Sweet Tips on Setting An On-Location Run-‘n-Gun Ronin Gimbal Rig

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If you are using a motorized gimbal (like the DJI Ronin or the more expensive MoVI) you’ve probably noticed that setting them up on location can be a drag. In Getting all the cables set up, attaching the camera to the plate and balancing take up precious time and are pretty much simply inconvenient. In the studio, or van you probably have a rack where you can place the Gimbal and set it up, but on location…. usually not.

Videographer Eric Stemen came up with a few clever tips on getting the gimbal up and running pretty quickly while going on location.

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How to Create Fringe-Like Titles In Your Videos

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One of the things that got me right away with Fringe is the fact that I am an uber-geek are the titles they put to note locations. Rather than doing those boring lower thirds, or the typewriter thing that note a new location, Fringe always had those hovering titles that looked like they were hovering over buildings in the perfect perspective and moved right along with the camera. Videographer and Editor Basti Hansen takes us through a step by step tutorial of creating a Fringe-like hovering title.

It is a rather lengthy tutorial but it covers everything you need to know.

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How To Build A Pro Slider @ $75 In 3 Hours

While there are many sliders out there (some even at $75), the secret to getting a good slider is getting it to slide smoothly. The team at Rhino did something I truly appreciate in a brand and released a video showing how to build a cheap (semi) pro slider.

You can see the video above, and get some tips after the jump, but for me this video goes beyond the simple idea of a how-to video. I would love to see more brands giving free education even if it not directly associated with their sales. (I assume that if you are building a $75 Home Depot slider, you are not gonna buy their $800 slider). But I love the idea that educating young filmmakers and making “fancy gear” accessible to them will drive the industry higher and hopefully make the cake bigger.

More about the DIY slider after the jump

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How The SNL Title Sequence Was Made? With A Ton Of Creative Camera Use

Editor’s Note:  I am a big SNL fan and I love their super stylish opening title sequence. The production of this sequence shows true mastery and understanding the photography format (they use freelensing, creative bokeh, light painting, tilt-shifting and just about any other creative tool out there). Alex Buono, the Director of Photography of the sequence shares how it was made.

…And we’re back! After a much-needed summer hiatus, it’s that time of the year again when my comrades in the SNL Film Unit all reconvene on the 17th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza for another season of filmmaking speed-drills.

While the usual shoot is a dead sprint from Thursday thru Saturday night, every few years we produce a new Title Sequence and that sprint becomes a 3-week non-stop marathon. Especially when it’s the 40th Anniversary season. The passing of Don Pardo — the legendary voice of SNL since 1975 — only amplified the feeling that this new sequence needed to be something extra special.

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The Case for Field Monitors

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I’m a convert.

Not to any particular religion, but instead to the idea that a field monitor is the most important piece of equipment you can have on a video shoot after the camera, a lens and some kind of support.

This represents a sea change in my worldview. As a still photographer for decades, until recently I thought the bane of my video production existence was audio. But a Zoom H4n, a shotgun, a couple of lavs and a wireless system later, I’ve changed my mind.

And that’s because while I took for granted my ability to obtain tack-sharp focus every time, I’ve learned the hard way once again that assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups.

Turns out it was easier to focus in the good old days of film, manual lenses, split image rangefinders, and coarse microprisms on ground glass than it is today through on-board electronic viewfinders (EVFs) and LCDs.

There’s a reason why third party EVF’s and monitors are so popular.

I recently had the opportunity to review a 7.7” diagonal field monitor, and it was a revelation (no religious undercurrent intended).

Why?

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Homestar Runner Returns With Ridiculous Rap Video Parody Paying Homage To Fisheye Lenses

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Fans of the cult classic internet cartoon, Homestar Runner were delighted to discover the creators have posted a new episode after having been on a long hiatus. The cartoon, known for its pure randomness and quirky flash animation, held true to its roots, this time with a hilarious rap video parody that pokes fun at over used fisheye shots.

The video is part “tutorial” with verses like “Put the camera on the ground and aim it up // make my kicks look huge and my crew look tough” and partially “behind the scenes” footage that will have you nodding and rapping along with the Strongbad posse…”Once you use the fisheye you just can’t stop // it used to be expensive, but then the price dropped.” [Read more…]

How To Build A Butter-Smooth Video Slider

You know those shots where a camera is pointing at an out of focus object and then it slowly goes into focus. Sometimes this is done by focus racking (or focus pulling) but sometimes it’s done by actually moving the camera until the object gets inside the depth of field.

The secret to doing it right with camera movement is to get the movement really (REALLY!) smooth. You can probably do it with a table dolly, but to get a really smooth movement you need to use something with bearings. Luckily, there is another industry that uses sliders with bearings – the furniture industry.

Photographer Romero Dominguez shares a pretty nice hack on how to build a slider with a couple of drawers sliding guide rails and a few scraps of metal. Depending on your needed length, those starts as little as $15.

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An Introduction to the Basics of Cinematography

There’s resources available online that can teach you almost anything you want to know. It’s funny how at this point in time, we can learn almost everything college has to offer; unfortunately, the only thing we can’t get is an actual degree. But either way, for those of us who are always hungry to acquire a new skill, there’s always a way to do so. For those of you that are filmmakers and videographers, here’s a video that introduces you to the basics of cinematography within the span of about forty minutes.

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