Technical Details

Editing in Final Cut

We often hear the question, “What did you use to make this?” To satisfy all the audio and video geeks out there, we provide you with this list of equipment and tools used in the production of Opus 54. All the software and equipment is well within the reach of any serious amateur filmmaker or photographer.

Cameras and Lighting

We love to use Canon cameras. We used a combination of high definition video and still photos in the production of the film. Three Canon HV20 1080i videocameras were used for the video portion of the project. A single Canon Rebel XSi 12 megapixel camera was used for still photography. The camera was supplemented by a Canon 430ex II strobe. The kit XSi lens was used for much of the photography, but a Canon 50mm ƒ1.8 prime lens was used extensively as well. A few cheap discount store tripods served us well.

Good light is probably more important than good hardware. To that end we used a pair of 200-300 watt reflector lights softened by two umbrellas. We often used a single naked clamp light for background fill and background lighting accent to add a little more interest to the interview shots. We can’t claim to have used any special lighting arrangement. Instead, we positioned lighting until we thought the result looked nice. Typically that meant some sort of key light facing the interviewee, and a secondary lamp to the side providing fill light and accents.


A full interview setup. Lighting is in place, cameras are in place, and the audio unit is aimed right at the guest’s chair.

We took the kit on the road too. Here’s the setup at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves, MO (a suburb of St. Louis).

The Zoom H4n faced the interviewee straight on and the stereo microphones picked up excellent sound.

If you plan on editing video, a large monitor is a must-have item.

Audio and Software

All audio was recorded with the amazing and incredibly capable Zoom H4n Handy Recorder. Audio was recorded in full stereo at maximum quality and later synched with the film for editing. We can’t recommend this little device highly enough. If you have any need for serious recording quality, get yourself a Zoom H4n.

We used a variety of software tools to produce Opus 54. They include Apple iMovie for importing footage from the tapes, Apple Final Cut for editing the film, Adobe Audition and Apple Logic Pro for audio processing, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign for print and graphic work, Apple Pages for word processing, and Apple Aperture for image processing. All work was done on a pair of MacBook Pro laptop computers and a 23” Apple Cinema Display.

All footage was captured on Canon HV20s set to 24p “cinema mode.” The HV20 records video at 1080i (interlaced) high definition. We imported the footage at 540p (progressive) high definition. The final cut will be exported to 720p high definition video and delivered in DVD format and online.