This is article #1 in the DSLR Video Weekly series. If you'd like the whole thing in one shot, check out the book Creating DSLR Video: From Snapshots to Great Shots. Whether you stumbled across the video options in your DSLR camera or specifically selected your camera with video shooting in mind, I welcome you to the world of DSLR video. Telling stories with video is enjoyable and challenging. Your camera is a great tool, but by its very nature, video is a complex medium. Throughout this book I’ll focus on teaching you the most important … [Read more...] about DSLR Video Weekly: Why Is DSLR Video So Popular?
I do a lot of shooting with GoPro cameras. They offer a great size to price to performance ratio and really allow for some creative work. The thing is, the more you shoot with GoPros, the more accessories and gadgets you collect. The GoPro camera is all about getting unique angles and point of view shots, so a bit of gear goes a long way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjjiVlmn9wA Here's what's in my GoPro Go Bag, if you're looking for gift ideas or something for yourself, this list is what I take in the field for most projects. Do I … [Read more...] about The Ultimate GoPro 5 Kit
Trying to record sound with your video? Having a good microphone is nearly worthless if you don't put it in the right position. The closer you can get the mic to the source of the audio the stronger the signal. Skimp on taking the time to position and test your mics and you run the risk of noisy and hollow sounding audio. Here are a few guiding principles when it comes to microphone placement: Too far away. Extend your thumb and pinky finger in opposite directions. This is a good target distance for the microphone to be from the mouth … [Read more...] about There’s No Replacement for Microphone Placement
Plan to shoot video with your DSLR or Mirrorless cameras? Chances are you might use more than one camera body while shooting footage. This may be to get an extra angle or to avoid having to change lenses in the field. The closer your camera settings the match, the more seamless it will appear when you edit the different footage together. Ideally the acquired footage will match as closely as possible. This means that you to adjust both the aesthetic and technical properties. Aesthetic Matching Look inside the camera and check your menu … [Read more...] about Quickly Calibrate DSLR Cameras for Video
Whether you’re shooting video or stills, portable LED lights have become very widely-accepted for use indoors or out because of their portability and their small size/weight. I’ve used half a dozen different brands of LED lights. They all have the basics in common. They typically run on battery (some on battery or AC/DC), they don’t get hot to the touch like traditional strobes or non-LED constant lighting. They are almost all very lightweight and portable. I evaluated three such lights from Polaroid. Yes Polaroid. While you may remember … [Read more...] about Polaroid Portable LED Lights – First Look
There are so many different types of tripod heads and it can get confusing on which one to use depending on what you’re shooting. I like it when my gear complements my photography, rather than getting in the way or making my job harder. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of tripod heads. Ball Heads Ball heads are the most popular tripod head for photography. The rotating ball lets you position the camera in almost any way imaginable, with a locking screw letting you lock the ball in position. It gives you the most flexibility in … [Read more...] about Breaking Down the Different Types of Tripod Heads
There are a wide variety of digital cameras available than can shoot video. In this section, we’ll primarily explore the options available when shooting DSLR video. However the core technology discussed is also relevant to most video cameras being produced today. Which type of camera will work best for you? It depends to a great extent on the type of work you do. Choosing the Right Camera for Video Shooting Digital still cameras have recently gained a new feature: the ability to shoot high definition video. Still photographers are … [Read more...] about Choosing the Right Camera for Video Shooting
While DSLR video cameras are very capable, there are some times when it’s going to be better to use a traditional video camera. There are a number of functions that are either missing on DSLRs or are not well-suited to the form factor. Here are some considerations that would make a traditional video camera a better choice. Autofocus - Many DSLR cameras simply can’t autofocus when they are in video shooting mode. And the ones that do autofocus may do it with too much “searching.” Consumer video cameras often feature autofocus options. … [Read more...] about When Should You use a Traditional Video Camera Instead of a DSLR?
