I'm an advertising photographer/videographer based in Los Angeles, California. My mission is to create striking advertising photography, corporate photography and editorial photography of people for major advertising agencies, fortune 500 corporations and major magazines. I shoot photography and video assignments throughout California including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as the rest of the world. As a photo educator I am happy to share my unique vision and methods. I'm currently teaching classes at College of the Canyons in video production for professional photographers and photography students. I give workshops, seminars and lectures on short form video production at colleges, organizations and conferences around the world.

Panasonic’s AG-AF100 Camcorder Comes on Strong

Posted: September 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Panasonic, Zeiss | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

DV Expo hit Pasadena yesterday and today with an interesting new product from Panasonic, the AG-AF100 camcorder in Full HD (1920 X 1080) and in an almost ready for market mode.  With the camcorder due to ship in December, Jim Wickizer and Cathy Plushner of Panasonic were willing to give me the lowdown on the AG-AF100 features.  It has plenty of features that will attract the photographer starting to shoot video as well as the experienced cinematographer.  The biggest feature might be the micro four thirds mos sensor which is comparable to the super 35 film so it gives you the much desired shallow depth of field for a more cinematic look.

There is the ability to change lenses both inside and outside  the Panasonic line of lenses, some with auto focus capabilities.  This is a perfect place to consider using the incredible Zeiss glass from both the Zeiss line of HDSLR and Cine Prime lenses.  Then there is the widely accepted and powerful AVCHD codec in high quality PH mode that the camera can use which goes out to economical SDHC cards.  There is a DRS (Dynamic Range Stretch) to help control your contrast plus two controllable XLR ins with +48v for audio.  This is a true video camera with the additional features of no recording  time limits, zebras, HD-SDI and HDMI outs along with analog, 3 user buttons, internal ND filter, focus-assist and Wave form display.  It has variable frame rates from 12 to 60 FPS for over and under cranking.  For more information on this exciting new camera visit Panasonic AG-AF100.

AG-AF100 CAMCORDER copyright Panasonic

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Remove the Strain of Audio

Posted: September 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Sennheiser, video production, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Since I put up an post (see Sept. 9) on taping a lavalier mic in place I have received a number of emails asking about the loop under the tape.

Sennheiser lavalier taped in place

The answer is that whether you are taping the microphone to a subject or using one of the clipping methods always remember to include a loop at the microphone to act as a strain relief. This prevents noise created by the microphone being pulled against the body or clothing.  The loop also helps prevents the microphone being pulled out of position the first time a little strain is placed on the lavalier cable.

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Big Hit at Photocine Expo – Marshall’s V-LCD50-HDMI Monitor

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: video, video production | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A big hit at Photocine Expo causing crowds around the Marshall booth was their new V-LCD50-HDMI Monitor.  This monitor includes the great features I love about the V-LCD70P-HDMI but in a small package.  Coming in at only 7.85Wx4.39Hx1.5D it gives you a low profile with a big picture.  Those who want to shoot with the monitor camera mounted will be happy that it comes with a hot shoe adapter included along with a 1/4-20 bottom mount for support systems, cranes and jibs.

It keeps the False Color Filter for judging exposure that I talked about in my July 8 entry and peaking Filter for focus in my July 10 entry.  Both False Color and Peaking make shooting with any video camera easier but especially HDSLR. The V-LCD50-HDMI offers standard features including a wide variety of formats and markers, 4 user-configurable front panel function buttons, RGB Check Field / Field Detect, RGB gain and bias control.  More features included are Image Flip, Freeze Frame, and HDMI Auto Color Space and Ratio detect.

V-LCD50-HDMI Front Panel

The V-LCD50-HDMI also has the new feature of running off four AA batteries instead of the video batteries the 70P uses, both monitors accept AC power with the correct adapter.  With a MRSP of $599.00 it puts a high quality american made monitor in the reach of everyone.

