I Copied Peter McKinnon | Studio Makeover

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Apr 1, 2020

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The coronavirus outbreak has brought the world to a screeching halt. Closures and event cancellations are happening everywhere, leaving many people out of work. This is particularly apparent in the creative industry. So it becomes necessary to work on improving your craft as best as you can. In that vein, I copied Peter McKinnon for my studio makeover.

Social Distancing Makes Things Difficult

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq_st9o5jvA While all of us are stuck at home, practicing our social distancing, the Gear Focus team is hard at work. We are really pushing to improve our YouTube Channel. What better way to improve our channel and work than by emulating and learning from our role models? For those of you who don't know, Peter McKinnon is one of the top photography and videography YouTubers. He has amassed 4.5 million subscribers at the writing of this blog, and continues to grow steadily. As a team, we have learned so much by watching his videos! Peter McKinnon Subscribers Because of our social distancing, the majority of our content is going to be done remotely. Here at Gear Focus we have two separate shooting spaces. Our main studio is just south of Baltimore and the editing studio is located in northern Maryland. I got a new desk for the studio so I figured I would rearrange some things. Right before I did that, I watched one of Peter's most recent videos and it got me thinking.

What Did I Learn when I Copied Peter McKinnon?

There are a lot of things that Peter McKinnon does in his videos. He covers topics ranging from tutorials and new gear all the way to driving $100k trucks through the desert in Dubai. However, there are a few consistent themes that Peter carries over to every video. Over the quarantine break, we figured it would be a good idea to try and improve on our skills.

On-Camera Personality

Another thing I've learned from copying Peter McKinnon is that he is amazing on camera. His personality is one that just about everyone can like. Now, obviously we can't please everyone and there are plenty of people out there who don't like Peter. I'm sure there's a bunch of people out there who don't like me either!! Practicing my enthusiasm on camera is something I really need to work on. My personality is slightly different on camera because I know people are watching. During my quarantine days, I'm going to spend more time being myself in front of the camera. Part of that is talking to a camera even when it's not on. Simple things like that can vastly improve my on camera personality.

Use of Natural Light

Another key element in a lot of Peter's videos is the use of natural light. Even in his brand new studio, he still does what he can to use as much natural light as possible. I wanted to copy this from Peter McKinnon to improve the lighting in my editing suite. Natural light, in my opinion, just looks better than studio lighting, especially when used properly. It is already diffused making it look like a soft box. The color cast of natural light is also much more natural, obviously, so skin tones usually look great! Proper lighting can make all the difference in your video Natural light isn't the easiest to work with. As the time changes, your lighting source will shift. This forces you to work quickly, and if done properly, more efficient as well. All in all, natural light is a great way to light your video. Since I will be holed up in the editing studio for the foreseeable future, I will be using limited gear. I don't have nearly the lighting set up at my house as we do at the studio. Working with natural light is a challenge I am really looking forward to tackling!

Sexy B-Roll

This is probably one of Peter McKinnon's biggest strengths. Almost every video he releases has some type of amazing looking b-roll sequence. It's kind of what he is known for on Youtube. This is another great thing that I learned from copying Peter McKinnon. For me, B-roll has always been a struggle. It's something I drastically need to improve to bring the quality of our videos up! As I mentioned earlier, I have very limited gear here at the editing studio. I actually view this as a positive! At this point, I'm going to have to really learn the gear that I have and make changes and adapt. This will allow me to become a better filmmaker and YouTuber over the course of this outbreak. Canon EOS R Peter has an amazing ability to adapt to his surroundings. He is able to take footage with a Canon EOS R, which is a $1,800 camera, and somehow match it to his $30,000 RED camera. To me, this shows a wide range of flexibility and the ability to adapt. This is one of those things that is the sign of someone who is truly talented.

My Takeaway

At the end of the day, we are all going to have to make changes in our lives. You shouldn't copy someone like Peter McKinnon exactly, but you should borrow concepts and add your own twist. We should take this time to learn new skills and improve ourselves. This way we can continue to FEED OUR PASSION of creating awesome photo and video content. My hope is that at the end of this, we are all better at doing what we do.

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