Last weekend I was invited along to a have a few drinks and celebrate a friends birthday. He also asked me to bring the camera along and take some shots of his makeup. He decided to finally get around to doing his version of Chad’s stage make up from Mudvayne. Happy to oblige I went along with camera in tow.
Not wanting to be weighed down I just took my main body and a 50mm prime lens. A good choice as I would soon find out. I got some basic shots of friends and documented the night. I was originally planning on leaving the camera in one of the cars but didn’t feel safe doing so around Melbourne. Somewhat sad realisation but none the less a sound one.
So there I was in DV8 (a metal club in Melbourne) with a camera and plenty of space on the card. So what do I do I take some shots. In the middle of a dark club with wildly changing lighting setups and strobes, and me with no flash to control the exposure. The first couple were kind of ordinary until I realised that I can just treat it like ambient. I put it on f1.4 and let the camera work out the rest.
It is one of the many times when fortuitous mistakes can be your friend, I started to experiment. Long exposures, short exposures, high ISO, black & white and a fair bit of video.
Overall I found that shooting video with about -1ev compensation gave me the impression of being in a dark room without losing all detail when the lighting changed. Add to that the smoke machine and you get some cool effects.
Most of the clips were not that impressive to look at, the lighting was out of sync to the frame and the focus was all over the place. But a 30 second clip gave me 900 frames to choose from. If 899 are a complete waste I’m still coming out ahead.
From my initial plan of taking a few snaps and being done with it, I now know that i can take the camera into some pretty tricky situations and produce results that stand out. Overall a great night and productive too.
I have been thinking more about the ever shrinking gap between moving and still images. Especially since the release of DSLR’s with HD video capabilities it is now an affordable proposition to make good quality footage on the cheap. Shallow depth of field and smooth low light performance aside it is the ability to use the same device, the same lenses that has gotten so many people excited. Myself included.
The camera I bought at the end of 2008 was the Canon 5D MkII. I bought it to be the work horse for starting a professional photography business. It is a great still camera and I have put several thousand shots though it but never really explored the full possibilities of the video side. In a previous post I mentioned starting to use it a bit an practise editing, but it is not the same. I am yet to make a deliberate constructed film, not just a collected of recorded clips.
To remedy this I am starting on a script and story board for a simple short film. Nothing too over the top and adventurous, but it will have structure and try to tell a story. I will probably make a post later asking for volunteers if anybody is interested in helping. At the moment it is still being worked out.
I don’t know where this going to lead but I think I would be equally happy working in either medium, still or video. I may end up making short films as personal projects but I’ll need to wait and see.
No photo for this post, I’ll put 2 up next time. If any of you have ideas for a short film drop a line in the comments.
This is the final product from the footage taken last month. I am fairly happy with the result. The learning curve for video is pretty steep considering that I am more familiar with stills. The people involved seemed to be happy with the results which is a plus.
Using iMovie to edit felt cheap and nasty in some regards. Not having full controll over the timeline caused some problems. If I end up getting final cut I may re-edit this clip and see how it compares.
I will be putting more video stuff up when have a chance, it is a fun process even if very time consuming.
Recently I went to a medieval event to take some photos. I decided to try out the manual control for video on the Canon 5D MkII. It was quite an interesting change from the usual.
This shot is from a bout between two of the tournament competitors. It was taken from the middle of a short clip recorded at 30 frames per second. The flexability to be able to choose the exact moment to grab the frame is really cool. There is no way I can time my shots to that degree of detail.
On a technical level there were a couple of challenges. The first was that the swords move pretty fast, so I needed to keep the shutter speed fast. These were taken between 1/500 to 1/2000 sec. The second was that in trying to keep the DoF shallow focusing became an issue.
It is a great way to get action shots and they have turned out nice and sharp but it takes a bit of getting used to. I still need to work on editing the footage but it is getting there.
It is amazing how you can work in a city 5 days a week for years and still find things to surprise you. I’ve gone on several meandering photo walks throughout Melbourne and always notice something different. New art, strange little alleyways and obscure buildings it has it all.
This shot was taken in Chinatown. It is a suspended ring with lantern style lights hanging from it. Not that unusual when viewed normally, but kinda quirky when seen from another angle. Like the city it’s in.
Next up is some night photography. There have been some shots I’ve been meaning to take for a while now. Long exposures, panoramas and hopefully some creepy lighting. I won’t really know until I try.