Shooting video on a DSLR, Mirrorless or Micro Four Thirds camera can be challenging. Let's look at how to choose the right camera or camera configuration for the task at hand. Even if you only have one camera to use, you can figure out how to optimize your set-up for the job. Form Factor Shooting video on a DSLR camera is currently not a well-designed experience in terms of ergonomics. The technical need to shoot with the camera’s mirror open requires the photographer to compose a shot using the DSLR’s LiveView feature or LCD monitor. As … [Read more...] about How to Get a Stable Shot When Shooting Video
When shooting video on a DSLR, you will be recording to one of the camera’s memory slots to a card. You’ll often feel as though you don’t have many choices when it comes to choosing your camera storage format. While some manufacturers support more than one format (offering both a CompactFlash and a Secure Digital card slot), the choice is still made by the camera manufacturer. Card format Knowing what each format is capable of is important. All modern storage formats have their advantages and limitations. You can use this knowledge when … [Read more...] about Advice When Shooting Video to a Memory Card
With new cameras being released every month and new developments in memory card technology, many readers have struggled to find a memory card reader that works well for them. My friend Michael Tapes, designer of LensAlign, was having an issue finding a card reader that could grow with him and evolve as his cameras evolve. The Nikon D5 shoots either dual XQD or dual CF cards, Nikon D810 shoots SD and CF, Nikon D500 shoots XQD and SD, Canon 1DX Mark II shoots CF and CFast cards, and both the Canon 5D Mark III and 5Ds R shoot CF and SD cards. As … [Read more...] about Speed Up your Import Workflow with a New Card Reader
A few weeks ago, I rented a Sony A7s Mark II camera from LensRentals.com for a trip to a few Southern California beaches. After using the camera for about 2 weeks, one of my absolute favorite features of the Sony a7 series cameras is the inclusion of a micro-USB port. Packing so much performance into a small body can really be a draw on the batteries, and Sony's little batteries are some of the worst on the market. Luckily, you can power the camera externally using the micro-USB port on the side of a camera. Now you may be thinking, how am I … [Read more...] about External Power for Sony A7 Series Cameras
As you evaluate cameras for shooting DSLR video, one of the most important factors is the format or codec the camera records in. Different manufacturers use different file formats (and may offer different choices within their own product lines). It is essential that you understand the impact of codec, let’s compare how video compression relates to still compression. When shooting stills, you can often choose to shoot raw, TIFF, or JPEG. Raw files allow for superior latitude during post-processing since raw images are not permanently … [Read more...] about Choosing the Best Capture Format for Recording Video
It is that time of year again. NAB is just around the corner. My inbox and social media have already been flooded with official announcements and "unofficial" leaks. What am I excited to see on the show floor? There is a lot to cover, so let's dive in. Lytro Cinema — Lytro's light field cameras caused quite a stir in the photography community a while back. And, while the consumer market was not ready for the Illium, Lytro has not been idle. I knew they had VR projects in the pipeline, but I did not see Lytro Cinema coming. … [Read more...] about What to Look For At NAB 2016
I've been working from the road for the past several weeks, only stopping home to repack my bags and maybe sleep for a night. One of the ways I stay sane when flying so much is using Bose QC25 noise-cancelling headphones. While being able to catch up on work (or sleep) in peace on the plane, the headphones come with a downside…they need a AAA battery to power the noise cancelling. But they work for about 35 hours on a single AAA battery. Last week, I was boarding an early-morning flight to Atlanta. When I got to my seat, I put on my Bose … [Read more...] about I Didn’t Bring a Backup
Think Tank Photo has just announced the release of their latest product, the Production Manager 50, a gigantic roller case designed to hold an immense amount of gear, including lighting equipment and large light modifiers. This case will allow a single photographer to transport what it used to take up to two assistants to move! Its size, in case you were wondering, is impressive; Exterior Dimensions: 17.3” W x 53.1” H x 12.6” D (44 x 135 x 32 cm), Interior Dimensions: 15.6” W x 49.2” H x 10” D (39.5 x 125 x 25 cm), and its Weight: 20.7 – 29.8 … [Read more...] about Think Tank Has Released The Largest Rolling Photography Case Ever!
That’s right…March 31st is World Backup Day! The stories and memories we capture through images are priceless, but they may not last forever without a solid backup plan. On World Backup Day, make sure that you’re precious files are backed up safe and sound. What should I Check Make sure your backup drives are all booting up and spinning Check that there is enough space to continue backing up, or look into getting a larger hard drive If your system has an automated backup, check and make sure it's completing it's backup without … [Read more...] about March 31st is World Backup Day
In what certainly counts as the least surprising Apple keynote in recent years, the company teased two new products on Monday that shrink existing products: a new 4-inch iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. While the phone is aimed squarely at new customers, the iPad seems to answer many of the complaints existing Apple devotees had of their massive 12-inch iPad Pro which hit the streets six months ago. The new more svelte iPad Pro packs almost all of the processing punch of it's bigger sibling into the more hand-friendly 9.7-inch form factor 200 … [Read more...] about There’s a New, Smaller iPad Pro. Should You Care?
