Archive for the ‘TECH’ Category

We started our Learning Tree shoot in a class room situation at their offices. I’ve shot several times in this classroom, but we did it a little differently this time. I’ve lit this room several different ways, bouncing heads into the ceiling, soft boxes off camera, HMI’s punching through the windows, but this time I opted for hanging Kino Flo’s from the ceiling, skinned with #250 diffusion.  The client specified they wanted a very nice pool of even soft lighting. For all you grip fans out there, here is my advice for hanging Kino’s from drop ceiling situations. I originally was going to use a scissor clamp, since that’s what they are designed for, but upon my pre-light day to test these out, I discovered not all drop ceilings are treated equally. The scissor clamps did not fit on these ceilings. I opted to mount baby plates on some 1×6 boards and slide them on top of the frame by removing the panel. A much better solution since the weight is now distributed over two of the frame bars, instead of just one. This worked out beautifully. It also keeps the head a few inches taller in frame, which was critical for these low ceilings.

Baby plates mounted to 1x6 boards

Our stage 10

Next, we went to a studio situation. Well, this is even better for control if you have the option. We had a rather large shot list to try and get as many points of view as we can with these scenarios. Shooting on a large cove would allow this. I wanted to surround the talent in the tables with soft light on all sides. We mounted several heads on speed rail for the cove walls, and punched in 4 more heads through a large silk for the foreground. This worked out beautifully. The only trick was to keep adjusting the power output for the narrow depth of field shots (F4) to wider depth of field shots to around an (F11). Assistant Hugh did a fine job sprinting around the cove to adjust power settings though.

Notice the jib for the camera. Certainly not necessary for a still shoot, this is for the smooth flowing video shots. Although, since we were constantly changing angles and heights, it was great to be able to do that on the fly with the jib, as oppossed to re-adjusting the tripod legs all day.

We were able to shoot at the swanky Quixote Studios in Los Angeles. Right next door, were the standing sets for Criminal Minds. Great fun to go explore their sets since they were on location

Wacky Stephanie doing her thing

Hugh doing his thing????

Wardrobe stylist Annett

How the talent get pampered on set

Results of some pampering

Beautiful model

Client and crew shot

Thank you Learning Tree!  Looking forward to next time.


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Canon C300

Early this month, Canon announced their new, much-anticipated Cinema EOS C300 video camera. Some of its key features are a Super 35mm size sensor, 12-stops of dynamic range, on-board 50 Mbps recording to CF cards and HD-SDI outputs. The camera comes in two versions, one with a Canon EF mount and the other with a PL mount. The sensor is 4K (3840 x 2160) in resolution, with a unique color pattern that produces a very clean 1920×1080 signal. From early testing of the camera, they find no rolling shutter artifacts, moire issues, or other problems found on HDSLR camera sensors. The sensor has a native ISO of 850 and produces a clean signal all the way up to 20,000 ISO, giving amazing low light performance. And in the case that you have too much light, the camera also has built in ND filters.

The body of the camera is something in-between a video camera and an SLR. It is light, compact and designed to be handheld, with a detachable hand grip that can control the camera. . The camera’s 4″ LCD screen and audio interfaces are also detachable. The LCD screen attachment can be positioned in many different locations and rotated for better viewing. It also features full menu control, audio control and two XLR inputs. The LCD unit connects to the camera with two cables, giving it a lot of placement flexibility. The rear of the camera also has a small LCD panel, which features camera status info such as frame rate, shutter and ISO. Dials on the back of the camera and hand grip can quickly switch through these settings.

The camera has two CF cards slots and records in the same format as the XF305 and 105 cameras. This is a 50 Mbps 422 8-bit MPEG2 compression. Video can be recorded to either card, or both at the same time for redundant recording. Video resolutions and frame rates include 1920×1080 at 23.98p, 29.97p and 59.94i fps. Additionally, a true 24p mode is available for those doing film outputs. In 1280×720 mode, frame rates from 1-60p are also available for slow motion. All of these signals can be sent out over HD-SDI or HDMI, which gives you an uncompressed 8-bit signal. The camera also has genlock, timcode, and LANC connections for multi-cam operation and remote control. A WiFi port is also available, and with an additional accessory you can control the camera with a tablet.

Internally, the camera has a host of impressive functions including full painting controls for scene files. Many different gamma modes are available including one that matches Canon’s HDSLRcameras, as well as a Canon Log mode for the most dynamic range (learn more about Canon Loghere). Setting can be saved to an SD card, and moved between cameras. A waveform and vector scope are also built in for adjusting exposure and color.

Canon also has announced several new lenses that are geared for cinema use. These lenses have the same wide aperture as found in Canon’s L series still lenses, and will also come in their EF lens mount. They feature the smooth gearing that cinematographer demand for pulling focus and iris. Here are the three lenses announced, note the low T stop:

  • Canon Prime Lens 24mm T1.5
  • Canon Prime Lens 50mm T1.3
  • Canon Prime Lens 85mm T1.3

Canon’s zoom lenses announced at NAB will also be made available in EF mount. The zooms go from 14.5-60mm T2.6 and 30-300mm T2.95-T3.7 and should be available in the first quarter of next year.

The C300 is the first camera in Canon’s new Cinema EOS line.  The C300 EF and PL should be available in January with a list price around $20,000

Now for the kicker, the C300 will be available in January with a list price around……….$20,000    

A far cry from the 5D Mkll in around $2,500. You can’t really compare the two I suppose, two different beasts.

