Make DIY Sound Gobos Using A Memory Foam Mattress

One of the hardest tasks that a diy video or audio producer will encounter is recording high quality audio in less than optimal recording environments.

Often when we create videos for clients we are required to record audio voiceovers or other types of overdub. The uninitiated might think that you require expensive recording equipment to capture a high quality sound.

In truth good qualiy recording equipment has never been easier to use or cheaper. That hard part is creating a high quality recording environment

In this article I’m going to show you how you can create a great audio recording environment using a cheap memory foam mattress like those you can find at that will help you get pro sounding audio overdubs.

Sound Bounces Off Walls

In the recent movie Begin Again starring Kiera Knightly and Mark Ruffalo the main characters are required to record a studio album on a budget.

Because they don’t have much money they decide to do it outdoors. The casual viewer might think that was because they could not afford to rent a space to record in, but anyone with a background in audio recording would have known the real reason.

The real reason is that when you are inside in room, any room, the properties of the room influence the quality of the sound in that room.

Think of it like when light shines through a stained glass window the light takes on the color due to the properties of the glass. Well, in recording audio, the room is like the glass. Every room that you record in acts like a fliter on the sound emphasising some fequencies and deempahsising other frequencuies.

It happens because of the way the sound is reflected around the room. The sound takes on a color and for recording audio this is a bad thing.

Professional studios are designedt to minimise this effect. The sound still echos around the room but the room is contructed so that the sound is not overly colored. Like a seethrough normal glass window.

Buy your spare bedroom or your office has probably not been contructed like this. So anything you record in that environment will be colored by the type of room.

So What Can Be Done About It?

So I promised some help on this. Well here is what we have done here at Antos for recording video voiceovers.

We simply purchased a cheap memory foam mattress and used it stood on it’s end behind the recording source. So for example if we are recording a voiceover we have the narrator stand. Obviously the microphone faces the narrator but behind the narrator is a large memory foam mattress. This mattress absorbs the sound so that the only thing that the microphone which is directional is picking up is the sound of the voice and not the reflections of the room.

This results in a dry sounding recording without any reverb so we digitally add in a little reverb effect to recreate the room. It’s a but like recording a green screen video. The memory foam mattress acts like the green screen, isolating only the source that we want to record and allowing us to place that source in any audio environment we choose using reverb impulse response technology.

To save even more money you could use a simple memory foam mattress topper, which is a thin version like these ones here, but you will need to build a structure to help it stand up.

I should add that unless you plan to also sleep on the mattress then you don’t need to pay any more than about $150 and this makes it a very affordable solution to getting high quality audio recordings done on a budget.

Another cheap sound gobo alternatives is the insulation material that you put inside walls but it’s very messy and itchy and I think memory foam is a much better alternative.



Promo Video For Gift Hampers Company

If I were to ask you what was the largest search engine in the world I can bet that in under 1 second you’ll tell me it’s Google.

And you’d be right. But when I then ask you what the second largest search engine is you might need to think for a little longer.

Some people will guess it’s Bing or Yahoo. In fact it’s Google again. YouTube as everyone knows is owned by Google and it’s the 2nd most popular place we search on the web.

Lots of people turn to YouTube when they are looking for answers to their questions and that’s why increasingly more and more ecommerce companies are opting to go further than simple static images to showcase their products.


We were recently approached by a client from the UK that wanted to do something to get their products onto YouTube. Unique Gift Hampers is a UK  based ecommerce business that makes really tasty looking gift baskets they have already had high resolution product photography.

I suggested that a simple video could be made where we would use the existing product photography and zoom over the gift to create a video. Of course that alone would not be very interesting but we could also add background music and voiceover recordings describing the products. I was confident the end result would make a half decent video, and most importantly it would be functional and tell the viewer what they needed to know.

Sometimes with video production for the web we need to remember that we are not going to be in the running for any Oscars not over complicate the task and create unneccesary cost. The important thing is to create a video to use on YouTube and to reach new potential customers.

My favorite tool for quick and easy video creation of this type is Camtasia Studio from TechSmith. It’s just so easy to use and the pan and zoom features are excellent. In under 1 hour I was able to create a quirky promo video for the gifts that my client was very happy with and they have ordered 20 more videos to get all their products onto YouTube to try to reach this new market.

Stock audio was used from some of my favorite quirky music producers at an affordable price to help give a modern, fun feel to the video. The end result is a little like those Apple adverts that have a really positive vibe, and that’s down to the fun music and quick cutting.

The end result is a cheap, affordable ecommerce product video that extends the reach of your products without great expense. It’s really something that all eccommerce players should be doing.

If you would like ANTOS to create similar videos for your ecommerce business then we can do that for you. Please get in touch with us to discuss pricing and options.



Setting Up Podcasting for Paleo Soup

Alistair from approached us recently to help him put together some audio for his new venture – The Paleo Soup Podcast.


