BBC Voices – Ten Town Tour

I was really pleased to be invited by the BBC to produce a 3 minute video as part of their Ten Town Tour project. The video had to be filmed, edited, written and narrated by the film maker so it was quite a challenge for me as I’ve not written a script before, let alone recorded my own voiceover!

Click here to find out more


Hello 5D mkII – Goodbye brevis!

I’ve been watching with great interest the development of DSLR video over the last year or so and have recently decided to jump onboard myself. For nearly a year now the has Canon 5D mkII has been producing some awesome examples, but the biggest limitation with that camera has been that it’s fixed to 30 frames per second. That’s not the 29.97 flavour of 30p that’s common amongst video cameras but an exact 30 fps. Living in a PAL region where pretty much all video is 25 fps that makes it a bit of a nightmare to cut with footage from other cameras.

A few days ago I took the plunge and invested in a Canon 7D which addresses this problem by including multiple frame rates. The 7D doesn’t have as large a sensor as the 5D2 though but it still produces pretty nice video.

I also splashed out on a lovely set of L series lenses, a 35mm 1.4, a 50mm 1.2 and a 70-200 2.8 IS. You can’t beat good glass!

Once I started playing with the 7D I was immediately struck by the noise it produces in the image with an ISO rating over 200, it’s by no means terrible but it always seemed to grab my attention for some reason. I started to question whether I should have gone for the 5D2 which is reported to be less noisy. Then by sheer luck Canon announced that they are going to introduce multiple frame rates for the 5D2 next year. That was it, I had to change to the 5D!

The shop where I got the 7D were pretty good about allowing me to swap the camera, I obviously had to pay the difference of £288 and I’m pretty sure they palmed me off with an ex demo model but I walked out with a 5D2 earlier today.

My first shots with the 5D2 today have shocked me to be honest, they are so much better than anything I’ve managed with the Brevis adapter on my EX1. I think I’d even go as far as to say the images almost look similar to those from the EX1 but with a much narrower depth of field. There’s obviously a lot more going for the EX1 than it’s image though, and the 5D would never replace it as my main camera, but it’s certainly looking like it will mean the end of the Brevis adapter as my shallow DOF tool.

European Bike Week 2009 – Austria

The third event that I ‘ve filmed for Harley Davidson this year is the European Bike Week which takes place in the small village of Faak in Austria.

Although this event is likely to be that last this year, it ‘s by no means the smallest, in fact it is by far the biggest event in the HD Europe calendar. The event is reported to have attracted over 100,000 visitors, most of whom are bikers.


New SxS drivers

Sony have released a new SxS driver for the mac which supports OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The driver can be downloaded from here. There are still issues with the Sony XDCAM Transfer app on 10.6 but I use the ‘Log & Transfer’ app in Final Cut instead which works fine.

Steadicam Pilot – broken bearing

I opened my Steadicam case today to find some rather strange looking metal pieces laying loose in the bag. I’d not noticed any issues before but these parts had obviously come from somewhere so I decided to give everything a good check over.

It didn’t take me long to notice that one of the bearings in the upper of the two parts of the arm had failed. I’m not sure when this happened, I didn’t find any of the actual balls from the bearing which would lead me to think that it must have failed whilst in use, although I can’t remember actually sensing it go.

Tiffen UK have been extremely helpful and very quick to respond to my request for help. Ill be sending it for repair next week.


** UPDATE 30-09-09 **

My Steadicam arm arrived back from Tiffen today, just a few days after I sent it to them for repair. I’m really pleased to report that it’s as good as new. The guys at Tiffen have been incredibly helpful, I can’t express enough how nice they have been to deal with and what fantastic support they gave me.

Thanks Tiffen!