Vortex Media training dvds, EX1 and lighting.

Everything I have commented on, cameras, adaptors etc. have been paid for by myself. I don’t get sent review copies or free gear. Although anybody out there who wants to send me free gear please do. As long as you understand I will review it as if I paid for it. If it is good I will rave, if it isn’t I won’t! I remain fiercely independent. Which makes all my recommendations much more valuable. If I think it is good it means I have used it and alternatives and I think it is the one to go for. Like I did with shoulder mounts, cameras, adaptors, hats and V neck jumpers.

The Vortex Media EX1 training DVD is an essential purchase. Even for someone like me who uses the camera most days and knows most of what it can do. I learnt quite a few little things from it and for the the beginner this is the best learning tool out there.

It last 3 hours and covers the camera fully. From operation to ingest. You learn more here that any manual and is great for quick reference.

I have one for XDCAM HD F350 and it was so useful. I have also seen the ENG lighting DVD, I watched it and thought, god I wish many cameramen I have worked with or know had this DVD! I remember as a sound recordist 15 years or so ago working with a cameraman who lit an interview with two red heads quite close up 1 on each side. Even then when I knew nothing I thought, god this is going to look awful!

It is so often forgotten about but lighting is just about the most important thing out there for any DP, cameraman, videographer etc. So much stuff on TV news I see is shot with a top light (I do own one and sometimes I use, very rarely, but I always said if I ever light an interview with a toplight is the day I need to change careers as I no longer care!)

My lighting techniques, as you can see from my work, are very natural. Often using just one light and making the most of what ambient/ available light there is.

This DVD is superb too, although the lighting techniques are more “American” than UK, shooters out there will know what I mean and their style is not my cup of tea. It doesn’t lessen it’s value. Their interviews look very nice and they teach you so much in it and all with a very affordable lighting kit. Anyone starting out or who things they need a better understand of lighting should get this.

If you REALLY want to learn everything about lighting then get the book “Matters of light and depth” from Amazon. A stunning book.

I am in talks with a company to do a series of “How to” clips to go on my website and theirs. If anyone is interested let me know what topics you would like me to cover.

I can do lighting, camera operation, one man band sound, chat up lines. You tell me!

In the meantime get the DVDs. There is nothing better out there. I have a good friend who has no clue about the EX1 and wants to get to know it. He had a bad experience when his cameraman failed to backup up the card more than once losing valuable material he shot in a remote area of Siberia. So his faith in the format has been dented, so much so that he gave me one of his 2 Ex1s as payment for a job. But it is my mission to convince him it is way better than his Canon A1. So he has my EX1 Vortex DVD, the camera and I will see him in two weeks and expect him to be in love with the camera again!

I have to mention am writing this in 1st class on a plane to LA. About to eat Lunch then I shall have a massage. I wish I could always fly like this. I used up all my air-miles for this flight. From now on it’s cattle class all the way.


Oh and Steve Cahill has more info on his blog here his site is well worth visiting!!


  1. As a complete beginner I have to agree with everything you say here. The Vortex Media DVD’s are superb. Some have complained about the cost, as if they’re expecting to pay the price of a mass-market commercial release in the bargain bin of their local HMV. Training costs money, and these DVDs are amongst the best value-for-money training out there.

    This blog and Steve Cahill’s (as well as the PMW-EX forums of course) are the best training resources out there. Can’t wait for your “How to…” series. Personally I’d love to see something on sound, since I know very little about it and I’ve been really struggling with what I need, especially when it comes to wireless.

    Thanks again for all the great work you do on this blog and elsewhere. Hope you have fun on your current trip!

  2. Philip,

    Great blog, and outstanding footage! Your work is amazing.

    You mentioned above a book called “Masters of light and depth”. Did you mean Matters of Light & Depth by Ross Lowell?

    Thanks, Scott K.

  3. Thanks Philip for all of your sharing so much with us.
    I do think there is a difference between American and European lighting, especially on interviews. Why is that and what is the difference?

  4. Apart from needing new 110v bulbs and a new transformer for my dedo the electricity causes flickering in the lights unless you are the correct country setting in the camera.

  5. Hi Phill,

    Great recommendations…I already owe both dvd’s and the book – in fact I am just finishing reading it…and these are great learning tools…these are really great recommendations for folks out there….

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