SEANFX

Design, Art, Film, Ideas

Plug Ins

I’m not talking about software I’m talking about real things you can plug in. I’m lucky, I have a wife that must love me a whole lot because she gave me an iPad for Christmas. I’ve been putting off getting any kind of tablet because I wanted an SD card slot and USB connection in whatever device I was going to get. Android devices certainly have those features that I’m looking for but they lack the artistic and video editing apps I really want. Not sure what the hold up is but snap to Google because you just lost a sale to Apple.

I’m sure what I’m about to say isn’t news to any iPad user but it might be news to anyone wanting to buy a tablet that’s thinking about an Android device. If you’re on the fence about getting something that will let you import your creative material from outside sources you might want to take another look at the iPad. The speculations of what the features of the iPad 3 will be might influence you but after toying around with the iPad 2 I’m confident that this was a great buy.

$29 and worth every penny!

I put off buying an iPad for those exact reasons of not having a SD Card slot or USB port. But it’s funny all my iPad friends never told me that these little adapters ever existed! I’m guessing they didn’t know either. The Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit lets you connect a USB camera or use an SD card slot. The kit sells for $29 and is worth every penny!

I was able to import video from the SD card from my Zi8. Any camera recording in an h.264 format should work just fine. Even video recorded at 1080 can be edited in iMovie on the iPad. I connected my Canon 7D to the USB connection on my camera. It also seemed to import the RAW images as well. Well I’m not completely sure how to check the RAW but I’m sure I just don’t have the right app yet. The iPad also imported the 24p movie footage from my Canon 7D, which played GREAT!

I was also impressed when I imported the video files into the iPad how quickly I could bring the footage into iMovie and cut some clips together. Okay just so you know I’m NOT going to stop using my Adobe Creative Suite anytime soon. But as I’ve mentioned before in other post any tools that lets you get the job done faster is a good tool to have. This won’t replace Adobe Premiere sorry I’m not a Final Cut user.

iPad + Pocket Camera + iMovie

Okay you can pick whatever camera you want to use and yes you could even use the camera that’s in the iPad. I like it so far it’s nice. I just think you’ll look a little dorky shooting any thing serious with it. Unless you are using it as a controller for your 7D or a monitor of some sort or even a TelePrompter . Plus I really like the creative freedom a pocket camera or or even a DSLR can give you when you are running around gathering footage.

This would be ideal for on the spot news gathering or coverage of a convention of some sort. Like I mentioned in my Big Band Boom post. Just to add to the citizen reporter idea iMovie has an upload feature to CNN iReport. Yes I just signed up for some reason. So with this set up you’re set! After you shoot your ground breaking story head to your nearest Mickey D’s and edit and upload.

While I was showing my new media crew my new toy I spent a few minutes shooting some video, dumping into the iPad and editing it on iMovie. From shooting to upload 10 minutes tops. Well I might have stopped to snack on my doughnut. iMovie interfaced with my Vimeo account easily and made uploading simple. So now I can’t imaging my portable editing studio getting any smaller. Sure I could do this on an iPhone but I’d rather have the option of using another video camera and the much larger screen of the iPad makes less guess work out of trimming those video edits.

Now I think I might just pick up a Bluemic for my voice overs!

Big Band BOOM

The band is Big Band Boom! Yeah I’m friends with a sound guy that has a big band. He had been begging me to come down and see his show. So I brought some cameras with me.

The live mix was done by Jeff Powell.

I had 7 cameras there that night with one other camera guy Tony Gasbarro.

You can watch all 5 videos on the channel I made on VIMEO Check it out!

This video was shot with 5 Kodak Zi8s, a Canon HV40 and a Canon 7D. Even though you can see a difference between these cameras (well people on Vimeo will be able too) the average person maybe not but even if you do I think it doesn’t hurt the content of the video. I think they actually mix together very well. One of the things that helps them mix together so well is the audio mix. This is a great example that 50% of the picture is SOUND.

All I had to worry about was the picture that night and as I mentioned above Jeff worried about sound. I didn’t do anything fancy to make sure the cameras were all in sync. Just tried to start them all around the same time. I used this remote from Kodak which is about 12 bucks and should work on any Kodak pocket video camera. The great thing about that is if you have all Kodak cameras you can start the cameras rolling from far away. I had to point to several different spots but at least they all started.

TIP: Use the power supply that comes with the camera that way you can record all night. Also the camera will shut off after about 5 minutes so keep that in mind when stopping the recording. Because if your camera is an awkward location it might be hard to turn it back on. The remote doesn’t not have a wake up or power button, wish it did but that’s an easy thing to work around if you know about it.

During the edit the video files were fairly easy to sync up mainly because the pocket camera handled the audio of the loud band very well. No distortion, which made it easy to find the wave peaks on the time line. Once you find a good spot it’s easy to find the pattern. Depending on what editing software you use you might have to expand the track a little to get a better look at the waveform.

