Hack: Get a Phantom Powered Microphone On Any Camera

One of the drawbacks of using the camera in-microphone port is that it only supports 3.5mm and while there are some decent solution for that (see the Rode video mic pro), if you really want nice audio, the higher end shotgun microphones require something called Phantom Power – this is a way to provide the microphone with electricity via the same XLR cable that connects it to the recorder (in our case – the camera).

Mike Kobal shares a clever hack for getting Phantom powered XLR shot gun mics on a DSLR. (seems like everyone is hacking their DSLRs nowadays – this really compliments the power hack we featured last week)

The solution is to use the  IK Multimedia iRig Pre Microphone Interface which is originally a Mic to iOS Device, but works wonders on the GH4 video monster and other DSLR.

The irig Pre goes via an iPhone to standard plug converter and plugs into the microphone jack and the head phone jack. And both the shotgun mic and the earphones goes into the iRig Pre.

Mike suggests to get a few connectors as they are very flimsy.

[The $29 XLR hack for the Panasonic Lumix GH4 via ISO 1200]

Getting a Complete Day Of Battery power For a camera and Monitor for $150

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If you were not satisfied with the 9 hours battery solution we shared last week, Caleb Pike shares an even better solution that not only lasts more than a day of shooting HD on a DSLR, but it can also power a monitor for that day.

The solution is build around a (bit shaky) NP-F970 Battery Adapter which is compatible with Canon in via a similar adapter to the one we showed last week.

Now Caleb is pretty upfront about the build quality of the unit which apparently is not that awesome, but on the flip side of it, it is very budget friendly. [Read more...]

An External Canon Battery That Lasts 9 Times Longer

If you’ve been doing HD video you know how fast those batteries drain. The standard Canon LP-E6 and LP-E8 are 1,800mAh and 1,120mAh respectively which will shoot video for about an hour.

You can always have some spare batteries to replace the dead ones, but Chris Winter shared a pretty cool external battery hack that uses a 10,000mAh which is roughly 9 times the capacity.

Now, I am not sure if you can actually call off the shelf products a hack, but between the fast that you get so much more usage time and the clever way Chris mounts the battery with Velcro, I thought it is worth sharing.

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Quick Tip: Cheap and Easy Cable Organizers

If you are like me, your work station has about 50 cables gong in and out of various ports, USB card readers, portable drives, scanners, iPhone/Android, headset, microphone and probably a few others that I failed to mention.

The folks at @HDSLRnow just shared a quick and easy tip on organizing all those cables using paper binders. Their specific implementation involves a small wooden bar, but I found it was just as useful to place the binders on the edge of desk.

[DIY Camera Cable Organizervia @HDSLRnow] [Read more...]

10 Travel Photography Essentials

There’s nothing quite like a vacation, road trip, adventure, or combination of the three to get your creative juices flowing. Sometimes hitting the road is exactly what you need to get yourself out a creative rut. New surroundings– especially if they are outside your comfort zone– have a way of injecting your photography with the shot of adrenalin it’s been missing. When you’re planning these excursions, though, there are certain essentials you need to pack– items designed to protect your gear and images, while making sure that your shot of adrenalin isn’t wasted.

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Photos Of Lights Powered By Fruits

Over the years, we shared quite a few ways to power your lights, but nothing we shared was as inspiring as this Back To Light series by Caleb Charland (interviewed here).

Photos Of Lights Powered By Fruits

Caleb Wires fruits and vegetables in a way similar to the classic electricity-from-potato weekend experiment, only he uses arrays of eatery and visually appealing light fixtures. He then takes a pictures of the power created.

Once the photo was taken, Caleb recycles the fruits by composting them or feeding them to the animals in the forests around his house. [Read more...]

DIY Project: Battery Charger / USB Connector Center

Continuing our obsession with better battery management, we would like to share a post by photographer Julian Eichhoff. Looks like Julian not only cracked the system for battery charging, but managed to build a whole portable uber-photographer-power-and-data-james-bond-case.

I own several cameras and every camera requires its own battery type. In total I need four different chargers for my batteries. In addition to that every camera/device needs another USB connector. Every time I need to charge a battery or download files I am recabling. I was sick of that for a long time, now I have built a solution to end the cable madness. What I have done is basically taking a wooden box and installing the chargers, a 7-port USB 3.0 hub and a harddrive docking station inside using velcro. It’s nothing fancy but it is practical. Long story short, here is the result:
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Quick Tip – Use a Power Bar While Traveling Abroad

The awesome Benjamin Von Wong is here on a visit and we gave my new video setup a quick run.

Since Ben comes from Canada all his devices has weird Canadian no good plugs. The solution, use one all-in-one pongs adapter and a “bought at home country” power bar. This configuration has a small foot print and can be reused around the world.

(Side note: expect more videos here, one of the first ones will be on how to create that “white” look on a budget). [Read more...]

Bullets Out / Batteries In

Bullets Out / Batteries InWeapon stores are a cool place for photogs to hang out in, not necessarily because photographers use firearms (though we are constantly treated as terrorists), but because photogs share some of the same concerns of hunters.

Readers Michael Page just spotted that bullet cases or (“Ammo” boxes) can be used to store batteries on long trips where you have no chargers. Or when you need lots of batteries to stay dry.

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The External Flash Power That Will Last Till Hell Freezes

The External Flash Power That Will Last Till Hell FreezesUPDATE: IanW has a good point in the comments that flashes can go thermal on you. He is right. Pop to hard and too fast and you will overheat. “Fire a flash too frequently with this setup and you will destroy it due
to overheating, unless it’s got a thermal cutout (most don’t).

UPDATE 2: if you’re gonna do this, make sure you’re doing this on a 6V flash, i.e. 4 AA batteries. This will fry your flash if it is a 3V flash (2 AAs)

We write quite a bit about portable strobes. If you’ve been around for a while you may remember an older version of those strobes. The Sunpak family. While I have not used them myself (too young, sorry), those behemoth shoot at a staggering GN of 48 (meters) and have the look and feel to support it. That makes them ideal for sun swamped on location lighting. The nice thing is that they are old enough to be bought at ridiculously low prices second hand.

The following post about portable power source for small flashes (and Sunpak 611 in particular) is written by John Hagar (blog). [Read more...]