When shooting a portrait or head shot outdoors or inside a studio, I always use a reflector or bounce card to add some sparkle to the subject. This is Emily, I first shot her without any reflected light indoors in my studio. Now, I will add some reflected light directly below her and just out of the bottom frame. Notice Garrett is holding the reflector. Some photographers will ask the talent to just hold the reflector because they have no one to assist them. Get a stand or something, never ask your subject to hold the reflector on … [Read more...] about Reflected Beauty
Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
This is an exciting week for photographers who love shooting fast-moving subjects. Canon dropped the details of their new flagship camera with up to 16 frames per second, 4K video and screaming-fast processing power. At $6,000 US for the hulking body many speed shooters will drool over the EOS-1 D X Mark II, but only the financially flush will be scooping them up. As if on cue, Sony pulled the covers off their tiny speed demon this morning and it brings some of the rapid-fire prowess of the big professional DSLRs and it does it for 1/6th the … [Read more...] about Sony A6300 – Pocket Monster
So often someone will take the time to light the talent to look great but forget to light the background and give the image some depth: One method is to use a Cucoloris. Some will refer to it a s a cookie cutter:The Cucoloris will create a shadowed texture onto your background depending on the distance the light source is from the Cucoloris. The general rule with light is that the closer the light the softer the light, the larger the light the softer the light. Allow me to show you this theory in practical application:As you can see in the … [Read more...] about Cucoloris for Shadowed Texture
One of the most used tools on a Hollywood set, oh heck on any set, is the C-Stand. C in Roman numerals representing the numeral 100 is how the C-Stand got its name, 100's of uses. When closed it's 53" high, it can be extended to 10'6", it usually is ordered with a 40" arm and Grip Head. The C-Stand is a very versatile tool in the photographer's arsenal. Allow me to show you how to take advantage of the C-Stand. One way is a reflector holder:You simply secure a piece of foamcore or any material that you're using to reflect light onto the talent. … [Read more...] about C-Stands 101
When Nikon showed off the D5 at CES last month, Canon devotees muttered, "Just wait!" Now the wait is over and Canon has announced their forthcoming flagship DSLR, the EOS-1 D X Mark II. While the blazing 14 FPS frame rate and shiny new autofocus technology will deservedly garner much of the attention over the next few days, there are a few things about the new beefy camera that are truly surprising to me. For the record, I have been a Canon EOS user for over 20 years and I have a battered old EOS-1 to prove it. I sold my EOS 5D Mark III and 7D … [Read more...] about Canon’s New EOS-1 D X Mark II Brings Some Surprises
As a working professional who relies on Canon gear to run my business, I get excited when I wake up to news that there's a new flagship camera on the market. This morning, Canon dropped the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. While I am a self professed non-techie, I still felt obligated to check out the specs to see what they could mean for me: Price Point: Gulp. Let's face it. This camera is $6 grand ($5,999) and that's a lot of money for most of us. That's twice the price point of what (I would argue) are Canon's most popular pro cameras in the 5D … [Read more...] about My First Impressions of the New Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Triggertrap just released Version 4.1 of their already-amazing iOS app. Their developers re-wrote the core of the app to bring some pretty cool new features. For those that don't know, Triggertrap is a camera remote control solution that uses your smartphone to trigger your camera. The app can use things like the face detection sensor, motion sensors, internal cocks, GPS, sound and vibration sensors to trigger a camera. Whether you want to capture an epic timelapse movie, a dramatic long exposure shot or dive into explosive high-speed … [Read more...] about Triggertrap iOS Version 4.1
Some of the most used tools on a Hollywood set are C-Stands and Apple Boxes. Then there are these little babies, Baby Plates. What is a Baby Plate you ask? It's a 5/8 stud, about 3" tall, welded onto a 3.5" x 6" metal plate. It has many uses. Allow me to share a few of those that I've used on the set. One of the most common uses for a Baby Plate is a very low light stand:It has a very solid feel and is very stable for most strobe heads. As you can see in the picture, this Baby Plate has 8 holes in its base. Some will have 4. The purpose for … [Read more...] about No Sippy Cups here, just Baby Plates
Nikon had a big day earlier this week at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition to launching a totally-new 360 camera, Nikon also launched a new flagship D5 FX camera, as well as a D500 DX camera. D5 The D5 has a long list of impressive specs: 20.83mp CMOS full-frame sensor Unprecedented native ISO range, from 100 to 102,400 [expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to a staggering ISO 3,280,000 (Hi-5)] 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p) only 3 minutes record time at high quality uncompressed 4k HDMI output capability to record 4K UHD … [Read more...] about Nikon Introduces the new Flagship D5 and D500 Cameras at CES
Its a beautiful sunny day, you're shooting indoors looking out to a sliding glass door or window and its brighter outside than on your set. Your talent is moving so HDR is not an option. You really don't want a silhouette, if you expose for the talent then your sliding glass door or window blows out with light, what do you do? Allow me to share with you about Black Scrim material. You can purchase it as a open ended flag with various sizes as shown here at B&H, or just the fabric, stretching it over a 18x18 frame as seen here from NCIS:For … [Read more...] about Scrim for Lighting Detail
GoPro created the action camera segment. Many others followed but, with the exception of Sony, all have met with limited success. With today's announcement at CES, Nikon enters the fray and brings something entirely new to the table … 360 degree video. Named the "Key Mission" (KM), Nikon's first action cam is scheduled to deliver 360 degree, 4K video, the backbone of Virtual Reality (VR) capture. Technical details of the new camera remain vague, including battery life, price, recording codecs/formats and a delivery date. Slightly … [Read more...] about Nikon Challenges GoPro With 360/VR Capture