I also set all the cameras to recorded in 720p 60. The only camera that couldn’t do that was the Canon HV40 but it never slipped a note. If I learned anything that night I realized I NEVER want to shoot on tape again. Digital is the way to go. So if anyone wants to buy my HV40 just let me know. Seriously I’m selling contact me here I’ve got some nice extras I’ll include with it.

Before you say anything about my head room or lead room. I should explain most of the cameras were set up before hand and I was making a guess to the shots. The bar was like a sardine can and the 16 piece band took up nearly half the place. So even if I wanted to adjust the camera I would have to stand on someone to do it. Also the the camera were up against the wall. So even if would have taken a snapshot there would be no way to know if I would have put it back in the same place. I wish I could plug the Zi8s into an external monitor just to line up the shot but that functionality just isn’t in that camera. But hey they are $100 cameras shouldn’t expect the world but you can do some cool things with them.

On one of the cameras I was trying out a wide angle lens that Kodak sells for about $20. It worked out pretty nice an I’m buying more for the rest of the cameras. Whenever you see trombones that’s the wide angle at work.

They also have a Fish Eye and a Telephoto too! I’d like to try out the Fish Eye for sure!

As far as shooting goes we had 4 Kodak Zi8 camera locked down on various stands, tripods, mic stands and Joby grips, if you ask me JOBY makes the best of these flexible grips and if you buy anything else you’ll regret it I promise. We used one extra Zi8 as a free camera. The two other free cameras were the Canon HV40 and the Canon 7D. After shooting this I’m convinced now that I could have just shot all this with 10 Zi8’s. My Dream set up would be 8 or 10 pocket cameras and 4 hand held cameras. But even with a minimal crew we managed to pull off a lot.

Because I have an older Adobe Suite I really couldn’t bring in the footage right into my timeline. But I use TMPGEnc Encoder to convert my h.264 footage to MPG2 which works great in my CS3 Premiere Pro. As you can see I had no trouble syncing the video. TMPGEnc Encoder has been a life saver mainly because if you’re like me and haven’t upgraded your Creative Suite to 5.5 you will need something like this to enable editing your h.264 footage. The great thing is you can keep the original footage because the files size are so small. TMPGEnc Encoder gives you many settings to really dial up the quality of the video. Once converted to high bitrate MPG2 file CS3 has no trouble at all scrubbing through an HD timeline.

Matt the band director had the idea to make use an old record as the title video, I thought I better make it move and so I did. I recreated the old record label in Photoshop and brought it into After Effects. After doing this I had the bright idea that I sell it on Pond5. I’m sure there are only about 3 people out there that might need it so I hope they find it… If you’d like to purchase that graphics project you can find it at Pond5.

Let me know what you think when you get a chance to watch the videos.

Carpet Samples

I recently had new carpet installed and I had a few samples left over. I just happen to leave one on my desk so I sat my camera on it.  So I kept it. 

image

Seemed like a soft place to put my camera and admire it while I was twittering… SIDE NOTE: That’s not the carpet I went with.

My Canon 7D

It’s been a long time since I’ve used an SLR now that I have a Canon 7D there is still a lot too learn. To start things off I have 2 tips for you and the tips were generously given to me by 2 of my friends, so I thought I’d share them here. If you just picked up your 7D or anything that shoots RAW I’m sure this post will help you.

1. Working with RAW. I was shocked to learn that Photoshop couldn’t open my RAW files from the Canon 7D. I was even more shocked that Canon hadn’t made a plug in for the world standard of photo editing. Luckily I work with some very diligent people that found the solution right away. Adobe has a solution called DNG (Digital Negative) it takes the RAW file that the Canon makes and converts it into something Adobe can open and modify the Raw Camera data. One plus is it saves out an PSD just in case you want to do more painterly type work with the image.

You can download the stand alone application here, DNG (Digital Negative)

It’s a nice little app and the conversions won’t take long.  You can put a shortcut on your desktop so you can just drop files on it.  Special thanks goes to Dianna Sloyer an artist and photographer I work with. Thanks for helping me find this solution before I even had a chance to look into it!

2. Dealing with all that data.  I was talking with one of my production pals at Big Teeth Productions, Gregg Jaffe, and they recently purchased the Canon T2i. As we were talking card sizes, he suggested that he was sticking with the 4 and 8 gig cards for easy back up.  What a great idea!  When you’re dumping you images to your hard drive now you’ll have perfect size to fit on a regular DVD or Duel Layer DVD.

I think the other advantage to sticking with the smaller cards are cost and content.  Obviously smaller cards are less expensive.  Also keep in mind filling up bigger cards you’ll be putting a lot more content on there.  If the unforeseen happens and you loose the data on the card, you’ve lost a lot less than 32 or 64 gigs worth.  So that could be a big plus if you have to go back and cover your tracks.

If you have more tips for your DSLR share them here please I’m just jumping back onto the bandwagon and I’ll take all the advice I can get.