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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15th European Bike Week

Once again, the picturesque and mountainous region of Carinthia played host to Europe’s biggest bike event in early September. Approximately 110,000 people descended upon the area surrounding Faaker See, turning the tranquil landscape into a tumultuous party of roaring V-Twin engines.

I flew out to shoot the event for Harley-Davidson again this year and as with previous years it turned out to be a very hectic yet amazing experience. I used the Canon C300 exclusively, mostly with the Canon 17-55 EFs lens although I did break out the 70-200 at one point to grab some close shots of the crowds enjoying bands.

The C300 is such a great all-round camera for this kind of work, during the day I configure it with the full monitor rig and a shotgun mic and then when I prefer to be a little less conspicuous I tend to remove the handle and monitor and just run either without a mic at all or with the Rode VideoMic Pro.

Towards the end of each rally I ride pillion in the parade and again the C300′s modular build proves useful as I hang my smallHD DP4 around my neck on a lanyard and just run the camera with it’s handle attached allowing me to shot using many angles that would be impossible using the cameras onboard monitor.

Because I had to fly out to Brasil to shoot another rally for Harley-Davidson soon after returning from Austria this one was edited by Paul Pearson (@pearsonpost) on twitter.

The wonderful, “Wild Blood” by Lovedrug was supplied by The Music Bed.

 

Canon EOS C100 vs C300

Today Canon have announced a smaller brother to it’s C300 and C500 cameras in the form of the EOS C100. With retail price of around $6500 or £4,600 in the UK it comes in at around half the price of the the C300 so where have those savings been made and how do the two cameras stack up against each other in terms of features?

I’m basing these initial thoughts on the specifications currently available on Canons website so this post is likely to be updated as more information becomes available.

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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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Is it all about the story?

I can’t help noticing lately that many people in the online filmmaking community seem to be bigging up the art of collaborative story telling as the ultimate goal of the filmmaker. Whilst I agree that story telling is both a powerful and very satisfying part of filmmaking I also think that it’s important to remember that not all filmmakers aspire to follow that path.

There seems to be an assumption that anybody who uses digital video creatively should be ‘maturing’ into short film production and features. I disagree with that, I don’t believe there should be rules when it comes to expression and what inspires and fulfils us as creative individuals.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve witnessed the belittlement of the guys who film their pets or children playing, the guys who shoot everyday objects in slowmo or the ones that just point a camera at people walking around, set it to music and call it a test. I’m guilty of all of the above in the past and I can tell you that I definitely don’t see those videos as simple tests before moving on to real projects. They are artistic creations and personal discoveries in their own right, even if they don’t entertain anybody else.

We all need to move forward and develop our skills, we need to set ourselves new challenges and I wouldn’t find producing any of those videos particularly interesting today but the reality is that I still get a bigger buzz from seeing some of those pieces than I do from watching an average narrative short film. Okay so they might not be interesting or even pleasing for anybody else, but I created them for my own satisfaction, not for the enjoyment of others! Does that make any artform less valid?

Ultimately the bar is set very high for story telling formats, many of the productions we enjoy on TV, at the cinema or via the web are crafted by very talented script writers, directors crews and post production teams who know exactly how to draw you into a story and keep you there. This isn’t something that’s easy to do on your own, it’s rare for any one person to have all of the skills required.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to strive forward in the story telling and collaboration direction, narrative story telling is without doubt where the moving image can be used to the fullest. It’s not however the only way to express yourself as a filmmaker and we need to remember that not everybody wants to follow the beaten path.

A video camera is basically a stills camera that shoots multiple frames a second and I often enjoy using them in exactly that way. It can be liberating to let your captured images speak for themselves, they don’t have to be formed into pre-determined stories before they have a value, regardless of what others might tell you.

Paul.