, turn it on, and instantly my face, no matter what the environment, is lit up. So that’s the benefit of buying this. If the only reason why you wanted to buy a light would be for in the office, then I would go get a ring light on Amazon for 80 bucks or whatever they cost, one that you can turn up the white balance to go warm or cool based on your skin tones. And I think you would be good. So that’s the difference between using a DSLR and using the iPhone, and I’m not even on the newest iPhone. This is the iPhone, I think 13 Pro Max. It’s not the new one. So I think as long as you have the 12 Max or 12 Pro Max, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, or the 14 Pro, 14 Pro Max, you could do all this stuff. The portrait looks great. I’m using the rear facing camera, not the front facing camera because that’s what allows all this to happen. The rear facing camera, or I should say the front facing camera, the one where the screen is, will still do this stuff, but the effects won’t be as strong because it’s not as good as the camera. So I hope that’s valuable. If you had nothing, I would start this today. When we travel, we do this all the time when I do webinars. If you guys have ever seen me do webinars, when I’m not in the office, this is the setup that you see. A lot of people don’t realize that. They always think that we bring our rig everywhere. Most of the time we don’t. So hope this was valuable. Have an amazing Friday. You have what you need to get started. Get started, publish the content. It may shock you where this goes.

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