Paleo, if you’re not familiar with it refers to eating only foods that were available to our paleolithic ancestors and soup is well you know what soup is.

It’s a healthy diet and Alistair is planning on eating only paleo soup for most of december to try to get in shape. He’s also audio blogging about it and posting recipes on his site.

Setting The Mood

The current theme for the podcast is something called Paleo Soupfest. It’s a festival of soup (whatever that is).

So I wanted to find some festive music for the overdubs.

One of the tricks of that trade that I don’t usually share is a place to find great royalty free music for low prices.

Audio tracks on Jewel beat can be found for $2.99. Until recently that were only 99 cents to while a 300% price hike is a lot they are still the cheapest around.

So I turned to Jewel beat to help find some really cool music for the podcast.

Next on the list was installing the free WordPress podcasting plug in from Blubrry call PowerPress.

The whole thing is really quite painless. You simply upload mp3 files with FTP and then specify the url of the podcast in wordpress posts using the PowerPress pluging.

After that as if by magic an audio player appears at the top of your wordpress posts.

PowerPress also provides a feed url. Then from within iTunes you can submit this podcast url. It takes between 3 – 8 days to get your podcast reviewed by Apple and then all being will you will start appearing in the iTunes podcast directory.

Podcasting is seen by many as one of the leading ways you can develop your online brand. Written text can be a but sterile and podcasting adds funs and color to your web presence.

If you’d like ANTOS to help setup podcasting for your business then please get in touch with us. We’d be delighted to help.


Sizing Up Carry On Luggage For Photography Equipment

I often travel for video and photography projects and when that happens I can be carrying quite expensive equipment so ideally I never let my bag leave my sight.

It’s important to use a carry on bag that has adequate protection for my equipment and to make sure it’s packed correctly. If I arrived at a shoot and my equipment was damaged it could be a potential disaster.

To show you how I prepare and pack my DSLR for photography trips take a look at this short video.

Packing A Carry On Bag To Protect Your DSLR

Compartments And More Compartments

Most camera bags will have multiple compartments so you can store all your bits and pieces. This is handy to store those extra SD cards, batteries and time switches.

Whatever you do make sure your bag is waterproof, it’s really important not to get your gear wet at any time.

A good camera bag will have the main interior seperated in to compartments for lenses as well as the camera body itself.

Keeping Hold Of Your Bag

As well as packing your carry on bag correctly you need to make sure it’s not too big so as to fall foul of the airline restrictions regarding carry on luggage.

That last thing you want is your carry on camera bag getting thrown around by baggage handlers so it’s REALLY important to make sure you bag is not too large so you don’t need to check your baggage into the hold area of the plane.

Caselogic do a great range of carry on camera bags  that you can use to protect your valuables and is the best site I have found about airline luggage size restrictions.

If you would like to contract Antos for photography or video work we can and do travel so no matter where you are let us know about your project and we’ll let you know if it’s something we can help you with.

Air travel is much more affordable these days so it can sometimes make a lot of sense to fly in expertise to ensure a project is carried out to a high standard. Don’t always assume you will be cheaper with a local media agency as in our experience this is certainly not always the case.

What Does (not provided) mean in Google Analytics

Some of my clients have been asking me why their Google Analytics showing high visitor counts for the keyword (not provided).

I was typing out a rather long email response when I decided to turn it into a quick blog post so that other could benefit too.

Here is a quick screen shot of what’s happening. The site below has had 14, 153 visits from Google but we don’t know what the search keyword was that resulted in our site being found.


Secure Searching

The thing all these google searches all have in common is that they were made using the secure version of the google search engine.

That is to say that if the user had looked in the browser bar they would have seen the https:// address rather than the http:// address.

For some time google has been redirecting users that were logged in to Google to the secure version of their search engine. This has meant that keyword data from google was not appearing in google analytics when users were logged in but it was still showing up for searches that were not logged in.

But Why Is The Number Increasing?

What’s changed is that Google is now redirecting all users to the secure version so that keyword data is basically disappearing from Google Analytics.

Google views this a privacy issue. They feel that they should not be revealing the keywords that their users are using to find websites to the website owners.

Interestly they don’t hold the same opinion on privacy when it comes to paid traffic as they are continuing to provide keyword data to PPC advertisers but that’s another story.

So What Can Be Done About It

Unfortunately not much can be done. Google does provide some information through the webmaster tools data but this is generally viewed as much inferior data that what was available before. My advice to clients is to not worry too much about what keywords are driving traffic and to pay attention to what landing pages are getting the most visits and more importantly what pages are converting best into whatever goal your website has.

If you have not setup goal tracking you should do it straight away as it’s a powerful way to get the best returns from your site.

If you would like Antos to help you setup goal tracking please drop us a line and we can discuss it with you.

