Archive for the ‘ TRICKS & TIPS ’ Category

Bluestar Eye Cushions – a little bit of luxury for your face!

I’ve been using Bluestar Eye Cushions on my cameras and viewfinders for a few years now, they are one of those little luxuries that once you’ve tried you just can’t live without. Using a camera without an eye cushion now feels like wearing shoes without socks!

Bluestar make a wide range of sizes for various viewfinders, they come in three materials, natural chamois, Microfibre & Fleece. The micro-fibre option comes in eight colours which is very handy if you need to quickly identify cameras. The fleece eye cushions come in four colours and are the most gentle on the skin, great if you like to snuggle in to your camera!

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Mac Pro RAID setup

I recently posted about choosing a new storage solution for my Mac Pro where I decided to invest in an SAS based RAID system from www.rentaraid.co.uk. Now that the kit has been installed I thought I’d post a quick update about the installation procedure, an issue I ran into and the results so far.

Firstly, here’s a rundown of the kit I ordered and how it’s all setup.  The PCIe card is the Areca AC-1882x 8 port SAS/SATA Raid adapter. This card features two external SAS connectors, each capable of controlling up to four SATA hard drives, hence the (8 port) description. Fitting the card into the Mac Pro is a relatively simple process, at least it is if you’re used to fiddling around with PCI cards. If you’ve grown up on iMacs then you might find this a little daunting but as long as your careful then fitting PCI cards is fairly straightforward.

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Canon EOS C300 Custom Picture Profile

I’ve had a few people ask if I would consider sharing the Canon EOS C300 Custom Picture Profile / Scene Files I created and used on the video I did for Harley-Davidson in St Topez recently. The picture profile is now available for download if you want to try it out. Just remember this is more of a ‘baked in’ look, see the video below for examples of how it looks, the C300 shots were not colour corrected in this video.

Download the file here: Paul Joy’s Canon EOS C300 Picture Profile

I need to give a shout out to people who’s profiles I tried before creating mine as I leaned a lot from them. Alister ChapmanAbel CineKevin Ritchie and the BBC’s recommendations all helped me to understand what different settings would achieve. Another great resource was Art Adams ‘Stunning Good Looks‘ post about correcting white balance on the C300.

The zip file contains a single preset file which will replace the setting you have in the SD1 position. Make sure you back up your existing SD1 setting first!

Let me know how this works for you. The setting is called PJOY1080 because it’s set up for 1080p shooting. I have another one for 720p but I’m still perfecting that and I’ll share it once I’m happy with it.

Using a Glidetrack for photography

I was called recently by professional photographer Mike Harrington runs a specialty packshot company called “The Packshot People“. As well as specialising in product photography Mike also shoots a lot of images for the stock image giant Getty Images. With the London olympics big in the news this year Mike was in the process of putting together a series of stills based on sporting activities that feature in the games. One of the images mike had in mind was of a cyclist on a rolling road with a London cityscape in the background.

Mike shot the cyclist in his studio and grabbed the skyline in London but he needed to create the rolling road part of the image and ideally wanted vehicle light streaks in the shot. At this point many people may have turned to photoshop but Mike’s one of those guys that’s not happy settling for second best when you can capture a real image.

When Mike asked if I had a device that would allow a camera to be tracked whilst keeping it stable I knew straight away that he was talking about a problem that we had already solved as filmmakers, he needed the Glidetrack Hybrid HD.

glidetrack_hybrid_slider

Mike borrowed my Glidetrack HD Hybrid and mounted his Hassleblad medium format camera to it. He then found a suitable spot beside the road and did a long exposure whilst sliding the camera along the track. The results were perfect providing a perfectly smooth blur of the road with the passing cars creating spectacular light streaks.

Here’s the composited image containing all three parts.

So many DSLR users have purchased Glidetracks and other sliders to enhance the video aspects of their shooting but I wonder how many have thought about switching those cameras into stills mode and getting creative with long exposure stills too.

If you want to find out more about the Glidetrack Hybrid that Mike used then see my Glidetrack Hybrid review.

For more information about all of the Glidetrack models visit www.glidetrack.com

 

14 day time-lapse – the result

Last month I wrote about setting up this time-lapse and promised that I would post the results as soon as I could and I’m now able to do so. I’ve had to wait for the footage to be approved by Harley-Davidson so I’m sorry for the delay, here it is.

So as you might remember I decided to set up my GoPro on a Cherry Picker overlooking the event site that was hosting the European Bike Week in Faaker See, Austria. This seemed like the best solution at the time and the initial results looked great.

When I left Austria I left instructions for the cherry picker to be lowered once a day to check that the camera was still functioning and if required to change the card, the latter would only be required once because the 32Gig card installed would last 10 – 12 days by my estimation.

Of the 14 days the camera was running there was really only once where a problem developed, luckily this was discovered in the middle of the day and as it turns out the camera only missed around 4 hrs. I’m not really sure what happened that time, the GoPro just locked up by all accounts, the time-lapse icon and the red light were no longer flashing yet there was plenty of room on the card and the camera was turned on.

When I reviewed the footage after returning from Austria I discovered a much bigger problem, and one that I had not considered. The theory was that if we raised the cherry picker to it’s maximum height each time the camera would end up in roughly the same position, and that part actually worked well, what I hadn’t considered though was that the hydraulics themselves could actually lose pressure over time!

Luckily the main parts of the lift that controlled the height were reliable, it was the very last part of the lift that caused the biggest problem. This last section effected the angle of the camera and each time the cherry picker was re-extended the last section would slowly sag, settling after around fours. The change was only a small one, 2 degrees at most but it was enough to make the results look awful when played back in extreme fast forward.

When editing the footage I had to keyframe these rotations out, I couldn’t totally remove all signs of it in the time I had available but I managed to remove the worst of it. You can still see the evidence in the results though so I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience!

I also wanted to remove a lot of the night time footage and after doing so there was a visible jump in the joins. I ran the results though the warp stabiliser in after effects to try and smooth these out and it did a pretty good job, although again not perfect.

So all in all I learned a lot, the results are not perfect but I’m still happy with them, and more importantly so is the client.