*Thank you AbleCine for the technical breakdown. www.ablecine.com

Now is it just me, or does the shape feel like it coming back to the classic 16mm film camera that’s been around for ages,the Bolex H16

Bolex h16

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If you saw my last post of a recent shoot with 50 extras, I apologize for posting too soon. I needed to pull that post until the client I shot for announces their new merger in early October. I’ll re-post after that is official.

Until then, enjoy this great imagery from the NY Times Magazine.

See the beauty of the power of the top woman tennis players at 1250 frames per second in motion with the Phantom camera.


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ipad apps

Way too long since my last post. Along with normal work schedule, I’ve been moving my home, the schedule has been really crazy for awhile.

I want to share some of my new favorite ipad apps. By the way, yes, I love the ipad. Now that things are settling down with the move and shooting, I’m anxious to go out and show the new ipad portfolio, with video included! I’ll post when the new portfolio is up and ready.

In the mean time, these are some very helpful apps along with maybe a couple that are just fun.

First for the real killer ones for photographers / film makers. Other softwares have been around way before these cool apps that do kind of what these do, but these two sun tracking apps take it to a new level. I highly recommend for any photographer / DP that wants to save a ton of time scouting to follow sun angles for your next location shoot.  Just to geek out a bit, I typed in the Empire State building in NYC and typed in 3:00pm just to see where the sun would fall on it for this time of year, WOW, really cool. I tested it for in front of my house at several different times and it works really well. Here they are:

LightTrac: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lighttrac-for-ipad/id363963108?mt=8

Sunseeker: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sun-seeker-3d-augmented-reality/id330247123?mt=8

DSLR Slate: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dslr-slate/id374241045?mt=8

Use your ipad as a camera slate for your next DSLR film.

Infinote: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/infinote-todos-ideas-notes/id364356810?mt=8

Keep unlimited sticky notes on unlimited cork boards all easy to view. I found this very helpful for a recent project where I had multiple client email/ phone notes and wanted  to keep track of them all on one “bulletin board”.

PaperDesk:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paperdesk-lite-for-ipad/id367563434?mt=8

Never be without a pad of paper for any kind of notes.  Can draw with color pencils to sketch ideas or just kill time on a plane playing “hang man”.

Adobe ideas:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-ideas-1-0-for-ipad/id364617858?mt=8

Very similar to above PaperDesk, but I like the ability to do multiple undo’s with this app. You can import a picture from your library and draw directly on it for notes to clients, or make lighting notes. Unlimited uses for this. By the picture from Adobe below, you can even sketch out your favorite dress. I’ll stick with lighting diagrams thank you Adobe.

It’s an App world we live in now, lets embrace it and  use them to their fullest potential to make our life a little easier and more fun at the same time.

Happy Apping

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3D snowball fight

3D is here to stay and creative on-line content is changing daily.

Magazines and newspapers will not be printing using the traditional press for much longer ( at least to a much lesser extent ) with the advent of the “on-line” content.  Look at my post on 1/26/10, this is a great example of where we are headed, very exciting!  For a visual storyteller, this just opens up a whole new branch of creative content to create.

This small 3D movie clip was created from a series of 8 different composited images, see if you can find them all!

We shot the models against a green screen in a studio situation, see the pics below.

With some use of Photoshop and AfterEffects we put a pretty simple image into a new approach. The exciting thing for me is to think of all the commercial applications this could have. For example, this snowball fight could be an on-line ad for PacSun.  Hopefully you would get a fresh, youthful approach at seeing their winter clothing line which would stand apart from traditional 2D print ads.  Can’t you just see the 20 year olds at Starbucks on their new Apple ipad, surfing the web or PacSun web site, and seeing this snowball coming at them?  !! I see the next Apple ad, don’t tell anyone.

I can’t wait to start my next still 3D content project. The next step will be to add some live action video to this world.

Stand by for more 3D.  James Cameron wont’ have a thing on us.

Avitar, Shmavitar!


Here are a few behind the scenes from the shoot. Pretty simple set up really. I trick was to light it to look like outside lighting, so I wanted a little more directional lighting falling on the faces as opposed to a really “soft box’ look.I love the light quality of a raw light head going through a  Lee 255 diffusion. It cuts down the harshness of raw light, but not too soft. I think it’s similar to sunlight through a soft layer of clouds.

Obviously the background image is a strong sun backlight, so we put a “sun” light with a warming gel to give some of that warm “kicker” light, but we still put our front key light with some direction to it. If I shot this on location in the mountains (which we contemplated) I would have lit it the same way. Hopefully it works to sell the illusion here.

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This is exciting stuff. No more carrying around a bundle of papers and magazines, no more carrying around a backpack of school books for students. It will all be in one slim tablet.  With the ability to watch videos about the story you are reading , click a another tab and be linked to a web page is just how all this information is literally at our finger tips now (pun intended).

In just two days, Apple is unveiling it’s tablet to the world!

Here’s a link to a video from ABC reporting on the new device.


As a photographer / videographer, this opens the doors for some very creative use of the two mediums to offer to clients.

Stay tuned for some upcoming samples of this kind of work. I feel like a kid in a candy store with all the possibilities that lie ahead!

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Okay, I know this kind of looks like an ad for Adobe, well it is really, although, the content is really interesting.

Watch this video on how the Adobe line of products were vital in the making of Avatar. I guess I’m a little hyped  on this right now since I just bought  Adobe’s CS4 Production Premium bundle yesterday. I’m in the process of doing some 3d imaging with still images in After Effects.

It’s really great how we can use the same tools as the big movie studios to create our own art.

Stand by for some upcoming posts on these tests.

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