See How To Stabilize Your DJI Phantom Footage With A $10 Rig

dji-vibration-reduction

Shooting aerial footage with a DJI Phantom and a GoPro can be an awesome thing, but while the system takes care of getting the camera in the air and actually capturing some video, it has an inherent flaw which creates a Jello Effect if the rotor vibrates too much.

And indeed both the net (and the stores) are filled with tips and advice on reducing this Jello Effect. If you want a deeper understanding on where this effects comes in the first place, take a look at our rolling shutter intro. Anyways, it’s there.

The secret for reducing the jello effect is to disconnect the vibration coming from the DJI rotors from the camera. And this is exactly what the team at Human Resources did.

[Read more...]

Tutorial: How To Create Film Sets From Scratch

If you are just starting out your film making career, you must have notice the issue of locations by now. The big players get to pick a location and rent it, or to rebuild it in a studio. If you only have limited budget, your second best option may be to build a set.

While a lot of times a set may look like the real thing, it is basically a collection of stand-up pieces of wood. A collection of flats standing next to each other to builds a corner of a room or (as the video demonstrates) an elevator. They are also the same panels used in theater. A fancy wall on one side, simple looking construction on the other – movie magic.

Flats are pretty much standardized and usually come in 8′x4′ which, I guess, takes the least amount of cutting to make.

Matt Brown takes you through the process of building a flat, and balancing it so it can freely stand. Now, of course once you’ve built a flat you still need to dress it up to make it look like the set you want, but this is another topic completely.

[Let's Build Some Flats! | Matt Brown via filmmakeriq]

Can Taking Too Many Photos Wreak Havoc On Your Brain?

too-many-photos-diyphotography-000

I barricaded myself in my office this past weekend, hoping to face off against one of my demons. I fought off the usual distractions. No calls or email. No Facebook or Twitter. No YouTube, memes, or cat videos. I was a man on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. If this demon was to be truly be expelled from this dimension, it would take all of my concentration. After all, it’s not every day you admit to yourself that your internet favorites/bookmarks are glaringly and alarmingly out of control. I felt pretty good when I sat down and launched my browser. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, right? If you’re anything like I am, your favorites list is filled with links to articles and websites that grabbed your interest when you really didn’t have the time to fully explore them. With one well-intentioned click of the mouse I’d been adding mountains to my digital clutter on a daily basis. When I clicked on Firefox’s bookmarks icon, I was greeted by literally hundreds of entries– relatively few of which had actually been organized into folders.

[Read more...]

Cross-Sectioned Fireworks Shows That They Are Simpler Than You’ve Thought

boom-city-05

Earlier this month was United States Independence day which means lots and lots of fireworks. For the rest of us who are fireworks-challenged, photographer Andrew Waits provides some insights on how those flowers of fire are built.

Seattle-based Andrew created Boom City – a photo series of cross-sectioned fireworks showing their interiors against a black background.

For me it was a surprise that most of those crackers were actually quite simple – a fuse, a charge and some powder.

[Read more...]

How To Make A Laser Camera Trigger For Under $2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shooting a bullet in mid air requires a special type of detector to ‘catch’ the bullet in mid air. Usually, a special sensor called a ‘gate sensor’ is used. The trick is a gate sensor is that it can calculate the speed of the bullet and ‘nail’ the shot at the right time. Those are not trivial to build.

This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I got this tutorial from Matt Kane who managed to build a bullet catching circuit for under $2.

Matt used a phototransistor along with a red laser to build cheapass bullet detector with the entire cost of the build being under $2: [Read more...]

Can’t Afford High End Glass? Use Those Bokeh’ed Backdrops

out-of-focus-back-05

Here is an interesting product for those who want to get that magnificent Bokeh right in the studio using cheap glass. Lastolite just came up with a new series of Out Of Focus Backgrounds. This is a pretty interesting idea that “enable photographers to create the out of focus look instantly, whether in the studio or a client’s home“.

