Ever since dSLRs with video-recording functions were introduced two years ago, many third-party manufacturers have developed stabilizing rigs for filmmakers who want to shoot movies with such cameras. However, most of these contraptions are very expensive and probably out of reach for the average consumer.
Swedish shutterbug Jonathan Clifford Berqvist wanted to shoot videos with his Canon EOS 7D, but like most users, found the specialized rigs too pricey. Lucky for him, his dad is well-versed with woodwork. After looking at some of the stabilizing devices, Berqvist's father took a large tree branch and fashioned a shoulder rig out … Read more
While it has been fun watching Jeremy Clarkson of BBC's "Top Gear" fame test out fantastic rides for a thrill, I figured why not keep the fun going and bring on all the guys from "Top Gear"--Anthony Davidson and The Stig in this instance--as they try to figure out what the best car is for drifting.
In case you didn't know, drifting is "a driving technique and to a motor sport where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels through turns, while maintaining vehicle control and a … Read more
In Tuesday's blog post, we got a closer look at the supposed ultimate lady thriller automobile, the Maserati Quattroporte, and I figured since we're on the subject, why not go for a thrill ride in a Maserati Gran Turismo? Climb in and let's go for a spin with Jeremy Clarkson of BBC's "Top Gear" fame--and away we go!
This clip comes courtesy of an excerpt from Jeremy Clarkson's Thriller series where he pushes all kinds of fine automobiles such as the Alfa Romeo 8C, the Mercedes SLR McLaren 722 GT, and in this … Read more
In an unusual move, Canon released a firmware upgrade for its high-end EOS 5D Mark II camera that substantially expands its video capability nearly a year and a half after the SLR was released.
Customers of the $2,500 camera had sought more flexibility in the 1080p video frame rates to better match their medium of production. The camera initially only supported 30 frames per second, but the firmware 2.0.3 update changes that to 29.97fps "to comply with TV production standards," adds a 23.976fps option for those in the cinema world, and for those who set the camera to use the European PAL video standard, there's also a 25fps option. (As is common, the terminology on the camera itself is rounded up to 30fps and 24fps.)
There are other significant changes in the update (downloadable from Canon's Web site). First, video can operate with a set shutter speed or aperture, with the camera maintaining exposure by varying other settings. Previously only fully automatic or fully manual settings were possible. The shutter speed changes let photographers choose between freeze-frame-style video or smoother but blurrier motion, and the aperture settings make it easier to keep a shallow depth of field to focus attention on the subject.
Second, the audio sampling rate has been increased from 44.1KHz to 48KHz for better sound quality desired by professionals, and input recording levels can be set manually. And third, a histogram can be overlaid in manual shooting to gauge exposure.
"I have been lucky enough to have played with the new firmware for the Canon 5DmkII over the past couple of weeks. It has utterly revitalised my love for the camera," said Philip Bloom, a filmmaker with 20 years experience. "The 30p has always been a problem. It's a frame rate that is of no real use to me as I need 25p or 24p for my work. Converting your rushes [rough video from the day's shoot] from 30p is more than a nightmare...This can take sometimes over a day depending on how long your rushes are."
Absent is support for 60fps modes for 720p video in the lower-end but newer 7D, the higher-end 1D Mark IV, and the newest Canon SLR, the lower-end Rebel T2i, aka 550D. The 60fps frame rate is better for slow-motion video.
Dawn of a new era The video SLR era is significant because it offers videographers higher-end features such as interchangeable lenses that are relatively expensive to come by in the video world. In addition, the 5D Mark II's full-frame 36x24mm sensor has much better low-light sensitivity. However, for professional use, where people need camera rigs to mount the SLR, separate audio recording gear, external monitors to aid in focusing, and expensive gear to edit video, the costs still can mount quickly. … Read more
Transcend, which makes flash memory cards for budget-minded buyers, announced on Wednesday two new high-speed CompactFlash models with transfer speeds up to 90MBps.
The Transcend Ultimate 600X cards are at the top of the line, able to read and write data at 90MBps by using the UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) mode 6 interface. This line tops out at 32GB.
The Transcend Premium 400X cards range from 16GB to 64GB capacity and can write data at 60MBps and read data at 90MBps, the company said. The 400X and 600X cards use "premium" flash memory chips and employ error … Read more
Update: March 19, 2010: And we're back. Canon claims it's fixed the audio recording glitch it introduced with Firmware 2.0.3 and it's up to 2.0.4, which you can download at the link below. My suggestion (which I make about all firmware and driver updates) is unless you're experiencing a specific problem that the update purports to fix, it always pays to wait at least a week for reports of software-induced mayhem to emerge.
Update March 18, 2010: But wait! If you go to Canon's USA site there's now a cautionary … Read more
The 3D era is coming to movies and video--but it appears the world of still imagery won't be left behind.
Stereography, in which two cameras take photos simulating the perspective of two human eyes, has been used to create 3D imagery since the 19th century. Russ Beinder spotted a more modern approach at the Olympics, with a photographer using two modern digital SLRs conjoined with a Sports Illustrated-labeled rig. … Read more