Prime Lenses for stills and video

Why shoot on a Prime Lens?

Prime lenses have a fixed (one) focal length. You can’t zoom in or out. You get one viewing distance, and that’s it.

A standard prime lens is the 50mm “normal lens.” Its focal length roughly matches where your eye focuses, giving you an image that’s fairly close to what’s in front of you. Prime lenses come in all sorts of different focal lengths from extreme wide angle or fisheye to telephoto.
Continue reading “Prime Lenses for stills and video”

A typical professional video shoot

A typical professional video shoot normally means you need a wide range of gear. Even the seemingly simplest shoot can need a huge amount of gear to make the end video look fabulous.

Keep in mind, there is no “one size fits all” equipment package for everyone since there are so many variables including budget, type of project, shoot style and shoot locations to name just a few.
Continue reading “A typical professional video shoot”

Gear reviews

Coming soon are gear reviews. I will post what gear I use and why I use it. I will let you know how the gear stacks up to professional use on set. I’ll describe the advantages and disadvantages to any of the gear. I work on a wide range of productions, tv commercials, corporate and web videos so can recommend gear that’s versatile and worth considering taking on your next shoot.
Also if you have questions on film and tv gear let me know and I will pass on an industry veteran opinion.
With the range of gear options increasing everyday it’s important to know what works well and why.
First up I will let you know about my lighting gear and will give the pros and cons for HMI lighting.
Happy shooting til then.

At last a really useful drone

It seems every man and his dog has a drone these days. The sad fact is though that the vast majority of these are either not equipped with a decent camera or are flown badly or even worse illegally.
To get great results you do need to get a professional drone crew. On shoots that I have been on by far the best results have been achieved by a two person Drone crew. One person to fly the drone and the second to frame the camera.
The good news is that there are better drones everyday equipped with better cameras giving more options to get the shot. I have to admit though I am old school and can easily see the advantages in shooting from a Helicopter with a stabilised mount. In this type of setup you can choose the camera and lenses you need rather than having to accept a fixed lense that distorts the image from prosumer type drones.

But all that aside, here is the best way to enjoy using a drone I have seen.

Is this the future ?

Cameras are getting smaller and stranger shaped, but this one even with its odd looking body just maybe the future or cameras. Say hello to the DJI Osmo, a new handheld camera that lets you shoot 12MP photos and 4K video while being stabilized with a 3-axis brushless gimbal.

The camera system is basically a sleek handheld stabilizer that comes standard with the Inspire 1’s X3 camera, which packs a 1/2.3-inch Sony Exmor R sensor with an ISO range of 100-1600 (100-3200 for video), a 20mm (35mm equiv.) lens with a 94° field of view, and DNG support or You can also choose to buy the grip for a new X5 camera if you’d like a Micro Four Thirds sensor and mount.

Now Shooting with Red Dragon

Dragon: a large, scaly mythical creature that breathes fire and guards castles. Right?

Wrong! Dragon is the name that’s been given to the newest version of the Red Epic, which was already ground-breaking in its field. Tim is one of the first cinematographers in Australia to obtain one, and he is eager to put it through its paces.

The Red Epic Dragon camera takes things up a notch from the previous Red Epic; offering dynamic range once thought impossible, the Red Epic Dragon has impressive low light capabilities, increased resolution and new colour science. In particular, the new colour science makes a huge difference to the end result; primary colours appear brighter, while skin tones are softer and colour variations are more noticeable than ever.

Other stand-out features include:

  • Dynamic range around 16 and a half stops
  • Highest colour sensitivity ever measured
  • Exceptionally low noise levels
  • Can film hi-speed at hi-resolution, clocking 100fps at 6k resolution

The Dragon has had rave reviews from those lucky enough to have tested it.

It has already been used to shoot several high profile films, including ThorPayne and RedemptionBad NeighboursWalking with Dinosaurs 3DThe Expendables 3 and Gods of Egypt, which Tim has been on set at with his new gear.

 

DRAGON-5079

6K shooting

With Red’s new sensor coming out now, its about time to have idea what you are getting with 6K shooting.

So what is 6K, well it is 6144 x 3160 pixels or 19.4 megapixels at a 1.94:1 aspect ratio.
6K is 9.36x more pixels than 1080p.
6K is 8.78x more pixels than 2K.
6K is 2.2x more pixels than 4K.
6K is 1.4x more pixels than 5K.
6K is 14% more resolution than 5K for a pristine full debayer down to 4K. Meaning it’s a 66.7% down sample/debayer to 4K.

What does all this mean to me?
Well if you’re thinking about a 4K finish it gives a bit more freedom for creative re-framing, cropping, or leveling. Fine and high frequency details will actually down sample into 4K and benefit from that extra resolution. There are many ways to work with and finish REDCODE for screen and print use. Over sampling and the use of a debayer pattern help eliminate aliasing artifacts. If you want crisp and detailed images there’s options. If you want a smoother feel there’s options. Just depends on what you’re after and the workflow you choose.

So we’re now in some new exciting territory!

Many Thanks to Phil Holland for all the numbers and great chart.

phfx_redDragon_whatIs6K

The next Red Epic …

The next Red Epic is Epic Dragon and it is now out and about. Red has released a few Epic Dragons for testing and evaluation of the new sensor and electronics. So far the word is great.   Added dynamic range of some say 3 stops over what the current Epic has makes this truly stunning.

One test was shot by Aussie Director/DOP Mark Toia and he was quoted as saying that now the Epic Dragon see what his eye sees. Anyway proof is in the pudding so heres what he shot. Please remember this is a camera thats in beta and still has not got all the colour science and post work out, so if you like the pics now remember they will only get better and better as Red releases camera updates and Redcine software updates.

GoPro updates

There is new firmware for the GoPro Hero 3 cameras and a new app. With these you now can watch video recorded on your GoPro via WiFi on your smartphone or tablet. In video playback mode you can only watch a low res version of the footage but its a great feature making it really easy to check a shot back straight after the shoot to make sure all went well.

You can also view stills taken with your GoPro via your smartphone or tablet. With Stills you get a reasonable high res image version.

You can also save video or stills directly to your smartphone or tablet and even share these immediately with social networks.

I love these updates, they make a great camera even better!

New GoPro App

Setting up an Interview

Setting up EpicI have a big interview series shoot, where we are interviewing heaps of legends from Australia’s film and TV industry. Shooting on a Red Epic to ensure nice short depth of field and and a cinematic feel to the finished video. Thanks to Eve Brown (Production Manager) for sitting in for the pre-light at the beautiful Theatre Royal.

We decided to shoot at 4K resolution with an f-stop of 2.8 to achieve a beautiful soft background. The rich red tones in the theatre look superb. I am looking forward to the next few days of shooting with the great team from The Milkbar.

Screen Aust Epic shoot

Screen Aust2

The lighting I am using are a mix of Lowel Tota lights and Dedolight or Dedo’s