Creating The Best Cheap Product Video For Jogging Stroller Training Biz

How To Create A Quick Product Video For YouTube

Last week I created a short video for one of my clients. The brief was to creative something professional looking but quick to keep costs down.

You might be aware that in recent times google have placed a great deal of emphasis on videos in their search results meaning anyone that wants their site to rank on the first page of google stands a much better chance of doing so if they have a video embedded on that page.

I was asked by Heidi Jacobs of if there was any way I could create a basic video in less than 1 hour as the available budget was small.

Not being one that likes to disappoint I created this video on the top ten best selling jogging strollers in less than 30 minutes and kept the price within budget.

With permission I have created this tutorial so that you can do the same.

Tools You Will Require

Camtasia Studio Software

Google Chrome Browser

Adobe Photo Shop

Mp3 Background Music – This time the client supplied an MP3that I used otherwise I would have selected something from JewelBeat for 99 cents.

Step 1 – Create A Title Screen

First Up I created this quick image in photoshop. It’s self explanatory really so I won’t go into detail….

It’s a rounded rectable with a angled gradient. Simple text on top with a stroke to make it stand out.


This image is to form the intro screen for the video. It’s purpose is to quickly explain what the video is about and to display the url of the clients website.

This image can be imported into Camtasia using the Import Media Function and form there can be simply dragged from the clip bin into the timeline.

I also apply fade transition effects to the video to make things a little smoother.

Total Time 8 minutes


Step 2 – Download Product Images From Amazon

This can be a little trickey as amazon displays the large product images using a javascript slideshow. This means that you cannot simply right-click and save the images but don’t fear it’s not so hard to find them using the Inspect Element feature on google chrome.

Go to the product that you want to display and right-click the image. Then go to Inspect Element.



Then click on the Resources Tab and go to Frames > Images.



Here you will see every image that is used to construct the webpage. You need to scroll through all the images to find the largest image available to make the HD video.

Repeat this process for all the top 10 items (in this case the top ten best jogging strollers).

Total Time 10 minutes

Step 3 – Download Product Images From Amazon

Now that you have the top ten images in large resolution jpegs the next step is to import them into Camtasia Studio.

Simply import the images into the clip bin and them drag them down onto the timeline. Arrange them in the order you require.

Camtasia has many great tools for adding written text overlays to your video so you can add these to provide useful product information to make the video more engaging.

The best way however is to record a simple voiceover describing the pros and cons of the product who image is currently displaying.

Total Time 10 minutes

These simple 3 steps can be carried out in under 30 minutes and the end result is an effective engaging video that can be placed on your website.

If you are interested in getting a quick product video down for your website and would like something similar to this video then please get in touch via the contact form.


Note: This client had a special need to create a budget video. This is not the type of video I would recommend for corportate clients. is a site for mums involved in running with their babies and the video requirements were not something that would be appropriate for a corporate client.



Adobe Creative Cloud Hacked


Over the last 8 years I have used one tool without fail almost every day of my working life.

Well, to say one tool is not entirely accurate. The Adobe Creative Suite is a collection of tools including design essentials like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator as well as video editing software such as Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects.

The creative suite has been the engine that has driven my business to where it is today. Most digital media tasks are helped by some tool that is part of the creative suite package whether it be audio/video work, graphic design, photography or web publishing.

So when Adobe announced earlier in the year that they would no longer be developing Creative Suite and focusing on their Creative Cloud alternative it was big news in the industry.

The principle difference between the two suites is a switch a subscription payment model that requires Adobe to keep you cards on file for monthy billing. Additionally the “cloud” part of the new moniker refers to the cloud storage that comes with the suite making it easy for multiple users to work on the same files in different time zones.

Earlier in October the Adobe Creative Cloud was hacked and millions of credit card details were stolen along with the Adobe Creative Cloud source code.

“We also believe the attackers removed from our systems certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers, including customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates… We deeply regret that this incident occurred. We’re working diligently internally, as well as with external partners and law enforcement, to address the incident.”

While cloud integration offers some great benefits if these kinds of security breaches are possible it undermines the entire business model.

Frankly Adobe’s new strategy potentially threatens their position as the market leader in digital media software, I believe many are looking for a change but at the moment the cometition is simply not up to standard.

It will be interesting to see if any competitor steps for foward to capitalise on the many disgruntled Adobe users that are looking for change.

Here at ANTOS of course our clients needs come first and we will continue to use the best tools available to deliver the best results and for the moment at least Adobe are still the only game in town.


Now Offering Creative Marketing Services

We are now offering a DONE FOR YOU SERVICE creative marketing services for small and medium businesses.

let us do it

Starting from October 2013 ANTOS now provide eye catching digital graphics, beautiful photography and video for your websites and social media platforms. Hot services include:

  • Social Media Platform Graphic Design
  • Infographics
  • Blog Content Creation


We will of course continute to educate and inspire through our blog and the tutorials will keep coming.