Tag Archives: Canon 5d

Cooking test shoot

As the year is coming to an end and the nights are drawing in I am already planning projects for next year. One of which is to be a cooking series injunction with with brother-in-law Iain who as well as being a trained chef is now an organic farmer, with a farm on the Suffolk/Essex border. Currently they visit two farmers markets a week one in Stoke Newington on a Saturday and Queens Park Farmers Market on a Sunday. Here Iain not only sells the produce of the farm but often gives out cooking advice. Next year we intent to take this a little further and create a cooking video blog around the farm and the produce it sells integrated with recipe methods and ingredient lists.  Right now we are in the designing and testing stages before going into production sometime after Christmas, trying to establish a look and style along with the practicalities, which are numerous.

The video above was shot in that vain, to see how the lenses I currently own as well as how the Canon 5d mk2 would fair close up. So as christmas was coming I thought I’d try  shooting the making of a Christmas cake. Admittedly the cake in question was a Delia Smith kit from Waitrose. Lighting wise I did start out with practical available light and my 150w pepper until the bulb exploded and from there on it was just the kitchen and under counter lights. As the location we have in mind doesn’t currently have a mains electricity supply we will be looking low powered and battery powered lighting for the actual shoots. This is only one test we will need to undertake along with a set test and testing what are the best cooking equipment to use both in terms of best for filming, cooking and overall design look.

Weekend Warriors: Canis Belli.

2011 Canis Bellis 1473.jpg
Many months ago I met up with filmmaker and blogger Robin Schimdt or as he is knows on Twitter  aka_elskid, at the London screening of  Zacutos Camera Shootout 2011. In the pub after the event he talked about an ambitious short film he had written set in the trenches of the first world war, Canis Belli. I told him if he needed a hand to give me a shout. Now when you usually hear about plans for short films of this scale you very rarely hear of them again. The ambition and scale usually halts any prospect of actually shooting them.

Fast forward almost five months and I get a message on Twitter from aka_skid to see if I was available as he was about to shoot the film along with co-director Gez Medinger, aka JerzyBondov. The film was to be shot over two and a half days on a permanent standing set just north of  Ipswich on Trench Farm. The set was been used from many major productions including Downton Abbey Continue reading »

Getting a Background White Using Aperture

Getting a background white is often a necessity for when images are to be inserted onto a white printed or webpage. The best way to do this is to shoot your subject against a white background and light both the background and your subject separately. But we don’t live in the ideal world and often time space or equipment is not available to us. If you can shoot a clean image of your subject against an white background and as long as the subject is properly exposed it is possible to make the greyness around turn white using Apple’s Aperture program.

The first of the three images below is the raw image I shot  of my Canon 24-70mm using an overhead Elinchrome Dlite 4 with a soft box about 60cm above facing directly down. The camera settings were ISO 200 f11 at 1/125 of a second.

The second image shows an adjusted colour balance using the eyedropper tool in the white balance panel of Apertures Adjustment settings. I use the eyedropper to sample an area of the that I know should be white. If you don’t like what you see first time just keep sampling until you get something you like the look of.

The third image is the result of using the Devignette adjustment in aperture. The Devignette adjustment can be found in the drop down list in the Adjustment tab in Aperture. There are two settings for this adjustment Intensity and Radius. By playing around with both the sliders depending on the image should turn any murky edges to your “white” background to pure white.

Raw image of lens  001.jpgwhite balanced image of lens  002.jpgDevignette filter balanced image of lens  003.jpg

The beauty of using this method if you are using Aperture as your default library is that of speed. You can do all the adjustments within the program without the need to export it or open up Photoshop and as ever you can be assured that the original RAW file is untouched should you need to go back to it.

 

 

London Launch Learn @ Asia House


A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from York Smith of York Smith productions. York asked me if I could do some filming for him at an upcoming event at a London Launch Learn event at Asia House, he was going to be away in the Congo working for the UN.

London Launch Learn conduct networking events across London for event planners and suppliers. Junes event was conducted at Asia House a eighteenth century Grade II listed building just north of Oxford Street. Founded in 1996 Asia House is a meeting venue dedicated to the exchange of developing their contacts and understanding of business and of diplomatic and cultural interaction between Asia and Britain.
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A Very British Cult

A few months ago I had the privilege of working for James Collie and Louis Price of November Films shooting some teaser trailer footage for their upcoming documentary “A Very British Cult” which is based on events of the late seventies and early eighties, it should make for a fascinating documentary, one I can’t wait to see knowing a little bit about it.

