A year ago, I wrote about a video I made for our Nosh 404 page. Shortly after the success of that video, we set out to film a sequel. The idea behind the followup centered around the same fictional Special Forces team we used to handle that very dangerous and exciting 404 mission. This new video is sort of like a highlight reel of all the skills and tactics they can offer in the “web services” realm.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a process post here, so I figured this would be a good project to start back up again with. It’s pretty far afield from some of the typical design writing I’ve done, but it was a really fun project and an interesting case-study in non-traditional marketing for startups.
Final video above as well as a quick breakdown showing the original footage and the eventual effected final output. Follow me on Twitter here.
The Canon 5d Mark III that everyone has been waiting for has been announced. The camera brings a handful of improvements including speed, greater resolution, more processing power, and more options for shooting HD video. The full-frame sensor has been upped to 22.3 Megapixels and shoots up to 6 frames per second with a 61-point AF system. What’s great about the new sensor in this camera is that the pixel pitch is smaller, which allows for better low light performance.
For a handful of years I’ve shot on my trusty Canon 1d Mark II but it’s dated. Jumping up to the 1DX would be ideal, but it’s $7000 price tag is unfortunate. So what do I think about the 5d Mark III? The Canon 5d Mark II was an amazing camera, but the 5d Mark III is even better. Coming in at $3500 for the body I don’t see it as being unreasonably priced.
Well I have a new toy. No it’s not a $3500 underwater housing for my 5D (though that would be awesome). I’ve been shooting with a little Canon Powershot D10 for the last week and it’s been a lot of fun. If you are considering a trip to anywhere water-lush, I suggest giving the D10 a shot. It’s not perfect, but it sure beats spending a boat load for an SLR underwater housing if you’re strapped for cash.
First, the D10 is waterproof and shockproof. I tested it thoroughly (trust me, I break point-n-shoot cameras regularly). I carried it around in my swimming suit pocket and sat on it, swam with it, dropped it out of moving golf carts and threw it to friends when we didn’t have a ball. The thing is solid. I didn’t have a strap and this was a crucial error. If you are going to parade around with one, definitely invest in some kind of way to connect it to your person.
Next, it’s massively fun to have an amphibious camera that can fit in your pocket. I underestimated how much fun it would be and spent a very long time on various bizarre photo missions (#43. Try to take a photo with the lead singer from Kings of Leon, underwater. *Unsuccessful, but close). Even if you are just in a pool, the camera is worth trying.
The photos above are a few of the cooler ones I got. Dolphins are kind of a cheating way to make a photo look cool, but still, the colors and clarity are nice, especially for a wee little camera. These photos were shot with sand everywhere, all over the lens, and my complete lack of concern for the camera’s well-being. Pretty cool I’d say — it’s nice to not have to treat your camera like a fragile little hamster (5D).
On the negative side, it’s very bulky for a point-n-shoot. If you are in water, who cares, but if you are looking for a one stop shop that you can also bring out with you at night, this isn’t it. Putting it in your pants pocket renders that leg odd looking as it protrudes rather unfortunately. Personally, I also find it ugly, but I gravitate towards all black cameras, so take that with a grain of sea salt. The camera definitely looks more like a toy than a Bell & Ross.
This post certainly cements my affinity for underwater photos (Asako Narahashi will always reign supreme). I have a bunch more, but most are of my friends and I floating in the water, and we isn’t Facebook friends!
Do yourself a favor and watch this video right now. It’s filled to the brim with absolutely breathtaking shots — so many that I can’t believe they were taken all by the same team. The Planet Earth folks need to hire this guy RIGHT away. Honestly I’m speechless. This is an amazing piece of film. An amazing piece of art. Congratulations to Mickey Smith and Allan Wilson for making such a brilliant piece. And all for Relentless Energy — who knew.
I should also mention that I love this video because I LOVE the ocean. I am terrified by the sea, but I love it. Of course I like the way it looks, but I also am constantly taken by its incomprehensible size and power. I am not a surfer (you should have seen me try in New Zealand), but I have always felt the same connection to the sea that I often hear the surfer describe. I like to sit in it, lay there, do nothing. My favorite thing in the world is getting tossed, turned and pummeled by waves — salt water filling my head every which way — then rolling up on shore and lying in the sun where the sea meets the sand.
So after years of being goaded by my friends I finally took the plunge and went to Burning Man. I figured it would be a good idea to bring a camera but I had heard that the dust could wreak havoc on the delicate inner-workings of a DSLR so I decided to leave the D80 at home and bring my little SD780 Elph. It ended up working out great, that little thing surprised me every time I used it. But this being my first time, I wanted to focus more on the experience and not be worrying about getting shots the whole time. Consequently, I didn’t come home with a whole lot of material, but I was really happy with what I did manage to get. Next year I am definitely going to bring the D80 (or whatever I’m shooting with at that time) and focus more on shooting, the place is a photographer’s dream.
Above are some examples of the shots I did get; all have been post-processed and most are multiple-exposures. As you can see, the place was downright otherworldly in terms of aesthetics; the beauty of the desert (a place I’ve spent very little time in my life) was absolutely breathtaking. The texture of the sand (which was extremely fine, almost like talcum powder) seemed like what I’d imagine the moon to be like. As the images above will attest, I was somewhat preoccupied with the sun, but you’ll have to forgive me as the sunrises and sunsets were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever witnessed. Some of the photos are available for purchase as prints at the ISO50 Photographic site.