To learn more about the V-LCD-HDMI visit Marshall

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Scoop! EVF from Redrock Micro

Posted: September 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Redrock Micro | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Brian Valente from Redrock Micro gave me a sneak peak this morning of their newest product an EVF (Electric Viewfinder).  We had to be very secretive as we were at the Photocine Expom so I could take a quick shot and audio clip under less than ideal.  Brian did a great job of describing the functions of their new EVF so click on the picture below to hear what it is all about.

Brian Valente with Redrock Micro's EVF

Admittedly, this product is not for every photographer just getting into video but it is good to be aware of what is out there so when the time comes you know what is available.  Once I get my hands on one I’ll be able to give you my impressions.  I’m excited about the idea of having an active viewfinder with the chance to also have a feed to a secondary monitor.

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Photocine Expo Breaking News

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Redrock Micro, video production, Zeiss | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Just back from the Photocine Expo in Hollywood after a great day of seminars and a tantalizing news that Redrock Micro has a new product announcement coming Sunday September 26.

But we don’t have to wait for the latest from Zeiss. Zeiss has just announced a new distagon T* 1.4 35 mm with the bokeh in the out-of-focus areas that the Zeiss HDSLR lens are famous for. As with all the Zeiss HDSLR lenses, the distagon 35mm is color matched to the other lenses in the line and silky smooth right out of the box. On the 7d, the magnification makes it a very fast normal.

Zeiss Distagon 1.4/35mm

Richard Schleuning of Zeiss was a key member of the Photocine expo panel on cine lenses. Brian Valente of Redrock Micro moderated the panel, asking probing questions while Richard gave the attendees in-depth but understandable answers. Among other advice, Richard explained how cine lenses differed from traditional still lenses with longer focus pulls and padded focusing mechanisms adding to smooth accurate follow focusing.

Brian Valente far left, Richard Schluening left center

I can hardly wait for tomorrow’s announcement by Brian from Redrock Micro about their new product. Redrock Micro and Zeiss have long been at the forefront of the HDSLR revolution.

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Don’t Shoot Like a Drunken Pirate

Posted: September 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Hoodman, Litepanels, Manfrotto, video production | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Anyone who has attended one of my Secrets of Video Production for Photographers knows I am a big advocate of sticks (tripod) like Manfrotto’s 536 MPRO with a fluid head such as the new Manfrotto HDV 504 for stability while shooting video. In the Pirate Faire, spreading sticks would have been an undue hazard to passersby in the crowded aisles but hand holding an HDSLR was not a good solution either. HDSLRs are simply not well designed for smooth handheld video. The usual jerky movements of handheld video draws attention to the camera and away from the story which unless it is a very highly dramatic reportage scene is counter-productive.

A shoulder rig from Redrock Micro was certainly a possibility and had I needed to move while shooting, it would have been the obvious solution. At an NAB presentation earlier this year, producers at National Geographic said camerapersons have requested being able to go back to shoulder mount cameras for some projects for the added stability. I came up with another solution because I was not going to need to chase the action but could plant myself in one spot and shoot.

The Manfrotto 3216 monopod worked perfectly. It was compact and easy to carry, quick to extend to any height I needed yet reduced the danger of tripping unaware passersby. I used a 3262QR ball head with quick release but had I needed to tilt up or down, I might have chosen a 501 fluid head. The Hoodman Cine Kit Pro made it easy to see the LCD when shooting in the bright sun.

Next time you’re tempted to handhold an HDSLR, try a monopod and see if your video looks less like it was shot by a drunken pirate.

Click to watch clip

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Talk Like a Pirate Day

Posted: September 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Hoodman, Litepanels, video production | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Talk Like a Pirate Day was the perfect day to go to the annual Pirate Faire and get in a little filming.  It was a bright sunny afternoon so seeing the LCD in liveview mode on the 7D was going to be a challenge.  I knew the action was going to be fast and unscripted so I had to be able to quickly get the framing and start shooting.

I decided this would be the perfect time to give the Hoodman Cine Kit Pro a workout.  In the past, I had simply held the Hoodman Loupe against the back of the camera with my hand but over time that becomes uncomfortable and awkward.  This time I wanted to be ready quickly and be able to shoot over a period of time which made the Cine Kit Pro a possible solution.

