July has been a busy time working with some of Australia's finest press photographers. Sydney and Melbourne based team have all take my advaced Stills to Motion courses.
The Sony PXW-X70 is a hit camera for documentary and corportate shooting. Shannon Anthoness of Little Dog Productions joins me for some One-on-One camera and lighting training in North Sydney.
Student film shoot
Last weekend - the small-group workshop wraps
Thanks to this great group of willing participants who joined me last weekend for a few days of shooting around the streets of North Sydney. It's a great location with its little lanes, old terrace houses and parks. We finished up the course with a lighting session at the ACS National HQ, North Sydney. The perfect place for our base camp.
Congratulations to everyone for making it one of the best.
Join the August small-group workshop
What lights do you need?
I have just added a new article which may help you to choose a few lighting bits and pieces to add to you kit. Download it here
"Lighting is at the heart of all photography regardless of the format. It’s about using your camera to tell a story and the way that you, as the storyteller, use light to enhance that story.
Photographers and videographers alike observe natural light and the way it impacts on things. It could be harsh summer sunlight that casts strong overhead shadows, or a ray of warm late afternoon light that rakes across a room after a rain shower. Light, and the way it falls, sets a mood. One challenge for the videographer is to be able to observe these naturally occurring moods and recreate them with artificial lighting."
Follow-up on the workshops
"The full day event captured the intended audiences attention for the whole time which isn't an easy task"
"I thought the workshop was great. It gave me the answers I was looking for and much more"
I'd happily recommend this to anyone just starting or wanting to expand their knowledge of using DSLR's and film production"
"Great venue, great speakers - fantastic day!"
As a guest speaker at the Exposed Down Under conference held this year in Melbourne, I found lots of guys, largely wedding cinematographers keen for lighting tips.
Sydney DSLR video workshop
From co-presenter Nick Rains:
Piet de Vries and I did our first Canon video workshop last Tuesday to a full room in the Sydney Masonic Conference Centre on Goulburn Street. We have already had some excellent feedback so it seems we delivered the goods. It's always tricky to know at which level to pitch these sorts of talks so Piet and I decided to assume everyone came from a stills background and set our level accordingly.
I covered the technical stuff (as is my usual style!) and Piet explained the very different thought processes necessary to shoot compelling video - and showed a video of a wedding shot by a collegue that blew everyone away with it's sophisticated editing and shooting style. It was both intimidating and inspiring at the same time.
We still have places for the other four venues, coming up next week and the week after, if you want to find out more about shooting video with your DSLR.
The Sony PMW-F3
The newest camera on Sony's block has been in my hands and on my tripod for a few weeks. Here are some comments.
The first thing that I noticed was that the camera was familiar and after turning it on I understood why. The menu layout is similar to the Sony PMW-EX1 and the EX3. You’d swear that you were looking at those menus and this makes things easy as I’m on familiar ground. Already I'm sensing that this is a "Just Get Out and Do It" kind of camera.
There is abundant information online detailing the technical specs of the camera, however I’m more intrigued by its potential in a range of productions and the possibilities it creates to take my corporate and doco work into a new realm.
Sony suggests that the PMW-F3 is suited to television, commercials, music and promotional budget productions however, based on my two weeks of toying around, I see much more in store.
Let's get the specs out of the way.
- The F3 is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow. The codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8 bit, 35 Mbps and uses Sony’s recording format based SxS ExpressCard.
- The Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers appealing shallow depth of field with high sensitivity and low noise levels.
- It offers a wide range of options for creating images, and the ability to edit F3 images seamlessly with material shot on Sony’s F35 by using an HD SDI dual-link output and making external recordings. This is nice given the mature and straight forward nature of the XDCAM workflow.
- The F3 records naively to the on-board SXS cards in 4:2:0 at 35Mb/sec transfer rate.
Before making any consideration of this native spec, look at the images that come from the camera. They have a earthy, organic feel and I would be happy shooting straight to the SxS cards for most of the time, but this camera is up-scalable.
I would consider stepping up to the 4’s and 2’s, recording at 4:2:2 at up to 280Mb/sec using the compact nanoFlash external recorder. The front end of the F3 has the Super 35mm CMOS imager and some excellent lenses all held by a solid PL lens mount and you can’t help but notice this quality in the final production.
The PL-mount of the PMW-F3 can both take PL and zoom lenses and is compatible with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss.
Most cinematographers will appreciate that this camera creates a very new and special category, so when would I shoot with it and what is it actually like to use?