As for the experience itself, I could go on and on but I’ll spare you the details and just say that is was without question a high point for me. The music, people, and artwork were all incredible. I brought with me a lot of preconceived notions about what Burning Man is and the kind of people who go there, but within the first hour or so of being out there in the desert with 50,000 people, every one of those notions were proven to be completely wrong. Try to make it out there if you have the opportunity, it’s really something special to be a part of.
Edit: I’ve discussed the process of creating these images a little in the comments.
Edit: ZX asked in the comments if I could post an unprocessed image, the example below is the raw output from the camera. After processing it became the top-most image above (this one). I really had a great time working with these images and I think I am closer than ever to becoming a Canon convert with my next DSLR purchase.
Yep, that’s right. You’d better believe it, Canon is actually introducing a Jackie Chan edition of the EOS 550D. When I first came across this I didn’t know what to think. I’ve been a Canon user from day one and I’ve seen a lot of the seemingly pointless releases Canon has done in the past. I’m sure some of you can agree with me when saying that, but this release is seems to be something slightly more unique. However, in my mind I would much rather see Canon add some more lenses to their current L series lineup than to see another entry level camera. But of course I’m a bit biased as I shoot with a 1dmkII.
With my initial thoughts aside of how this edition may just be another pointless release, I could start to see some of the value in this product. It wasn’t until I started poking around for more images that I realized the user manual, neck-strap and wrap-case were also actually somewhat enjoyable. The case, in it’s own way, seems to be a nod to the old leather film camera cases and the gold/greenish colors that Canon adapted into this set, gave me an impression that they are trying to reflect back on the era of film.
Fortunately, those small features aren’t enough to win me over so the big question still remains: At $1465 for the set, would you buy this or a 7D?
I’ve been delving into the depths of the internet over the past few weeks; reading about everything from ultra high speed video camera comparisons to the best post production workflow for the 5DMKII to FCP. One of the best resources I’ve found is Prolost, the site of filmmaker Stu Maschwitz. The blog is generally about filmmaking, with a heavy lean on post production techniques, typically as it relates to DSLR equipment.
You may have already heard of it, but as was true for The Strobist a year ago, I had not and am very glad to have discovered such an informative resource. I came to Prolost by way of an article on color correction called Memory Colors. It’s not a ‘how to’ by any means, but puts forth some interesting information on the theory behind color correction and manipulation.
With the release of the new (now fixed) firmware for the MKII, it’s been hard to escape the buzz. Finally the MKII can shoot 24p! (In case you don’t see why this is awesome.) Of course now I am lamenting the fact that it can’t do 60fps (all of a sudden I had the urge to get some really smooth slow motion). Maybe next time.
I did it. I am now a very proud owner of the Canon 5DMKII. It took months (years) of deliberation (pretty much since Scott wrote this article) and I finally pulled the trigger. I know the rumors are swirling about Mark IIIs and the etc, but once I heard about the upcoming 24fps firmware update I decided it was time. No more waiting. I’ve been shooting on a Nikon D40 since I started school and it was definitely time for an upgrade. (Though I still love the SB 600 flash — took the photo above)
As soon as I pulled it out of the box I was in awe. People say that Canons feel cheaper due to the construction materials, but I disagree. This thing feels like it could level a small village if thrown at the proper angle. Pair the body with the kit lens (24-105) and you have one serious piece of machinery. I purchased through Adorama because they seemed to have the best package deal. Just about everyone sells the body for $2499 at the moment; Adorama throws in a shoulder bag and a 16GB card. (Update: Or at least they used to…it must have been a temporary special price because now that package is listed higher. Keep an eye out in case it comes around again.)
My shots so far have been decent. Honestly I’ve only had it for a few days and have yet to really take it for a photography spin. I’ve mainly been experimenting with the HD video feature (a large part of why I bought the camera). After numerous videos of my shoes and other random subjects I decided to test it out in a music video scenario. Nothing crazy, just a acoustic performance like I usually do on Youtube (till now I’ve been shooting on an embarrassingly old MiniDV camcorder that is almost twice the size of the Canon). You can view the result here.
An unexpected issue with the completion of that video was the post-production file format mess. Apparently Canon had no interest in making things easy on us (although that looks like it will change this month). I ended up following the steps outlined here on Vincent Laforet’s blog with great success. I imported to the desktop, converted H.264 to Apple Prores (tanked my drive space), imported to Final Cut, sent to Color and back, exported using Quicktime H.64 compression, then uploaded to Youtube. Kind of a long roundabout process, but things went smoothly. As is true for the still shots as well, you immediately notice how much more control you have over the image in editing mode. Edits that used to crunch up image quality or produce unwanted noise no longer do so at all. The picture is so clean that you can tweak away to your heart’s content without ever losing the integrity of the image.
As I said, I’m just getting my feet wet with this thing and I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it once I field test it a lot more. I’ll be going to Japan in May and am looking at that trip as a great opportunity to take thousands and thousands of pictures and crash my hard drive with absurd amounts of footage. As I continue to experiment with this wonderful object I’ll put together a more complete review. In the meantime, for my sake, cross your fingers Canon *doesn’t* come out with any shiny new cameras anytime soon.