James will be heading to the Sheffield Documentary Festival next week with the trailer so if you’re going you may get to see it on the big screen. For more information on the project contact James
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The “Film Look” is more than an F stop

DSLR film making quests for the film look of shallow depth of film. Film or more over cinema in turn quests for verisimilitude, a dream like environment, surrounded and wrapped by Dolby surround sound in a darkened room. We watch films and by this I mean films that end up in multiplexes in darkened places, cut off from the world outside, our only connection to the outside world or a world beyond though what we hear and the screen in front of us. The choices made by the film maker determine where our attention lies leading us through their vision. Film makers have many tools to focus out attention, crafting great performances, set design, lighting, sound and of course the camera, our visual connection to the world. The camera frames and focus’s ultimately what we see or not as the case may me.

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Jacob and George

Last Saturday I was asked to shoot some pictures of Jacob and George two brothers who each needed a set of  photos to submit to modelling agencies. The shoot took a couple of hours at their home in Hemel Hempstead. The photos were shot using a Canon 5D mk11 and post production was achieved using Aperture.

Jacob

George

Picture Profile’s

I only ever shoot photographs in RAW, that is unless I’m shooting a time lapse sequence to be turned into a video at which point I shoot Medium JPEG’s. Although I have been known to shoot time lapse in RAW then batch convert them to JPEG’S, but this is usually as a result of forgetting to change settings.

RAW is wonderful allowing me to manipulate the image at incredible depth by the use of Apple’s Aperture. Because of this when I am shooting photos I rarely even consider the Picture Profile button on the camera. After all you never had all this to consider when you shot on film did you?  Well you did kind of.  You and I choose film for certain qualities, Kodak, Fuji and Ilford each produce very individual looking film with differing qualities. We all had our favourite and knew what was best for each situation or the look we wanted in the end.
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It’s A Numbers Game

“the decisive moment, it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organisation of forms which gives that event its proper expression” – Henri Cartier Bresson

Allusions of grandeur, a coverall for luck or something deeper?

Something deeper I think. Back in Bresson’s day photographers were arguably far more technical than they are today and would probably shot a lot less than we do now, bearing in mind the length of 35mm film rarely exceeded 36 exposures.  So every frame was precious, and expensive and probably more considered before the shutter button was finally pressed.  Essentially Bresson in my opinion was talking about the need to be ready for those decisive moments in life, being technically ready for what the universe brings.

Be prepared is also the motto of the Scouts, in fact there any number of quotes, phrases and anachronisms relating to being prepared. Being prepared is important, but its more an just a technical thing, it’s a mental thing too.
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moments in time

Moments in time from Christopher Hughes on Vimeo.

HDSLR cameras have amongst other things created a great resurgence in time lapse photography. The ease and simplicity can make for quite a addictive experience as you don’t always know what exactly you are going to capture.

Last week I too dipped, for the first time, my toe into these time lapse waters and above is the result. The film is created from seven sessions of between thirty minute and an hour and a half  shooting a frame every three or four seconds. QuickTime’s were created from the stills using Quicktime 7 and the whole thing edited using Final Cut Pro. which took quick some time because of the amount of rendering required because of the native size of each of the time lapse QuickTimes.

The music for the film is by the amazing Moby and was licensed from mobygratis.com a wonderful resource for non profit film makers, something I had heard about sometime ago but never looked into until now.

Kit used:
  • Canon 5d MK2
  • Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8f
  • Manfrotto 561 BDHV monopod
  • Yongnuo Timer Remote Controller
  • Zacuto Z-finder

Going Social

Chances are that if you are reading this you kind of have some grasp on what social media is and I’ll not bore you explaining to the converted. The exciting part of social media to me is not the technology but the content and how it spills in and out from the digital world.

The above video “Social Media Week Highlights: Random Acts of Kindness with #NOKIAConnects” shows how Nokia randomly gave away phones all over the world to people who responded to tweets on twitter. Nokia didn’t shout we’re giving phones away they just asked to meet a few people to talk about social media week and then gave them a phone. Which is very cool as there was no real expectation from the those who came to meet up. I think the reactions say it all and would imagine they probably told, blogged and tweeted all about it, expanding the impact of a simple act of kindness.

I shot some of the above London footage using my Canon 5D mk2 and a Canon 24-70mm L for AngelicDigital who compiled and organised the whole world wide media edit for their client 1000Heads, a top Word and Mouth Agency on behalf of Nokia.

Aussie Bloggers’ Christmas Markets

Aussie Bloggers’ Christmas Markets from 1000heads on Vimeo.

I edited this just before Christmas using Final Cut Pro at Angelic Films office in Pinewood Studios, whilst surrounded by snow.  Although not shot by me it was shot entirely using my Canon 5D mk2 and a Rode Videomic, over two days in December.