Journalism students get some basic video skills
Getting some basic video camera skills was part of the five day course for a group of students of the APM School of Business & Communication at the Australian Film Television and Radio School this week. I've been working with the schools's Open Program.
Two weeks of training for ABC Television
A Back-to-Basics workshop in Hobart
Justin Murphy "Collectors" ABC Television Hobart
A new article is available
A successful DSLR workshop - more are planned
The Kino Kabaret masterclass
New tutorial now ready to download
Photographers and cinematographers alike observe light and the way it influences things. It could be harsh summer sunlight that casts strong overhead shadows, or a ray of warm afternoon light as it rakes across the landscape after a rain shower. Light, and the way it falls, sets a mood.
The challenge for the cinematographer is to be able to see and take advantage of these naturally occurring lighting conditions.
Sony's NEX-VG10: the little video camera with a BIG sensor
UPDATE: Sunday, 12 September 2010
The design of cameras that shoot HD video will not stay trapped in a traditional stills camera body for much longer.
I now have my hands on the only demo model of the new NEX-VG10 and I've been shooting tests this weekend. Aimed squarely at the video enthusiast, the big WOW factor for me so far has been ISO performance at 21+Db Gain and not trailing too far behind, the range of high quality interchangeable lenses, top mic clarity and best of all, it's comfy usable form factor.
With a CMOS sensor that's roughly 19.5 times larger than those used in conventional camcorders, will this model put the cat among the pigeons for video cameras at this level? I'll be posting my impressions soon.
Fitted with a Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 zoom
Piet & Nick's Advanced dSLR Video Workshop
I have teamed up with one of Australia's finest photographers, Nick Rains to offer a workshop for anyone who has recognised the need to incorporate video into their businesses. bring decades of experience as a documentary cinematographer working with high end video and film cameras, and Nick offers the perspective of 28 years as a stills photographer who has recognised and developed the potential of HD video for his business.
Over the past twelve months or so there has been a revolution in image making - DSLR's like the Canon 5D Mark II and the Sony NEX-VG10 have opened up the possibility of making full HD movies with an amazing cinematic quality. Stills photographers have been fascinated with the potential of the new features but have often floundered when they realise that making good short movies is nowhere as easy as it looks.
It is certain that understanding and delivering mixed media content will be an incredibly useful tool as the publishing industry transitions to delivery on tablet computers, phones and iPads etc. Print clients are beginning to request video clips from their stills photographers so an understanding of how to produce decent footage will be essential in the future.
MovieTube PR rig
Nick and I will cover the necessary hardware, sound recording, video shooting basics and editing software in an easy to digest format over a weekend at the Newport Mirage Resorton Sydney's northern beaches.
Topics covered over two days
- DSLR cameras including the classic 5D Mark II
- Lens choices - wide apertures, zooms, telephoto
- Shooting with the constraints of the camera design
- Vital accessories such as the MovieTube shoulder rigs and viewfinders
- Handheld shooting techniques
- Tripod shooting techniques
- Sound with sound recordist James Nowiczewski
- Shoot for the edit - video clips are not stills
- Editing software - iMovie, Final Cut Pro and Premier Pro
- Delivery for web - Vimeo and YouTube, website embedding
When and where
Where: The Mirage Resort, Newport on Sydney's northern beaches
- Sydney - May 10 - SMC, 66 Goulburn St, Sydney (sorry full)
- Melbourne - May 17 - Melbourne Zoo, Elliot Avenue, Parkville
- Perth - May 19 - Perth Zoo, 20 Labouchere Rd, South Perth
- Adelaide - May 23 - Mercure Hotel, 125 North Terrace
- Brisbane - May 26 - Mt Gravatt TAFE, Creative Industries Dept
Topics covered include:
- DSLR camera controls, including the classic 5D Mark II (Nick)
- lens choices - wide apertures, zooms, telephoto (Piet)
- shooting video - the constraints of the camera design (Nick)
- vital accessories: primes, viewfinders, shoulder rigs (Piet)
- handheld shooting techniques (Piet)
- tripod shooting techniques (Piet)
- sound - an overlooked but critical aspect of video (Nick)
- timelapse (Nick)
- shooting for the edit - video clips are not stills (Piet)
- editing software - iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Premier (Nick)
$330 incl gst - here is where you book
Training for ABC video journalist
For the past few weeks I have been at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation working with video journalists - bespoke training in video camera and video sequence techniques.