Initially the Cine Kit Pro might look like a little overkill, but once you understand the built-in features, it makes sense.  The loupe is held into place with the crane arm that slides and locks into the camera’s hot shoe.  It has a cold shoe on top for small lights like the Litepanels MicroPro.   This meant  I could walk around with the camera with the loupe in place ready to block out the sun for a clear view of the LCD .  The cool thing about the crane arm is it can swing up and to either side moving the loupe completely out the way of the viewfinder which is certainly easier than unhooking and resetting the loupe each time you need the viewfinder.

The crane is sturdy so with the normal amount of care, I easily spent the afternoon walking around ready to shoot.  When I came across a group of belly dancers that presented an interesting opportunity, all I had to do was frame and shoot.  With the Cine Kit Pro, the bright sun was no problem and I could focus and zoom instead of holding the loupe.

I was able to shoot a variety of clips of the dancers that will make up content for future blog entries on color balance and color matching in Final Cut Pro.

Hoodman Cine Kit Pro in action

Hoodman Cine Kit Pro Close Up

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Breaking News! Nikon in Full HD 1080p at 24fps

Posted: September 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: video | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Nikon announces a 1080p Full HD D7000.  Finally, after several years of devoted Nikon users telling me that they want to get into video but were waiting for a Nikon HDSLR with decent video capabilities. And I understand the desire not to switch makers when you have an investment in lenses and dedicated accessories.  Well, the wait is possibly over.

The Nikon D7000 is said to start shipping in October and has some very attractive features.  First off, is the Full HD 1080p at 24fps which is a step up from the 720p @ 24 fps of past Nikon models.  Nikon also expanded the 720p modes to include 30fps and 25fps as well as the 24fps of previous models.  An important note here is that the 24 fps is really 23.98fps and 30fps is really 29.97, which is more compatible with NTSC standards as is the 25fps with the PAL standards.  I am disappointed that Nikon did not include 720p at 60fps.  I love the way 60fps can capture action and I often do a speed change with 60fps to create a smooth semi-slow motion look.

Something that could be more exciting than the 1080p to a number of HDSLR video users and might be a partial Canon killer is the continuous auto focus in video mode.  I hear photographers continually complain that they are having problems keeping moving subjects in focus.  The wonderful cinematic shallow depth of field that the HDLSRs are famed for is also the bane of many photographers.  It takes an experienced focus puller to handle a moving subject especially when the moves are not choreographed in advance.  Most photographers are not doing projects that allow for extensive shot blocking and rehearsals plus few have a practiced crewmember that can be dedicated to just pulling focus.

I have not had the chance to see how well the auto focus works or how controllable it is.  But, if it works decently at all, I can see several categories of video content creators switching to the D7000 just for the auto focus.

If you’re a Nikon user and have been waiting to jump into video, now might be the time.  For more on the D7000 click the image.

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Marshall DSLR Monitor Causing a Stir

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: video production | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Marshall’s latest offering, the S-1 for DSLR shooters is starting quite stir among DSLR shooters.   Marshall S-1 new low cast S-1 DSLR monitor is ideal for the HDSLR shooter wanting to see a clear picture of what they are shooting while having the monitor mounted to the camera.  Slightly smaller then the venerable V-LCD70XP-HDMI-CM7 LCD Field Monitor which I still highly recommend, the S-1 is lighter and thinner making it ideal for mounting on top of the camera.  It is priced at only $399.00 and comes with every accessory possible as you can see in the picture below.

Marshall S-1 with accessories

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Time Passing You By?

Posted: September 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Education, video, video production, Workflow | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The traditional methods of using a dissolve transition or fading in and out of black are used to show the viewer a passage of time and have recently been added to by the altered speed cutaway.  One method is where there is a cutaway to a subject that is simply sped up such as a condensed sunset.  The other is where one or more parts of the cutaway are sped up.  Either one works well with the shorter shots that we often see in the latest style of storytelling.

Center Speed Up- Click to view

Overall Speed Up - Click to view

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