Let me explains, one of the traditional ways to separate subject from background, is to set the camera on a wide aperture (say, f/2.8 or f/1.4) and focus on a close subject while letting the farther-away background to blur and create what some call ‘A creamy bokeh’ (Bokeh is that out of focus area in the photo).

Lastolite created two sets of background that are already out of focus. One set has Summer Foliage on one side and City Lights on the other. The other set has Autumn Foliage and Seascape.

[Read more...]

Rolling Shutter: Sony A7s Compare to Other Major Players; Meh…

One of the things that cinematographers care about when selecting a camera for shooting is how significant is the rolling shutter effect.

as7-rolling-sutter-03

Rolling Shutter is a ‘side effect where vertical lines in the real universe appear as diagonal lines ‘on film’. For example it smears buildings when shot out of a moving car or create  a jello effect when the shooting camera is unstable, we explained this in length in this post.

The good guys at Cinema5D took the crown challenger – Sony A7S with its remarkable low light performance and put it to the test against some of the other leading video cameras in the market: Arri Amira, Panasonic GH4, (Canon C300), Canon 5D mark III and Canon 1D C. Sadly it did not do all that well.

[Read more...]

How to Resize Images for Print in Photoshop

resize-images-diyphotography-000

Way back in September, I wrote an article about The Power of a Print. I talked a bit about many of the things we do with our images these days– from editing and processing to sharing and blogging. What we hardly every do anymore, I pointed out, is actually print them. I’m not talking about the work we do for our clients. They’ve hired us to create those images, at least some of which almost always get printed. When it comes to the images we capture for ourselves, however, printing hardly ever seems to be at the top of our priority list. How many truly stunning images are living inside your computer, external hard drives, or even your phone? What sort of joy or sense of accomplishment are they bringing you from the deep, dark depths of their binary existence? I’m not going to rehash that whole post here (although I do encourage you to read it), nor am I here to lament the terabytes of unprinted pixels in the world. I received an email from a reader the other day asking me if I could clarify a few points for him on how to resize images for print. Rather than just dash off a quick reply, I decided to address it here.

[Read more...]

How an Old School Photographer is Kicking Your Butt on Instagram

jim-richardson-03Social media is supposed to be the realm of the young, and in this realm, Instagram reigns as visual king. It’s easy to imagine skinny jean-wearing hipsters snapping filtered squares of their perfect lunches and summer skinny dipping soirees. So it might surprise you to find that an old school National Geographic photographer has unlocked the keys for Insta-success.

Jim Richardson (@JimRichardsonNG) is a contributing photographer to National Geographic and has shot over 25 stories in a storied 30-year career. Although he continues to work for the magazine and pursue personal topics of interest like light pollution, Richardson has also amassed an Instagram following of over 80,000 people – outpacing the majority of his contemporaries, as well as online photo “celebrities.” The ever-cerebral photographer and I have been discussing Instagram and its meaning and implications for over a year now, and we recently traded some notes on the topic.

PS: What compelled you to create an Instagram account?

JR: At first I thought Instagram was totally frivolous. But then I started seeing that photographers were using it to make real statements. And then National Geographic started the @natgeo feed, and early on I could see that there was broad interest. It was gaining an audience. So I jumped in — not the first of the National Geographic photographers to do so, but pretty early on. I just figured that I didn’t know how this thing was going to work, but I needed be in the middle of things, trying to figure it out.

[Read more...]

‘Saddest’ Picture From Space Shows Rockets Flying Over Gaza And Israel

alexander-gerst

Usually when we share something from the International Space Station (ISS) it is some awesome time lapse or incredible captures of earth and stars. Today however, our share is not as happy.

German Astronaut Alexander Gerst  shows how the awful things we do on earth is seen from space, in a post and a tweet titled ‘My saddest photo yet ‘ Alexander shares a picture showing the rockets flying the the middle east skirmish (war?) in Gazza. [Read more...]