Although it began as a weekly five-minute video podcast to teach the basics of digital video filmmaking, the site gained popularity after about 18 months and spurred Israel and his father to create their own podcast network, Glimpster, with the goal of sharing “unbloated tutorials covering a wide range of subjects.”
Approximately a third of the episodes deal with lighting, as Hyman places the importance of good lighting above even the quality of the camera itself. The rest cover topics like camera settings, sound, and editing for the internet. Viewers can, and do, comment on each episode, often thanking Hyman or asking for additional clarification. He often uses his children, Trinity and Blake, as models as when demonstrates the filming techniques, adding narration and overlaying text to introduce and explain topics. He gets information across simply, with few bells and whistles and just the slightest amount of humor.
In his first July Fourth-themed installment, Hyman talked all about shooting fireworks (or anything, really) in the dark, for those planning to record Independence Day fireworks in the U.S. Besides being timely, he’s also careful to pay attention to his viewer’s desires, using many of the later episodes to answer viewer questions like what kind of sound equipment to use and which lighting devices he prefers. There’s nothing too complicated, and there aren’t any secrets or tricks; most of his suggestions, such as using Fresnels for lighting, are basic and commonly used.
Hyman is also mindful that many of his watchers are also weekend videographers, and so he gives tips, both in the videos and online, on how to avoid going over budget—a very practical issue for a vlog supported only by donations.
In an interesting experiment, Israel combined his film-vlogging skills with his father’s digital photography weblog called Woven Shadows to create a dual episode, since many of the lighting concepts are the same for both. The audience loved the collaboration and with good reason, since he shows how photography and filmmaking merge into one another, in the attempt to achieve a good, cinematic still.